Sausage Casings: 201 Tips for Stuffing Collagen Casings
Attend this Intermediate level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
Learning how to stuff collagen casing can be as much of an art as it is a science. The first thing you can do to make this easy on yourself is to use the correct stuffing tube, you should use the largest stuffing tube that your casing will fit over in its shirred form. For example, a 23 MM casing will fit over both a 10 MM and 12 MM tube but you want to choose the 12 MM tube as this will allow the casing to come off the tube more naturally. Also, you should note that collagen does have a direction, one end of the strand will be fully open and the other will have some of the casing folded slightly over the center hole. The open side is what should be loaded onto the stuffing tube if you lose track of which side was the correct one look at how the collagen is stacked, it looks like bowls stacked in a cupboard, you want the bottom of the bowl to be facing towards the stuffer so the casing comes off as if you are un-stacking the bowls.
Right Amount of Pressure
Making sure that you are using the right amount of pressure to hold your casing on the stuffing tube is very important and takes some practice. Too little pressure and the casing will come off too easily and you will end up with an under stuffed casing which can create a wrinkled, unappealing product and will not hold its form through the cooking process. The other side of that is that if you use too much pressure you can end up with blow outs or backflow. A blow out is when your casing splits from internal pressure, it forces you to stop stuffing, fix your casing and put your meat back into the stuffing cannister. Backflow is when your product comes back around the stuffing horn instead of going into the casing and creates a host of problems including possible contamination and defects in the texture of the sausage. Also, an overstuffed casing has a tendency to burst during the cooking process
You want the casing to feel firm but not so firm that when you try to twist it the casing splits, it is going to take a little bit of practice to master this but once you do it is like riding a bike, you will never forget how. A good way to judge if you are stuffing to the proper amount is if you can just faintly see the swirl line along the casing, you want to be able to just faintly see it. If it is obvious then you are under stuffing, if you can’t see it as all then you have overstuffed. As you are stuffing try to get your sausage into a coil to make it easier to handle.
Up to You!
Now that you have the sausage stuffed into the collagen you can either hang them in the smoker, cut them into sausage sized sections or twist them into links and then hang them for smoking or vacuum seal them for future use.
Now you can smoke, grill or pan fry them. If you made a fresh product and want to vac seal them for future use make sure you freeze them first for at least an hour. If you try to vacuum seal a fresh sausage the vacuum that your machine pulls will crush your product flat.