Originally Posted by fire in the hole
I have some hog casings but have a bearcat of a time loading the stuffing tube with them. I guess I will call it impossible for me, and yes, I soaked them in warm water for a half hour prior.
I have resorted to collagen casings and this time the white ones.
I'm going to look for some lamb and see it they are better for me.
Syracuse Casings is local to me and I have had good results with their casings. The sheep casings they sell are the common dry pack salted or you can get pre-flushed casings on a plastic tube for the same price. Some casing sizes come common dry pack, pre-flushed tubed or dry pack salted pre-tubed. I've been told the pre-flushed casings have a shorter storage life but haven't noticed a differnce myself.
For thier pre-tubed casings you just soak them, slide the tubed casings onto the stuffing tube and draw the plastic tube out from between the casing and the stuffing tube. It works great for me and if I'm only going to need half a tube of casing I just cut the casing, plastic tube and all, in whatever size I need before soaking.
When I have had trouble threading casings on to a stuffing tube I've been able to make it easier by running a bit of water through the casing as I thread it on. You don't have to have the stuffing tube on the stuffer or grinder to do that. Having the tube off makes it easier when the casing is fighting back. Growing a third hand makes it easier still...
I like 20-22mm sheep casings for snack sticks as they still make a good sized stick after smoking and drying.
The LEM casings seem to be very erratic in sizes within the same bag with a lot of short pieces. I'd avoid them if at all possible.