Cured Sausage 105 - Casings For Smoked Sausage


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    Cured Sausage

    Cured Sausage 105 - Casings For Smoked Sausage

    Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Clear Collagen
    Tubed Hog Casings

    What Are Common Styles Of Casings?

    Smoked Sausage covers a wide variety of products, technically snack sticks and summer sausage would fall under this category. For our purposes today though we are talking about a bratwurst like product that is going to have cure added to it and will be smoked in a smoker. The type of casing that is used for this will be important as not all collagen casings are suitable for this.

    The two most common styles of casings for this type of sausage are Collagen and Natural Casings like Hog or Sheep intestines. Collagen Casings come in 3 different styles, Fresh, Clear and Smoked. For a smoked product, Fresh Collagen should not be used, they won’t stand up to being hung in the smokehouse like Clear and Smoked will.

    What Are The Sizes Of These Casings?

    Collagen - Smoked Sausage will generally be 30mm or larger. Both Clear and Smoked Collagen have many options above this size.

    Natural Casings - Smoked Sausage like Boudain or Kielbasa will almost always be 32-35mm or larger. However, you could make a strong argument that Hot Links belong in this category and those can be as small as hotdogs, around 26mm. So for natural casings, they can range from 26mm sheep casings all the way to 42mm hog casings.

    How Are Casings Prepared For Use?

    If you are using collagen casings there is no preparation necessary, simply remove them from the package, load them onto your stuffing tube and begin stuffing.

    For Natural Casings you will need to rinse the salt off of the outside of the casing with clean running water and then soak them for 60 minutes in warm water before they are ready for use. If you purchased your natural casing in a “home pack” you will also need to flush the inside of the casing by running water through the middle of them. Then you load them on to your stuffing tube and you are ready to stuff.

    Advantages and Disadvantages

    The main advantage of collagen is the convenience, no preparation is needed for these casings to be ready to use. Another benefit from collagen is uniformity, they will be the same diameter throughout the entire run, this is especially important for commercial processors. Collagen casings are also less prone to blowouts than natural casings are. The biggest drawback of collagen is that it does not accept a twist as natural casings will. You can twist them and they will stay that way until you go and cut them at which point they will unravel and open slightly.

    The main advantage of Natural Casings both hog and sheep is that they will accept a twist and once cut they will remain closed. Some people also prefer the snap of natural casings. The biggest drawbacks are the difficulty in getting them ready and the fact that they are prone to blowouts.

    Other Styles Of Casings

    Cellulose Casings can be used for skinless smoked sausage products like some types of hot dogs. Cellulose is made from plant material, is very strong, smoke permeable and even has a black stripe down the side to let you know if the casing has been removed or not.

    Other Notes

    *For beginners I always recommend collagen casings over cellulose or natural hog or sheep casings. They require less work and make the entire process less complicated and the fewer complications the better!

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