Casing prep

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smokngun

Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jan 25, 2013
176
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Hi all! I'm planning to make some sausage this weekend and wanted some advice for prepping natural hog casings. My last batch the sausage was good but the casings were bit tough.
 
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Not sure what brand casings you have . Going forward use this method .
If you have homepak salted casings , get them out now . Rinse the salt off , and put them in some water , and in the fridge . Day of , rinse them inside and out . The longer you soak the better , more tender they will be .
 
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My last batch i soaked and rinsed for about 1hr, but did not know about baking soda. What does it do? I've also read about adding some vinegar. Thank you for the responses.
 
Never did any of the baking soda or vinegar . I store mine wet , like in that thread . Always ready that way .
 
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Never did any of the baking soda or vinegar . I store mine wet , like in that thread . Always ready that way .
In that write-up he mentions adding a capful of vinegar when repacking them. Just wondering what it does.
 
In that write-up he mentions adding a capful of vinegar when repacking them. Just wondering what it does.
Apples and oranges type discussion.
A hank of casings is much different than the Home Pack that does #25 and is dry packed in salt. Two totally different products.
 
Apples and oranges type discussion.
A hank of casings is much different than the Home Pack that does #25 and is dry packed in salt. Two totally different products.
I have a home pack, what would be the best course of action to prep?
 
I have a home pack, what would be the best course of action to prep?
Follow that link that chopsaw chopsaw posted. If you looked at it you would see that it was posted by boykjo boykjo and as it says... renowned sausage maker... there's a reason for that, he knows what he's talking about. And it works!

Ryan
 
I have a home pack, what would be the best course of action to prep?
Take the whole pack and soak it in warm water. Until they soften, as soon as that then flush the insides all the way through. Then let them rest in water for another couple hours. Then you can put them in water with a dose of salt and store in the fridge. These will never get real supple but the process helps a lot. When ready to stuff, once again rinse and flush the amount of casing you need. Place them in a bowl with water and add a dash or two of baking soda. This will velvet the casing and make it softer and more supple, will also make it slick to feed better on the stuffing horn.
 
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Not sure where you are starting, but the only home (small) pack of casings worth using is PS Seasonings. They are in a wet slurry so the casings are not mummified in salt as common in most other brands.
That said, put the whole pack in plain water. Don't do anything for a couple days, then dump the water and refill. They should have hydrated some. Now is the time to flush with warm water and check the suppleness of the casings. If they feel a bit stiff, flush them out and back in plain water for another rest.
Casings are kept in fridge during the re-hydrating process.

Day prior I pull enough casing for the planned stuffing. Flush again and store in fresh water. Day of flush in warm water and pinch the end to stretch the casing during the flush. Keep in warm water.
Optional, use a bit of baking soda in the warm bath. It does make them slippery when wet.

Vinegar is for odor suppression. After thinking this through, if they stink I would dump them.
 
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Not sure where you are starting, but the only home (small) pack of casings worth using is PS Seasonings. They are in a wet slurry so the casings are not mummified in salt as common in most other brands.
That said, put the whole pack in plain water. Don't do anything for a couple days, then dump the water and refill. They should have hydrated some. Now is the time to flush with warm water and check the suppleness of the casings. If they feel a bit stiff, flush them out and back in plain water for another rest.
Casings are kept in fridge during the re-hydrating process.

Day prior I pull enough casing for the planned stuffing. Flush again and store in fresh water. Day of flush in warm water and pinch the end to stretch the casing during the flush. Keep in warm water.
Optional, use a bit of baking soda in the warm bath. It does make them slippery when wet.

Vinegar is for odor suppression. After thinking this through, if they stink I would dump them.
LEM is now selling the home packs in solution as well.
 
LEM is now selling the home packs in solution as well.
Good to know about LEM. I hope they are better quality of discards from the previous packs I tried.
PS Seasoning has a hank on a ring in the home pack. Perfect for the small amount of stuffed sausage I make in a year.
 
I dont know what a home pack is, but the last casings I bought were packed in salt and said it would do 25lbs. The instructions for prepping the casings are right there on the package. I think it was 15-30 mins in warm water, then rinse, running water all the way through each portion of casing. I was able to patiently separate individual casings lengths before any soaking so the rest could stay salted in the package. I followed the basic instructions and it worked fine.

I was stuffing boudin, so tenderness of the casing is not an issue since the boudin is squeezed out of the casing like a pudding pop or go-gurt when eating. Ruggedness of the casing is actually better for heating without blowing out. I haven't made sausage to be cooked in the casing for a long time.

Baking soda is one of the many methods out there for "velveting", a way to tenderize meat, especially meat pieces cut for a stir fry. I haven't used the method for anything else but I do use it for beef and pork sir fries, it's amazing how tender it makes the meat. You can go down a serious rabbit hole researching velveting, and of course these days there seems to be a whole narrative on every page including a question and answer session with the web page asking and answering questions to itself!

There are several different methods for velveting, some using egg whites, some using cornstarch. I use the 1 tsp to 1/2 cup cold water for 12oz of cut-up meat. Mix with the meat and rest 15 minutes. Drain and pat the meat dry, then for Asian stir fry, coat with a mixture of rice wine or dry white wine or light vermouth and cornstarch, 2 teaspoons each before stir frying.

I can see where putting some baking soda in the casings soaking water would really tenderize them.
 
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