Tough Sausage casings

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by big dee, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. big dee

    big dee Smoke Blower

    A couple of months ago I posted q-view of some German sausage. My problem was the casings came out tough. I am getting ready to do another batch and would like some input on how to prevent this. I will be using natural hog casing from high mountain seasonings. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I have not used Hi Mountain's casings but off the top of my head I would recommend soaking them for at least an hour. Since they were tough for you before, add a little vinegar to the water when they are soaking and see if that helps.
  3. big dee

    big dee Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the reply. I will try that.

  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I soak mine for more than an hour and with vinegar added to the water.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. dwolson

    dwolson Fire Starter

    Go right to a reliable butcher if you can. The casings I get now are in a liquid brine. They are perfect.

    Just my opinion but I would skip out on those smal packs you get at Gander and and LEM, etc. Plus, you can probably get a half a hank from a butcher for about 6 bucks. Just my opinion.
  6. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree with dwolson.... I  always use fresh casings packed in a salt solution and my sausage has that perfect snap when you bite into them. If I remember I used some casings packed in salt and had the same problem. Tough..... I see everyone soaks the casings for a while...... I would give that a try but I would soak longer and wash out the insides several times and see if you can soften them up... They should feel like silk

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  7. hdflame

    hdflame Meat Mopper

    I bought some at a butcher shop and was surprised at how much they cost.  They were in a bag with brine water solution.  When I opened the bag, I realized that it was WAY more than I needed, that's why they cost more.  Now.....what to do with so many and not waste the money I spent on them.

    I separated them into small snack size zip lock bags and covered them in water because I was concerned with them getting freezer burned.  This was probably 6-9 months ago.  I just took some out a couple of weeks ago and they are just as good as the first ones I used when I first opened the bag.  They are also tender.

    I'm telling you this in case you wind up with more than you need for one batch.  You can freeze them for later.
  8. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I also buy mine from a local deli.  I keep them in a heavy brine solution, and in the fridge they last very well.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  9. jalan43

    jalan43 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    If I have to use salt packed casings I soak them overnight in cold water in the refrigerator. I prefer liquid packed but sometimes I'm in a hurry for sausage!
  10. I realize this is an old thread, but still pertinent today.  I moved up from my old Brinkman charcoal smoker and got a Smoke Hollow 44" propane without the window.  I did my first sausage smoke yesterday and the casings came out really tough.  They were packed dry in heavy salt.

    So my question is, I had quite a few left over, so how can I make this brine solution and keep them in the fridge?  I want to make sure that I have enough salt to keep them.  Also, how long will they keep?

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  11. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    hey sharryn,

    Heres a thread on how to handle natural casings.

    There are many things that can contribute to tough casings. Under stuffing, too much salt content in the casing, cased sausages placed in the fridge can become dry overnight then smoked the next day can become tough, even slow cooked on the grill will toughen them. Here's some reading for ya. Casings can last a few years.....

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  12. Hey thanks Joe!  That is some great information.  I read all of the threads and now know what the casings should look like.  Mine were still kind of wrinkly looking and didn't stretch that much, plus I had a few blow-outs when I twisted into links.  Wasn't all that easy to put on the stuffing tube either.  These great threads also showed me how to preserve the unused for later, so that was a plus!  Looking forward to my next batch.  Thanks again for your prompt reply!
  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    X2 on the local butcher. 

    I found one close by that uses the tubed casings. Instead of me buying a bag of them and having some sit in the fridge as I don't make tons of sausage at at time, I will pick up a tube or two from him. The tubes he carries will handle about 7 pounds per hog casing. He cranks out a ton of sausage at his shop, so buying them in single quantities like this, I know he has fresh.  I would rather do this than let them sit in my fridge for months.  He charges me $3 a tube which is pretty reasonable IMO.  He also has tubed sheep casings for breakfast links, but I have not tried them.

    Use google and make a few phone calls to butcher shops.  I bet you will find one that will sell you smaller quantities of very good grade casings.  If you don't have a butcher nearby, try the grocery store.  A lot of them also stuff sausage in house in the meat department.  My local Kroger does, but they looked at me like I was purple when I asked about buying casings.  But if all else fails, it's worth an ask.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  14. I don't mind them sitting in the fridge because with winter breathing down our necks here in the northeast, it will be something to do with lots of time!  Now that I know how to keep them it will be easy :)

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