Tough natural hog casings
I just finished up a batch of sausage yesterday and the casings were tough… My first thought was that the small batch I had oven baked were overcooked, but I baked some more this morning with the same result… I also smoked some… same result.
I had soaked the casings for over a week, changed the water 3 times, flushed the insides and soaked in warm water for about 30+ minutes before stuffing… same as I have many times in the past…
These were purchased from Waltons about 3-4 months ago, have been kept refrigerated, packed in the salt they arrived with… I had used casings from this batch 2x before (prepping them just about exactly the same way) with no problem…
What am I missing here?
@raider2119 There could be a few things that might have happened here. First, leaving them in water for that long might not be the best idea. I generally take out what I need and leave the rest in the salt solution, soak what I need in warm water for 30 minutes and then flush the inside. I have never tested taking them out and putting them in water for a week so I can’t say for sure that is the issue but it is the first thing that jumped out at me.
The most common reason for a tough hog casing (or really any casing) is cook schedule, if you start it out too high it can create case hardening. The fact that this happened across multiple batches that were cooked in different ways leads me back to the soaking them for a week as being the issue here.
Can you provide me with your cook schedule and what product you were making with what meat block? Also was it a 100 yard hank of the casings or the smaller homepack? I’ll see if we can’t get a better answer on why these were so tough when other casings from the same bag that were treated the same way did not give you a tough casing.
This was the smaller home pack of casings…
Boston Butt to make breakfast sausage (spice blend from Waltons)… BTW, it’s REALLY good!!!
+/- 45 minutes in convection oven at 350 degrees (these were slightly overcooked)
1 hr in smoker @ 150 degrees, 1 hr @ 225 degrees, removed at IT of 170 (they look beautiful!!!)
+/- 30 minutes in convection oven @ 350 degrees
@raider2119 Your cooking processes look good other than I wouldn’t cook to an internal temp of 170, there is no need to go above 160° with pork so that may play a part but since you followed the same process with your other batches I think we can say that isn’t the main factor.
So, I am back to thinking it had something to do with soaking them for a week, maybe the water had some hard minerals in it and it transferred to the casing? That’s the only thing I can come up with other than of course maybe the casings were just tougher than normal from the processor? I will keep looking to see if I can come up with any other information.
Was there anything at all that was different between these batches and others?
You may have hit the problem, very possibly a water quality issue… That actually is a difference from last time I used these casings… I will look into this (process another batch) later this week… Thanks! R…
Cooked a batch of summmer in PK 100 casings are 1 7/8 by 12 cooked at 120 for one hour then 140 two hours then 180 tell internal of 152 but when I went to pull them the fat had liquefied any ideas
Tom T from Boise, ID
Oh… I ground the pork fat and the venison at the same time. 2 chunks of venison, 1 chunk of pork, back and forth…
Yes… sure cure and sure gel binder. The venison and pork fat were both still partially frozen when I ground them. First through the large course plate, then again through the small plate. (Not sure of sizes, but these are the plates i normally use for summer sausage). I probably should have put the meat back in the freezer before seasoning but i was pressed for time. I mixed by hand for 14 or 15 minutes. I also think I might have added to much water. The video said 2 quarts for wild game 2 pints for fatty pork. I put in 1 quart and about another cup. I mixed until it got tacky and then mixed some more. The meat seemed soupy to me but the video said that would be ok.
The shriveling occurred before I bumped the temp up. I was using a digital thermometer with a probe, when the temp stalled for a couple hours, I suspected the temp might be reading inaccurately so I opened the door to confirm with a dial thermometer. The digital was accurate but the sausage was already shriveling.
Another thing that bothered me was the casings… these had perforations for some reason. I e never used perforated casings before and seemed like I was losing a pot of moisture through them. Did I have the wrong casings? The other fibrous casings in the catalog said you were supposed to poke them anyway.