Help with collagen casings



  • I’m making a smoked sausage using the fresh collagen casings from Waltons. I seem to have trouble getting them tender. I smoke them at around 175 and then stop and rinse them after they hit 155. I’m smoking on a WSM. The casings come out a little on the tough side. Is there anything I can do to make them more tender? Do I need more humidity in the smoker or a longer rinse? Any help is appreciated.



  • @duhlman0419 when you start smoking are you stepping up your temp say 10-15 degrees per hour until you get to your cooking temp I would go no higher than 160 -165 any higher and you are melting the fat out of the sausage your finish temp is spot on .when you rinse are you using very cold water and only going down to 100 -90 degree


  • Walton's Employee

    @duhlman0419 The fact that you are getting a tough casing isn’t surprising if I am reading your process correctly. You don’t want to go right to 175. If your smoker won’t start below 175 I’d recommend you start your meat in an oven and then move it to your smoker later. If you can’t do that then I would prop the door of your smoker open to bleed out some heat. We shot a video on this process a while ago and we will be making it live in the next few weeks.



  • @Jonathon @UncleNorm Thanks for the responses. I did start out at 140 and worked my way up. After 3 or so hours I finished them in water until 155. Came out much better but not what I was looking for. I. Thinking maybe I ordered the wrong casing or maybe I was sent the wrong one. The package has 2301264 and says “clear collagen casings”. Thanks again for the help.


  • Walton's Employee

    @duhlman0419 Those are the clear collagen casings, which would be correct for smoked sausage if you are hanging it. If you are coiling it on a rack you can use the fresh but if you try to hang fresh collagen they will break and spill your meat everywhere. So, if you coil them (or lay them) on a rack then you can use Fresh but if you want to hang them you need to use the coiled.

    For increasing the humidity in your smokehouse, which absolutely could have been an issue check out this article and video on Advanced Thermal Processing


  • Regular Contributors

    @Jonathon I’m having a problem understanding your last post to @duhlman0419 .

    If I read it correctly, you are saying to only hang fresh casings? If you try to hang collagen casings they will split?


  • Walton's Employee

    @raider2119 Sorry if I worded it poorly. You cannot hang fresh casings, if you do they will most likely break and the meat will be all over the floor. If you want to lay them down or coil them on a rack in the smoker then that is fine but if you want to hang the casings you need to use either the clear collagen casings or the smoked collagen.


  • Regular Contributors

    @Jonathon Ok, interesting… I was not aware of this, it’s been a while since I have smoked any sausage, I don’t recall having THAT issue… My main issue with hanging anything is that my smokers are both verticals and have significant temperature variations between top and bottom, thus I end up with inconsistent product…



  • @Jonathon Thanks. I thought I ordered fresh but maybe not. I’ll order the fresh next time. I do smoke on a WSM so hanging is not an issue. On another note, would it be OK to use cellulose casings on a smoked sausage that contains peppers and hi-temp cheese?


  • Walton's Employee

    @raider2119 I’ve had that problem in the past. A way to mitigate it is to cut the lengths shorter so they stay more in the same half of the smoker. Of course, that only works if you are doing a smaller amount and can spare the space to do that!

    @duhlman0419 Yes, cellulose casings would be fine for that, I just added some cheese to the cheeseburger cheddarwurst that I made the other day and I used those casings. I can’t think of a reason that adding peppers would cause any issue, so I would say go for it!


  • Regular Contributors

    @Jonathon I did that last time I made snack sticks… Instead of using the gas fired, I used the electric smoker for better temperature control and hung 2 racks, an upper and a lower… I started the upper rack about an hour before the lower and as I upped the temp to 130 for the upper rack I put in the lower rack… it worked perfectly as the bottom of the smoker runs about 10 degrees cooler than the top… When the top rack was finished and ready to come out, I simply moved the bottom rack up and an hour later it finished nicely…

    Wow, would love to chop some jalapenos to throw in the hot dogs… but I have a MAJOR problem with that… and that would be my GF!!!


  • Walton's Employee

    @raider2119 That’s some good ingenuity there, I didn’t think of making two different rows but now it’s rather obvious!

    Why is it that they never like hot stuff? My wife wont eat anything I put Srirachi on and I dont find that hot at all!

    Oh and as a side note for anyone who followed the powdered franks red hot snack sticks I made last week I found an excellent use for the powdered franks red hot. Freshly popped popcorn, extra butter and then sprinkle that right onto it, my goodness it is tasty!


  • Regular Contributors

    @Jonathon In case you havent figured it out, I like to tinker with stuff… I’m glad to say I have a better track record than Tim Allen (TV’s “Home Improvement”)…

    First time I made snack sticks I hung them from dowels in my gas smoker… it was a disaster, had temperature issues, had a stall that took forever, making the collagen casings as tough as trying to gnaw through as a cheap steak…

    Next time around I used the Masterbilt electric, and took a couple grates (from another non-working masterbilt I had trash-picked on my way home one day) and cut out every other bar with a small sawzall so the snack sticks would fit through to hang…

    Worked pretty well… Was easy to load and didn’t fall off the supports like the dowels did… I still need to find a way to space the adjacent snack sticks so they don’t touch… I have a few ideas about how to make the bars wider to space the sticks, but I’m still trying to figure out what i can pull out of my ever growing pile of “stuff, junk and parts” to do it at no cost 🙂 One of these days I have to get around to cutting the other two grates to use them to hang regular size sausages or brats…

    I’ll find another more appropriate area to post about another fairly simple project I’m working on that possibly one of your readers can offer a little engineering advice…



  • @Jonathon Thanks for the info. I’ll order some cellulose as well.


  • Walton's Employee

    @raider2119 I’ve got an entire corner of my garage of things that are basically junk but that I know will come in handy one day in one of my “projects”! I have been lucky enough to use one or two of these to solve a problem my wife was having so she doesn’t really bother me about it! Tinkering is the best, I love doing it, especially on something that is already broken. That way I can’t really ruin anything just fix/improve/repurpose it or not!


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Recent Posts

  • J

    Well, I didn’t think to use binder with the notion that this was going to be a batch of jerky sticks. I think I’ll experiment with some binder next time. Thanks for the idea.
    I guess the binder will pull it all together like it does and maybe bond the collagen 100%. As far as the binder retaining moisture, I’m guessing it’ll have to give up the moisture eventually when being dehydrated.I will have to experiment more with it.
    Dehydrator temp: I can’t tell you what temp I used because I’m embarrassed to say I still have one of those old “set it and forget it” dehydrators. A good dehydrator is next in my list.

    read more
  • @PapaSop lol…I was checking out the stove too. It reminds me of the Bosch Kenmore that I have.

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  • C

    @Jonathon I am looking forward to that video.

    read more

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