Mathew, I use 20-22 sheep casing for breakfast sausage, 30-32 for brats and Italian sausage and 32-35 for Kielbasa. Hope this helps
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…