Natural Casings 101 - Help & Information
Natural Sausage Casings Information & Help
What are natural sausage casings? What are natural casing made of? What kind of hog casings and sheep casings are available? Watch the video, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
What are Natural Sausage Casings?
Natural Sausage Casings are the oldest form of sausage casings. They are actually made from animal intestines, typically from sheep or hogs. Sheep casings are usually the smaller of the two ranging from 22 millimeter to a 28 millimeter. The larger hog casings range from a 32 to a 42 millimeter. Our 32 to 35 millimeter hog casing is the most popular natural casing we offer.
Why Do Natural Casings Specify a Range In Their Size?
You might ask why is this a range? Why is this 32 to 35 and not just 32 or 35? The range happens because the casings come from an animal and cannot be perfectly sized. The casing should fall in between the range listed in the description and package, but they are not a manufactured product in a uniform size. Natural Sausage Casings are selected and grouped together to provide as much of a uniform size as possible, but slight variations in the size do occur.
How Long Is Each Strand of Natural Casings?
Since natural sausage casings are not manufactured and uniform, there is no exact answer here. “Home Packs” of casings will typically have more variance in lengths and size than other hog or sheep casings. This is done to provide a more inexpensive product. If you prefer the easiest to use and most consistent hog casings, Walton’s recommends using the 32.35mm Tubed Natural Hog Casings for most applications.
What are “Tubed” Natural Casings?
Tubed casings are the ultimate in convenience for natural casings. They do not require any sorting, flushing of salt from the inside of the casing, untangling, or individually sliding casing on a stuffing tube. Tubed casings come pre-sleeved on plastic tubes making it extremely fast and easy to use. Simply rinse under water to remove salt from the outside, and soak in warm water for 30 minutes prior to use. Then, effortlessly slide and entire length of casing onto a stuffing tube and begin stuffing. Easily the fastest and most convenient way to stuff any type of sausage or bratwurst in a natural casing, for up to 110 lb or more per package.
What Are Sheep Casings Used For?
Sheep casings are used for any type of smaller diameter sausage and often used for breakfast sausages, hot dogs, frankfurters, or even large diameter snack sticks.
What Are Hog Casings Used For?
Hog casings are larger than sheep casings so you will most likely use them for smoked sausages like kielbasa or German sausage, or if you are making a fresh sausage, you will probably make a bratwurst or Italian sausage, but any type of larger diameter sausage can be made using a natural hog casing.
What Types of Packaging Do Natural Casings Come In?
We have three different packaging types that the casings come in. We have home packs, tubed, and standard “hank” casings.
What Is The Stuffing Capacity of Natural Casings?
Home Packs of hog casings do 25 lb of meat
Home Packs of sheeps casings do 15 lb of meat
Standard sheep casings do 50-70 lb of meat
Standard hog casings do 110-160 lb of meat
Tubed hog casings do 110+ lb of meat
How Do I Use The Home Pack Natural Casings?
The home packs are the smallest quantities we offer. They typically are a more inconsistent quality and length when compared to our regular/standard “hank” of casings. The price is a lot more convenient when you are making smaller batches of meat. The prep for the home packs is more extensive which would be the downfall to home packs. Preparing home pack casings for stuffing is a three step process. Rinse, Soak, and Flush. When we rinse them we want to get all the salt we can out of and off the casings. Then we want to soak them in lukewarm water for about an hour. Finally we need to flush them either in a little bowl or in the sink just so that we can get water from one end through the entire length and out the other end to flush out any left-over salt. Then, they are ready to use and make sausage.
How Do I Use Tubed Casings?
Tubed casings come already strung on individual plastic sleeves. Since the casings are already individually separated, they are a lot easier to slide onto the stuffing tube on a stuffer. They do come at a little higher price, but I think are really worth the extra price for the convenience. They also come pre flushed, but you will still have to soak and rinse them like other casings. Again, soak them for about an 30-60 minutes in some lukewarm water before using.
How Do I Use the Standard Natural Sausage Casings?
The standard or regular “hank” of casings or sometimes just called hog gut are typical packaged in 100 yards per package. They do come preflushed but like the tubed casings, they still need to be rinsed and soaked for about 30-60 minutes in lukewarm water before using them.
What Makes Natural Casings Different Than Collagen Casings?
