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Tough casing problem

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
When I smoke sausages my casings get tough. I have used LEM casing and The Sausage Make casing all with the same problem. The LEM casings were packaged in salt and the Sausage Maker casings were packed in a brine (I buy a Hank at a time). I use 20-22mm for breakfast and snack sticks and 32-35 mm for Italian, Hot Links etc. When I make fresh sausage the casing are tender but when I smoke sausage they get tough. I prepare my casings with a complete rinse in cold water inside & out. I then soak my casing in cold water with a little bit of white vinegar. I soak them for 2 hours and I change the water at a minimum of 3 times to make them soft and pliable. When I stuff the casings to make smoke sausage I place them in the refrigerator overnight to let the spices and cure get happy. The sausages are in a pan covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. An hour before going into my 40" MES I take them out of the refrigerator to air dry a little. They are then placed in my MES at a temp of 130 (no smoke vent wide open) for an hour to dry out. An hour later I start adding smoke and leave the temp at 130 for and additional hour. I then bump the temp to 140 for an hour and then I gradually bump the temp to 165 until the internal temp of the sausage is 160. Do I need to use a water pan or am I missing a step in the smoking process. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 5

To maximize the tender bite of a casing, cook with moisture. Prick sausage before grilling.

Some casings are tougher because of their origin. They are usually cheap. The tough ones are usually thick and opaque. Smoke cycles can also affect the bite of a casing. Humidity during the smoke cycle is important to maximize a tender eating experience. 

 

Also when soaking instead of vinegar try adding some pineapple or lemon juice, will help make the casings soft.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nepas View Post

Some casings are tougher because of their origin. They are usually cheap. The tough ones are usually thick and opaque. Smoke cycles can also affect the bite of a casing. Humidity during the smoke cycle is important to maximize a tender eating experience. 


Also when soaking instead of vinegar try adding some pineapple or lemon juice, will help make the casings soft.



Nepas, I don't think it's my casings as my breakfast sausage casings are very tender while my snack sticks are just plain tough. The same holds true when I make Italian very tender casings but my smoked kielbasa or hot links are tough. The breakfast and snack stick casings are all from the same batch as well as the Italian and kielbasa. Should I not be air drying the casings prior to smoking and should I not doing an hour dry in the MES prior to applying smoke? As far as humidity during the smoke cycle I have not used any water in a water pan in the smoker while smoking. Could this be the issue? Thanks
post #4 of 5

Here is a great thread on casings.

 

I have been doing it this way for some time & I buy my casings from the Sausagemaker.

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/159729/how-to-handle-natural-casings

 

Hope this helps.

 

Al

post #5 of 5

To maximize the tender bite of a casing, cook with moisture. Prick sausage before grilling.

Some casings are tougher because of their origin. They are usually cheap. The tough ones are usually thick and opaque. Smoke cycles can also affect the bite of a casing. Humidity during the smoke cycle is important to maximize a tender eating experience. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb54 View Post


Nepas, I don't think it's my casings as my breakfast sausage casings are very tender while my snack sticks are just plain tough. The same holds true when I make Italian very tender casings but my smoked kielbasa or hot links are tough. The breakfast and snack stick casings are all from the same batch as well as the Italian and kielbasa. Should I not be air drying the casings prior to smoking and should I not doing an hour dry in the MES prior to applying smoke? As far as humidity during the smoke cycle I have not used any water in a water pan in the smoker while smoking. Could this be the issue? Thanks


Your breakfast sausage casings are tender because your cooking them.

 

Smoking naturally dries things out, thats why we brine whole cuts. Your using sheep casings for your sticks? Yes do dry the stuffed casings as smoke has a hard tim sticking on wet casings. Your start times are close to what i use. Water in the pan will help just watch the heat in your MES. I ditched my POJ MES, way to many hot spots and element issues. Keep your vent full open so you dont build up too much humidity.

 

If you find that your still having this problem try to go with another casing company like Wolfson, Syracuse Casings or Dupey Equip.

Also if you apply a few hours of smoke and get your IT close to 150* you can always hot water in 160-170* water, this process is pretty popular now. Get one those 20lb electric roasters you see at wally. Heat the water to 160, use a wooden spoon to stir the water around so the sausage dont get a fat-out, do 1 or 2 at a time. Careful the water temp will drop when you add the links or chubs. Look for a meat IT of 151 then pull, dunk in cold water for 30seconds just to stop the heat next to the meat and casing, hang at room temp. They will IT by themselves to 152. Let them cool hanging for a couple hours then put in a brown paper bag and fridge for a day or so. Any longer and they will start to dry.

 

Hope this helps some.

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