Sausage Casings 102 - Choosing The Right Casing

  • Walton's Employee

    Sausage Casing

    Sausage Casings 102 - Choosing The Right Casing

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

    Natural Hog Casings
    Cellulose Casings

    Fibrous Casings

    Fibrous Casings are an inedible casing that is made from a paper-like product. These types of casings must be soaked before use to allow them to rehydrate and form the classic log like shape once stuffed. They are smoke permeable and heavy duty, making them a good choice for Summer Sausages, Pepperonis, and Salamis.

    Most will come pre-tied on one end, so once you stuff them you need to clip the other end with something to keep all the meat inside the casing. The pre-tied end will be the side it is hung from in a smoker so you need to make sure the end you are clipping is tightly secured. Hog Rings secured with hog ring pliers are the most cost-efficient way of doing this.

    Natural Casings

    Natural Casings are generally Hog or Sheep intestines that have been cleaned and processed, making them edible. They will be kept fresh through storing and shipping by being either packed in salt or kept in a salt solution, this means that they must be rinsed, soaked and if they are from a home pack have the insides flushed with clean running water before being stuffed. Sheep casings are available in sizes 22-28mm making them good choices for everything from Breakfast Sausages to Hot Dogs.

    Hog Casings are available in 32-42mm and are commonly used for Bratwurst and larger sized sausages such as Kielbasa and Boudin. The casing is naturally smoke permeable, accepts a twist and can be hung in a smokehouse. When stuffing Natural Casings you need to be careful to prevent blowouts.

    Collagen Casings

    Edible Collagen Casings come in three varieties. Fresh, which should only be used for products like Bratwurst or Breakfast sausage that are not going to be hung in a smoker. Clear, which is strong enough to be hung in a smoker and gives you a clear casing after cooking. Finally, smoked, which is strong enough to be hung in a smokehouse and gives a reddish mahogany finished color. Edible collagen casings do not require any processing and are ready to be used as soon as they are taken out of the package, which is a large advantage over either Fibrous or Cellulose casings.

    Inedible Casings

    • Non-Edible Collagen* casings are a form of collagen that must be processed before they are used for stuffing. The rule of 15s can be applied to these types of casings and that is they must be soaked for 15 minutes in a 15% salt solution that is 15° C (59° F). Once they have been stuffed and the sausage has been cooked they must be peeled before eating. These can be used for products like Summer Sausages and Ring Bologna.

    Cellulose - Cellulose casings are made from plant material, are smoke permeable and are inedible. Some kinds, like these, have a stripe down one side to make it easy to determine if they have been removed from a product or not. They have a very strong structure so blowouts are not an issue when using these casings. They are good for use in any application where a skinless product is desired. They do not accept a twist and must be tied or stapled to keep the meat in a link, or they can be cooked in a rope and cut the casing into the desired lengths later. Removing them from the sausage, after cooking is simple, just press on one end and they will pop right out.

    Shop for Collagen Casings

    Shop for Fibrous Casings

    Shop for Natural Casings

  • @jonathon I bought some collagen casings and I want to make an Italian sausage that requires boiling after filling. Do you think I can boil this kind of casing without any breakage!

  • Power User

    @tinagh Yes you can, although I wouldn’t boil them at a rolling boil. If you simmer them at 170F they will come out perfect. I use my turkey fryer with the basket, makes easy in/out and them into cold water shower. I just put a probe into a link so i know they get up to temp-no guessing…I make a ton of hot dogs and bologna using the simmer method for both collagen and cellulose. Key is don’t overheat them.

  • @parksider thank you for answering. I was waiting on that. Now I roll my sleeves and start making sausages. Yum. Lol maybe I’ll post some pics.

  • Walton's Employee

    @tinagh Sometimes it’s good to have more people than just answering because I would have told you no, I wouldn’t boil collagen at all! However, in this case, @Parksider really is an expert in boiling meat products! He finishes up his summer sausages (and maybe other products) in hot water, so if he says it should work I would trust him BUT keep it at 170 or below, collagen casings won’t stand up to a true boiling.

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