One example is that natural casings will give your sausage a more natural curved look. Natural casings also have a very distinct bite and feel to them as well. In addition, natural casings produce a nice, deep, smoke penetration. They are also typically easier to twist link. Natural Casings are typically used for a more traditional type of sausage, but collagen is rapidly becoming a more popular choice, and Collagen Sausage Casings are the choice recommended by Walton’s for most applications.
How Long Can I Store Natural Sausage Casings?
Storage on our natural casings sits at about a year, but since it is not a manufactured product that time may vary a little. Keep them stored at 40 degrees or lower and do not freeze the casings which could damage the casings. If you open a package and do not use it all, try to return the extra casings back into the original package and brine solution, but if you do not have either, bag the extra casings, add extra salt, and seal it. If you absolutely have to freeze the casings for longer storage, you may, but it may weaken the casing and make them more prone to breakage or “blow-outs” during stuffing.
What Is the Recommendation For Stuffing & Twist Link Natural Casings?
Make sure to not over stuff your casings, because as you twist link it, the pressure within the casing will increase. You can always throw in a few extra twists to firm up the links. Practice makes perfect and it is difficult to explain in simple words exactly how full to fill a natural casing. Simply stuff and fill casings until they are slightly tight, and use the twist linking process to twist and tighten up links. Remember, it is easier to fix an understuffed casing than fix an overstuffed casing, especially if you have a “blow-out” while stuffing.
Watch WaltonsTV: Natural Sausage Casings 101
MMMMMM I was going to add Citric acid so maybe I’ll adjust and maybe do half one way.
Thanks for info.Tarp.
@tarp First, I think you are wise to go with the 1/2 to 10 lb ratio if you haven’t tried that cheese yet it is extremely hot! Very good tasting but it is nothing at all like our Hot Pepper cheese which tastes more like pepper jack, this stuff deserves its name in my opinion.
As for the flavor, I think they will match up fairly well. That might change if you use encapsulated citric acid, I can see the tang from the acid maybe not going so well with the Ghost Pepper Cheese. However, I also like adding Citric Acid when I make Habanero Lime snack stick so tang and heat aren’t necessarily a bad match, just something to think about!
I’m going to make some pepperoni sticks in a few days and was wondering if anyone has added ghost pepper high temp.cheese to the excalibur product. My wife thinks not . I’m talking 1/2 lb to 10lbs meat.
But we like it hotter than most people but it might not flavor it correctly.???
Will it BBQ? Smores!
In this segment we pose the question and the answer to Will it BBQ? So much more than just hamburgers, hot dogs, and other meats can be BBQ'd, Grilled, or Smoked. And, this is where we try out unique ideas for cooking on a grill or smoker. This week we are BBQ'ing Smores and letting you know if it will BBQ or not!Prep Time
5 MinutesCook Time
Obviously, Smores will BBQ, doing them on a grill is basically the same process as over a fire but doing it on the BBQ might have a few advantages. With normal smores, you are relying on the heat from the marshmallow to melt the chocolate and you can only do a few at a time.
Some people might say doing it this way takes all the fun out of it, the messy gooey fingers are part of it and if you have kids I’m sure that’s true but if you are making larger quantities for a dessert then this is the way to go. We lined the bottom of a foil pan with graham crackers then we laid a few pieces of chocolate on top of those and put the marshmallow ontop of that. We left the top layer of graham crackers off until just before it was done so we could easily monitor their progress.
We did a few where we cut a slit in the marshmallows and inserted a small piece of chocolate to see if that made any difference in the finished appearance.
We had our grill running at 450° and we let them cook for about 10 minutes.So, Will it BBQ?
I sprinkled some Cinnamon toast shake on these and just like always that made things a lot tastier!
So, in the end, is this any better than doing it over a fire? Well that depends, if the little ones want to use something like the Fire Fishing Pole and make an evening of it then this might take some of the fun out of it. However, if you are just wanting to make some delicious gooey smores for a lot of people then this is the way to go!Shop Walton’s for Broil King S 590 Weston Pro Series #32 Meat Grinder Hi-Temp Ghost Pepper Cheese
@mesbilawson That’s awesome, hope your next batch is as good as the first!
@jonathon Thank you so much. We are very excited to make more snack sticks. We ordered more supplies today!