Sausage Casings 101 - Sausage Casings Basics


  • Walton's Employee

    Sausage Casing

    Sausage Casings 101 - Sausage Casings Basics

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

    Sausage Casings

    Why Use A Sausage Casing?

    Any casing, whether it is a natural, collagen or fibrous is going to offer some uniformity to the diameter of your product. This is important because it will allow the product to cook evenly. If you had a product that was half-again as thick in some areas than others then the thinner parts would be overcooked before the thicker parts were safe to eat. In commercial processing, uniformity is even more important for appearance and to be able to consistently track the amount of sausage being produced.

    Appearance

    Casings also give sausage a certain look, it is generally easy to determine what casing was used to make a sausage vs when it has been extruded. Natural casings will often have a curve in them that can be anywhere from slight to fairly extreme while collagen casings will be more uniform and straight.

    Mouth Feel

    Mouth Feel is a term that refers to the sensations associated with eating certain types of foods. For casings, this will be determined by a few factors, some of which will depend on cook cycle but to keep things simple Collagen will have less of a snap than natural casings will. In surveys, it was found that the reduced snap of collagen was generally preferred to natural casings. Different types or variants of collagen casings will also have a different mouthfeel as they have different levels of toughness.

    Inedible Casings

    Some types of sausage casings, such as cellulose, are inedible and are made to be peeled off after thermal processing but before consumption. These cellulose casings have a stripe down the middle to let you easily identify if the casing has been peeled or not yet. However, these ring bologna casings are also an inedible collagen but that do not have any markings on them so you have to be careful when using these. Trying to consume inedible collagen isn’t going to be harmful but it will give you a very tough and chewy bite.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Collagen Casings

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Fibrous Casings

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Natural Casings



  • How can you keep your collagen casings from splitting while on the grill? I made brats last week with collagen casings and they are practically exploding on the grill.


  • Regular Contributors

    @rwalker24 Poke several holes and go low and slow!



  • @joe-hell I will try that. Thank you


  • Walton's Employee

    @RWalker24 Another thing that might be happening is overstuffing them? @Joe-Hell is correct though, poking a few holes to allow pressure to bleed out will absolutely help prevent the burst casings.


  • Regular Contributors

    One method I have been using lately, in addition to poking holes, is to fire up my smoker at 225 and cooking them (with or without smoke) until they hit an internal temp of around 150-155 (about an hour) and then finishing them on the grill to add some color until they reach 165.


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Recent Posts

  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

    read more
  • K

    @jonathon

    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

    read more
  • K

    @lamurscrappy

    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

    read more
  • @Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.

    One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.

    read more
  • @Newbe There might be some breaking down of the meat but this shouldnt cause you too many issues. I have bought pork butts fresh, then froze them then processed and froze the product again. The taste might not be the BEST possible but it certainly wont be bad.

    read more
  • @vjbutler no problem let us know

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