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Bratwurst casing issues

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
hi all,

I had another question about casings for bratwurst. After my success with the snack sticks, i felt a surge of empowerment and decided to try making some homemade brats. I stuffed up a bunch the other night and when i was trying to cook them, the casings came apart at the ends.

I poached them in beer for a while, and then was going to finish them on the grill, but when i poached them, the meat pushed out of the ends. The flavor was still good, but they were a little dry (predictably), and they looked god-awful.

Is there a way to do it so that this doesn't happen?? Would poaching them while they are still all connected work?? or do i need to poach and grill them while they are still all together and cut them apart before serving??

The reason i ask is that i found a recipe for portabella mushroom and swiss brats that i really want to try, but i really would like to avoid a broken cheesy apocalypse on my grill. Any thoughts??
post #2 of 14
What kind of casings did you use? Natural hog?
post #3 of 14
Yes, were they natural casing? If so, then make sure after you stuff them, to let them dry. After you link them, set them in the fridge over night. You can then cut them apart if you like the following day. Also, you don't want to overstuff them.
post #4 of 14
Assuming the plan is to link them, you don't want to stuff them too tight. A little loose is OK. Then twist in the links and let the links sit for an hour or so. They eventually take this set, so when you snip the links apart, they stay closed up.

Dry means not enough fat or what you had was cooked out. Soy protein is sometimes used to retain the juices and keeps them plump. Dried milk solids are a substitute for the Soy, but as per Rytek, this is NOT the same thing as the dried non-fat milk you buy in the grocery store (although guys seem to be using it for this).

What I've not heard and can't say for sure, is if the soy protein is the same or similar to the soy flour you can buy in the store. Bob's Red Mill stuff comes to mind.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 


yes, these are natural hog casings.

Thanks for the replies. Now, i have heard an hour and overnight. Honestly, my plan was to stuff these and cook them the same day. will an hour do the trick?? I'm guessing that there will be about a 3-4 hour window between when they are stuffed and when they are cooked. will this be long enough, or should i plan on stuffing the night before??

So when i snip them, after letting them sit for 3 hours or so, they will hold all of the meat inside, and when i poach them in beer, they will not squeeze out of the casings?? It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but i am making these for family, so i'd like them to look good.

Again, You guys are the best, thanks for all of your council.
post #6 of 14
Hog Warden got ya perty well covered. I'd let em rest overnight in the icebox so the cure an the seasonin have a chance to work with the meat. Then a nice smoke.

Hog casin should stay closed after linkin if ya let rest a bit an don't overstuff, overstuffin is the hardest part!biggrin.gif
post #7 of 14
So Are you sayin that the soy protein is the same or similar to the soy flour you can buy in the store?
Would be nice to know as we all could save a lot of money by not buyin these special soy protien packs from the sausage suppliers.
post #8 of 14
Soy protein is different then soy flour. Soy flour contains more hull material an is baked ta improve the flavour of it.

Soy protein an soy flour are not interchangable in bakin, so will they in sausage as a binder? I've never tried the soy flour, fer what little soy protein is used I've always just stuck with that. It is the preffered ingriedient in makin sausage, meat loaf an such because it is an excellent binder. The soy protein tends to hold the fats in the product rather then releasin em.

Soy protein is courser then soy flour also.

So, with all that said. I just stick with the soy protein, but I might give the soy flour a try sometime this winter an see what the results are, but I doubt it will be as good as soy protein, if it worked exactly the same the big companies would be usin it rather the the soy protein. Just my two coppers on the deal.biggrin.gif
post #9 of 14
When I stuff my sausage I first make a ring, packed loose. When the stuffer is empty I will then link the sausage and cut the links right then. They then go into the fridge to dry out for a couple of hours. At this point I'm usually vacuum packing them and then freezing. I have cooked them at this point with good results. Hope this helps.
post #10 of 14
If you stuff the casings so they are not tight, I would try and let them sit a couple hours if you can, but you should be fine after only one if thats all the time you have. I just let mine sit overnight and start the next day cutting and packaging. I think the reason yours opened up on you is that they were stuffed a bit too much. Cooking them expanded the meat inside, thus forcing the ends open on you. Either way, you made them yourself, and they will taste so much better than the store bought ones.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 


Thanks guys, that makes a lot of sense. I've got 10 lbs of pork butt to grind and stuff this weekend, and it will be a lot easier now that i know the facts. I would have certainly overstuffed them. I am also smoking up my first attempt at summer sausage this weekend. I ended up cheating and bought a sausage mix from LEM for this batch. I couldn't find the corn syrup solids or the dextrose, or the instacure that Rytek has in his book for venison sausage at the gander mountain OR the fleet farm in farmington. I plan to embellish the mix with some other flavors that i like, but will just play it safe for this go round while i order some of that stuff from the sites that you sent.

This is the last part of my preparations for deer camp (in wisconsin). Between the snack sticks, the jerky, the brats, and the summer sausage, we should eat pretty well. Take care everyone, and for all of the deer hunters out there, slay a monster this season.
post #12 of 14
Hey Rhino, I forgot to mention it to you. Fleet Farm, as strange as it sounds, they did not have their insta cure with the sausage making supplies. Believe it or not, they had it over in HOUSEWARES. Yeah, weird. In the same area where they keep the thermometers, they also had casings in that area and the meat grinders for home use and the hog ring pliers as well as game bags for stuffing burner. Stuff like dextrose you will not find at fleet farm, but for basic smoked sausages, if you need insta sure, look in that area.
post #13 of 14
Lems SS kit is perty good all on it's own. I've yet ta find the corn syrup solids an such locally. Fleet Farm carries some casins an the cure an kits which will get a feller by.

Good luck on the sausage!
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Brat Update

Hi Guys,

Well, the brat making process was really fun. We made a bunch of really great beer brats, then some jalapeno cheese brats, and some portabella swiss brats. We made them, and then vacuum sealed them right away, so i don't have any pictures of them fresh, but the whole process was wonderful. I used what the butcher called "picnic trim", which was roughly a 70/30 pork/fat ratio. It is basically the stuff that they can't cut into something pretty for the meat case. it was only 1.79 per lb, so i really couldn't go wrong.

The stuffing and grinding went really easily, and your advice was great. I decided to poach the links while they were still linked, though, because after cutting one and trying it, it still pushed out a little when poached. I only let them sit for about an hour before cooking. They cooked up just fine when poached though, and when i threw them on the grill to finish them, i just snipped them then, and the rest of the cooking process was easy.

I got compliments from the whole family on what great flavor and texture the brats had, as it really was a great recipe. Thanks again for all of your help everyone!!!

FYI, I smoked summer sausage at the same time with the LEM mix, and it turned out great. I smoked it for about 6 hours at 140, and then finished it in the oven. travcoman45, you were right, the LEM mix is pretty good on its own. Next time i'll add garlic, but it is really tasty, and turned out like a professional sausage. My casings even stayed nice and tight.

And Meathunter, i did find cure in the housewares section. It was called LEM cure, but it was 4 ounces for 100 lbs of meat, like the instacure is, so i'm guessing it is the same stuff. Thanks for the heads up!!
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