Summer sausage casing



  • Hey I made a 10 pound batch of summer sausage using a 70/30 mix of buffalo meat and bacon ends. I tried Walton’s H summer sausage seasoning with 2.5 Tbsp mustard seed thrown in. I stuffed the Walton’s 12” mahogany casings tight and because I didn’t use ECA I refrigerated the sticks overnight. Using a Masterbuilt 30” digital smoker I followed Walton’s guidelines on slowly heating/smoking them. First the good news, they were perfectly cooked from edges to the center and the flavor was so good I will be hard pressed to try anything else! My only issue was in ice bathing the sticks. I got a fair amount of meat shrinkage away from the casings. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! And fear not; I will suffer through eating my “mistakes”.


  • Walton's Employee

    @big-mike There are a couple of things it could have been, all the 12" Mahogany Casings are all prestuck so it’s not that you were using non stuck casing. Were the casings soaked for 30 minutes in warm water to where they became pliable before you stuffed them? The only other thing I can think of would be fat content of the meat or not enough protein extraction but with either of those probably would have caused fatting out and you would have noticed that on the outside of your meat.

    How much Ice did you use and how long were they in there for? If the water wasn’t really cold or if they were only n there for a few minutes then maybe that could have contributed.



  • I soaked the casings for 50 min in warm water, mixed the meat 8 minutes (4 min in each direction) using a mixer then sprinkled the mustard seed in and hand mixed for 2-3 minutes more. I got excellent protein extraction. The sticks were soaked in ice cold water (1/2 ice & 1/2 water) for 30 minutes then patted dry and placed on racks to air dry for one hour. Cases were all nice and tight prior to the ice bath but were wrinkled after the ice bath. @jonathon


  • Walton's Employee

    @big-mike I’m stumped on what could have caused it. Give me a couple of days, I want to talk to someone here but he is out of the office and out of reach for a couple of days.


  • Walton's Employee

    @Big-Mike Can you send me a picture of the product or are they already all gone? I spoke with someone here and they thought cook schedule and fatting out but your process doesn’t indicate to me that either of these was the issue.


  • Regular Contributors

    You may not have stuffed them enough. Sometimes it hard to stuff the larger casings and if it’s not tight the may cause the shrinking during the cooling process. Those cases are extremely durable don’t be afraid to stuff them.


  • Regular Contributors

    Sitting at the beach on vacation my mind has time to wander…when you’re done stuffing give them a good twist to compact the meat. I’ve also give up on string tying I use zip ties and yes I wash them most of the time. We have zip tie loops that we’ll zip tie to the casings, makes hanging so much easier then just reuse the loops. That should help with the shrinkage issue.



  • @parksider Thanks. I did all that. I stuffed them tight twisted the tops down tight and secured them with twist ties. I’m going out right now to try again. Thanks for the tips!


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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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