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Tough Casings

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Try as I might I cannot get my casings tender or have them have that pop  I am on my fourth or fifth round of sausage and the casings always turn out tough and chewy. I have tried rinsing well ( inside and out ), soaking a long time ( up to an hour or so ), and adjusting the damper on my electric smoker ( closing off as the smoking progresses ) ; changed different brands of casings and I just can't get it right, Always tough and chewy. Can anyone please give me some more options on this problem ? Thanks and I love this forum, I have learned a lot.

 

post #2 of 16

dj, morning.....  Sounds like you tried everything except...... I read somewhere, a moisture pan in the smoker keeps the casings moist during the smoke.....   I haven't tried it... don't know if it works....  personally, I don't use a water pan in the smoker...  If you have any success, please report back with your solution so others can learn from you.... that is what we are all about here....    Dave

post #3 of 16

What casings are you using? Tell us in detail about your whole process.

post #4 of 16

Can you be more specific on using different casings.. I still think this is where your problem lies...... Did you get the fresh casings packed in a salt solution.... I have found this type of casing gives you the perfect bite or snap when biting into sausage... I get compliments on it all the time... when you rinse them inside and out and soak for a about an hr they turn silky soft....

 

Joe

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

boykjo,

I have used casings packed in salt solution from Lems, and the last ones I used were dry loaded on a tube that my butcher gave me to try. I soaked these about an hour before stuffing. The ones I purchased from Lems I rinsed thourghly inside and out. I used some of the dry ones for brats and they turned out alright. In my smoker when I look at them they have like a translucent look to them, like they are moist and not taking smoke well. Got some in the smoker now that look like that. The last batch looked like it took smoke well on one side and had that translucent look on the other. Don't know what the problem is. Using AMZPS from Todd for smoking

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by solaryellow View Post

What casings are you using? Tell us in detail about your whole process.



I am cutting the meats into small pieces and seasoning and curing in refridge overnight. Grinding the next morning and either stuffing that same day or the following day. Soaking the casings before the stuffing begins. Then overnight in the refridge and the next morning into the electric smoker at !00 to 130 degrees for about two hours then up the temp to 150 and adding smoke for another two hours , then up the temp to 170 til IT of 154 degrees.

 

post #7 of 16

When you soak the casings add a splash of vinegar to the water. Do you let the sausage sit overnite before smoking or do you smoke right after stuffing?

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alelover View Post

When you soak the casings add a splash of vinegar to the water. Do you let the sausage sit overnite before smoking or do you smoke right after stuffing?



These I let sit overnight in the refrigerator

 

post #9 of 16
Try initially soaking the casing in warm water for about 30 minutes , then flush them out.
Soak overnight in the fridge in water with lemon juice added (1 teaspoon lemon juice per cup of water)
Change to warm water (helps with casing expansion) before stuffing and do not under-stuff, you want maximum expansion of the casing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj54 View Post

Grinding the next morning and either stuffing that same day or the following day.


I would stuff immediate after grinding/mixing so that the mix doesn't begin to set-up....again, so that you get maximum expansion of the casing.

Take special care when cooking, too high of a temp, especially initially, can make casings tough.

HTH
post #10 of 16

Hey, Diggy.... How do "you" tell when a casing is stuffed properly.... Is there a texture or a thump like checking a melon for ripeness..... I generally understuff so I don't have "blow outs".... Dave 

post #11 of 16

Never tried the lemon juice trick,  I'll have to give it a shot.    I always stuff immediately after grinding.  I cure and season the chunks of meat for a couple of days, grind and stuff.   I find the ground meat and spices have more available moisture and tends to be smoother.  As far as how full is too full I think it just takes practice.  The amount of pressure you apply to the casings as they are filled and pull off the tube is key.  Once stuffed I make up any looseness when I twist.      I think it is better to under stuff a bit and twist till you get  the firmness you want then to try to stuff too tight, twist and get blow outs.    With a bit of empty casing between the sausages it it easier to hang on dowels and cold smoke.

 

 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

Hey, Diggy.... How do "you" tell when a casing is stuffed properly.... Is there a texture or a thump like checking a melon for ripeness..... I generally understuff so I don't have "blow outs".... Dave 


That's a difficult question to answer. LOL
It's something that's much easier to demonstrate than it is to describe.
I stuff and twist to form the links until they reach the desired firmness, it's just something you develop a feel for.
post #13 of 16

I always used a splash of white vinegar in the dish I soaked the casings in, either hank or pre-tubed.  I don't stuff to the max, need a bit of room for twisting.  Also, on fresh sausages like brats or Italians, I grill over medium heat at the max; otherwise they will split.  A good soak in beer or wine is fine too!  The Chinese casings are tougher, also.  But, you get what you pay for.  I get mine from Syracuse Casings -   http://www.makincasing.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=EM419&Category_Code=1 ... yes, they are more expensive, but they're a better casing.

post #14 of 16

Are you giving sausage an ice bath after it comes out of the smoker? Put smoked sausage in ice bath for 15 minutes. It stops the cooking process at the temp you removed from the smoker and the casings suck up water making them more tender and snappable later on.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj54 View Post

boykjo,

I have used casings packed in salt solution from Lems, and the last ones I used were dry loaded on a tube that my butcher gave me to try. I soaked these about an hour before stuffing. The ones I purchased from Lems I rinsed thourghly inside and out. I used some of the dry ones for brats and they turned out alright. In my smoker when I look at them they have like a translucent look to them, like they are moist and not taking smoke well. Got some in the smoker now that look like that. The last batch looked like it took smoke well on one side and had that translucent look on the other. Don't know what the problem is. Using AMZPS from Todd for smoking


The good color on one side and none on the other is because the links are touching each other or touching the smoker.

 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj54 View Post

boykjo,

I have used casings packed in salt solution from Lems, and the last ones I used were dry loaded on a tube that my butcher gave me to try. I soaked these about an hour before stuffing. The ones I purchased from Lems I rinsed thourghly inside and out. I used some of the dry ones for brats and they turned out alright. In my smoker when I look at them they have like a translucent look to them, like they are moist and not taking smoke well. Got some in the smoker now that look like that. The last batch looked like it took smoke well on one side and had that translucent look on the other. Don't know what the problem is. Using AMZPS from Todd for smoking



I am not sure whats going on... What you have done should have solved the problem... I never had to add vinegar or a juice.......thought that was just for odor.... casings I buy locally dont smell... the sheep casings I ordered online had some odor but didnt affect the outcome....I would try another brand or try to get some locally.  How your smoking the sausages shouldnt have an effect to make the casings tuff. Check your chamber temps with a remote probe...

 

Joe

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