Hot Dog casing recommendations please.

  • Okay here is the latest batch of hot dogs Ive made. Not the most beautiful but they turned out very tasty. Im really getting into making my own dogs. Heres the deal…Ive been using sheep casings. I like the natural casing and the fact that the casings have a memory when twisted into links. What I don’t like is that they are so delicate that Im having trouble stuffing. I don’t want to stuff them to tight and have them pop when twisting. So I kinda understaffed them which leads to more odd sized dogs due to having to squeeze the meat down the casing to get the proper size then twisting. It leads to odd lengths and diameters at times. So I was wondering about other types of casings. I tried collagen casings once and don’t like the way the casings have no memory and untwist themselves. Ive seen the cellulose casings that you have to skin off after cooking and they don’t look that appealing either. Is there a smaller diameter hog casing that is closer to hot dog size that may be less delicate than sheep casings? Im open for as many suggestions as anyone would like to share and thanks.


  • Walton's Employee

    @cayenneman What you have run into here is the perfect example of the different advantages and drawbacks of each kind of casing. Collagen is easy to use and stronger but they won’t twist well, natural twist but they blow out and give your finished product a lot of variation and a curve, Cellulose has the same advantages and drawbacks as collagen just even more exaggerated.

    For Hot Dogs I use 26mm Cellulose Casings, it is the perfect size and it gives the perfect finish once cooked and peeled. However, this does mean I tie each link off with butcher’s twine. It definitely takes longer than just twisting but if you pre-cut the twine to the lengths you will need it isn’t that bad. It will probably take you 10 minutes or so to tie them off so it’s not terrible and then you can pop them out of the casing easily after cooking.

    @Parksider You make a ridiculous amount of hot dogs (Chili Dogs), you use the cellulose now right? He makes hundreds of pounds at a time I think so maybe hes got a quicker way to do it!

  • Regular Contributors

    @cayenneman - I don’t know what you’re talking about, those look good!
    Biggest batch of hot dogs was 200#! What a circus!!! I do use cellulose 26mm. I think there are a couple videos on my instagram black_run_bbq that you can check out of how i link them. I learned how to do it via youtube. Mine end up in a three link “globe” and this locks them together. This year I’m going to work harder at getting them more consistent length, I’m all over the board right now which makes it hard to pack. We smoke them for an hour then simmer to reach temp. I leave them in the globe the whole time. They have a slight curve to them but when we pack them in the chamber vacuum it’s not a issue. And yes we do have to peel them once they are done, so it’s one more step. I just found a couple pics… If they taste great that’s the important part, yours look homemade not like something coming out of a factory. 1_1533223678302_IMG-0695.JPG 0_1533223678300_IMG-0694.JPG 0_1533223729460_IMG-0685.JPG

  • Walton's Employee

    @parksider Wait, so you use this method ( I cut right to the time in the video and you don’t have to tie them all off and they stay linked? This would be a huge benefit and if thats the case I am going to start using more cellulose!

  • Sounds like I have some experimenting to do. Thanks for all the good info guys!

  • Regular Contributors

    Close… I don’t pull the strand through. Just pull the loop in and take the rest of the strand up the back side so it makes a cradle and locks them together. I’ll see if I can find the video.

  • Walton's Employee

    @parksider I found it on your instagram account (for anyone not following black_run_bbq on instagram you should do that right away) from March 9th. @cayenneman Check out how he does this with the cellulose casings, it should work for you as well!

  • Regular Contributors

    I picked this method of linking randomly on youtube, I really didn’t think any further ahead than I wanted to learn how to hand link. But it works very well because it locks them together, from smoking to boiling. Just a stroke of luck, not be design! Great finds are when you stumble into something looking for something else!

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  • @KSHusker First, yes they should be safe to eat. You cooked them to 160° which will kill anything harmful. Now, obviously use common sense and your senses, if it smells bad don’t eat it!

    The first thing to know is if you used sure cure (or another version) or not? From the sounds of it, you did but I just want to make sure we are looking at all possibilities. Were the butts untrimmed? If they had a nice fat cap on them then you should have been okay, I still like to use a little more fat than that but you should have been in the realm. How did you mix it, was it by hand? If you mixed for 30 minutes in a meat mixer that is a long time to be mixing it (I don’t think this was your issue, just pointing it out). Starting at 200 is a little high but it also sounds like it came down to 180° pretty quickly but this would be my thought on why the casing stuck, cooking too high can cause this.

    For the color, the only thing I can think of (if you used a cure) is that it looks pinker around the edges because you got a nice smoke ring around it? How deep does the nice pink color go and what type of casing did you use? With wild game, I always use some sort of cure accelerator, either Encapsulated Citric Acid, Smoked Meat Stabilizer or something, it helps burn the color more and then you can skip holding it overnight and go right from stuffing to the smokehouse.

    Anyone else have thoughts?

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