Do they make hog casings in 20ish mm?

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motolife313-2

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Mar 13, 2023
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Got some bigger stuff yesterday but that’s the only size they had. Or do I have to go with sheep casings? First time using natrual casings
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I could be wrong but I believe the smallest in the hog casings is 29-32mm and they go larger.

The larges sheep casing I believe are 26-28mm and they go smaller.
 
I just used 21 mm collagen for my 1st snack stick batch and I thought they were chewy. Must have done something wrong. Not sure what. Are collagen casings similar to naturals in that they have varying qualities? I got these LEM's at academy. Should I have bought collagens at a butcher supply store like naturals?
 
I just used 21 mm collagen for my 1st snack stick batch and I thought they were chewy. Must have done something wrong. Not sure what. Are collagen casings similar to naturals in that they have varying qualities? I got these LEM's at academy. Should I have bought collagens at a butcher supply store like naturals?
Are you stuffing and going straight to the smoker? Or are you stuffing and resting in fridge over night?
 
I just used 21 mm collagen for my 1st snack stick batch and I thought they were chewy.
What are you comparing the chew to?
There are answers and there is give and take. Sheep casings are fantastic, I make Kabanosy with them, but they can get chewy also. Any semi-dried sausage can have a chew problem one way or the other. If you make sticks that are dried as part of the process, you can cut them and vac seal for a week or so and they soften up a bit. If they don’t dry in the process and you want them dryer you can brown bag them in the fridge a week or so and they will dry just fine. Sounds to me like you need a plastic bag rest for a few days and the chew will lighten up some. May not go away but will get better with a bag rest.
 
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What are you comparing the chew to?
That's a good question. Nothing in particular, but definitely more chewy than say a slim jim or even a store bought brat. This was my first cased smoked product so I don't have anything else to personally compare it to. Just seemed "leathery" if that makes sense. Not terrible or inedible, but I would have preferred a "snap". Got better after a few days in the fridge after smoking.
 
That's a good question. Nothing in particular, but definitely more chewy than say a slim jim or even a store bought brat. This was my first cased smoked product so I don't have anything else to personally compare it to. Just seemed "leathery" if that makes sense. Not terrible or inedible, but I would have preferred a "snap". Got better after a few days in the fridge after smoking.
I edited to add to my post above. I think it’s just your finishing technique we need to work on.
 
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Thanks. Should have added that I bloomed them for a couple hours then vac sealed and froze most and refrigerated some in a ziplock. Both appear to be similar at this point. 1 week out. Much better than when they came right off the smoker.
 
Thanks. Should have added that I bloomed them for a couple hours then vac sealed and froze most and refrigerated some in a ziplock. Both appear to be similar at this point. 1 week out. Much better than when they came right off the smoker.
Sounds like excellent work on your part. This whole smoking thing takes time, so be patient, there really is no instant gratification with cured and smoked meats, it’s a process. The end result is fantastic but the ride there is never a short one. Most all smoked meats benefit from a rest, 24 hours at least but usually a week is better.

The other option is to go cellulose casing and peel or make them case-less with a jerky gun. I find both of those to be a PITA and just work with collagen or natural casings.
 
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Thanks. Should have added that I bloomed them for a couple hours then vac sealed and froze most and refrigerated some in a ziplock. Both appear to be similar at this point. 1 week out. Much better than when they came right off the smoker.

Getting the casing + dryness texture perfect has been the most difficult and lengthy part of my snack stick journey (I got the taste how I like at batch 10 or so, and since then I've worked on texture/dryness. I'm now I'm on batch 32). I still don't have it quite right, but in case it's useful, here's a few tips I've learned along the way that might be of interest to you:
  • As soon as you put them in a bag, you start equalizing moisture and stop drying. So unless it's perfect dryness/texture, mine never goes in a ziplock (always hanging or in pink butcher paper/bag). Except for the case where maybe you may have slight case hardening, and in that case, a bag helps equalize it and recover it.
  • Be careful with vacuum packing them. You can squeeze em a bit too much. Not a good look/taste. I prefer not to do a full vacuum seal on mine. Leaving in an anti-oxygen pad and a slight amount of air. I feel that works better, but YMMV.
  • There are 15mm mahogany collagen casings I like from Devro/Waltons. Other brands, I haven't had as much success with, so they're not all equal. (I didn't like the LEM casings I had). There are also Fine-T collagen casings that are closer to sheep that you can get in the 17-18mm range. Smallest sheep casings I've seen are 18-20mm. I suspect that natural > Fine-T > Collagen in teams of how easy they are to try, but I haven't verified this yet.
  • The value if blooming is underestimated, and not just for appearance. I always do a minimum 4-hour "hanging room-temp bloom" now. I did a blind taste test and a ~24hr hanging bloom out-performed a 2hr bloom and paper-bag-in-fridge by a wide margin (but I'm still not 100% convinced it's always better just yet).
  • I definitely got "chewy" and "hot-dog-texture" for me on many occasions. I've found that an odd fat:protein ratio (I like 30% fat), or fat smearing can cause glaring problems. I've also found that, despite common advice, using a binder or a phosphate or doing a second finer grind all made my texture less good. I like to feel like I'm eating dried meat and not a super-processed "hot-dog" product like a slim jim or whatever litters the store shelves these days. So my happy place is a single coarse grind, no binder, no phosphate.
Hope that helps!
 
Getting the casing + dryness texture perfect has been the most difficult and lengthy part of my snack stick journey (I got the taste how I like at batch 10 or so, and since then I've worked on texture/dryness. I'm now I'm on batch 32). I still don't have it quite right, but in case it's useful, here's a few tips I've learned along the way that might be of interest to you:
  • As soon as you put them in a bag, you start equalizing moisture and stop drying. So unless it's perfect dryness/texture, mine never goes in a ziplock (always hanging or in pink butcher paper/bag). Except for the case where maybe you may have slight case hardening, and in that case, a bag helps equalize it and recover it.
  • Be careful with vacuum packing them. You can squeeze em a bit too much. Not a good look/taste. I prefer not to do a full vacuum seal on mine. Leaving in an anti-oxygen pad and a slight amount of air. I feel that works better, but YMMV.
  • There are 15mm mahogany collagen casings I like from Devro/Waltons. Other brands, I haven't had as much success with, so they're not all equal. (I didn't like the LEM casings I had). There are also Fine-T collagen casings that are closer to sheep that you can get in the 17-18mm range. Smallest sheep casings I've seen are 18-20mm. I suspect that natural > Fine-T > Collagen in teams of how easy they are to try, but I haven't verified this yet.
  • The value if blooming is underestimated, and not just for appearance. I always do a minimum 4-hour "hanging room-temp bloom" now. I did a blind taste test and a ~24hr hanging bloom out-performed a 2hr bloom and paper-bag-in-fridge by a wide margin (but I'm still not 100% convinced it's always better just yet).
  • I definitely got "chewy" and "hot-dog-texture" for me on many occasions. I've found that an odd fat:protein ratio (I like 30% fat), or fat smearing can cause glaring problems. I've also found that, despite common advice, using a binder or a phosphate or doing a second finer grind all made my texture less good. I like to feel like I'm eating dried meat and not a super-processed "hot-dog" product like a slim jim or whatever litters the store shelves these days. So my happy place is a single coarse grind, no binder, no phosphate.
Hope that helps!
Great insight. Thank you! I definitely want to work on the recipe as mine taste like an uncooked hot dog which isn't bad, but not great either. I used a Hi-Mountain Hickory mix just because I had some on hand and thought it'd be the easiest method for my first batch (limit the variables). I think I want more black pepper. Mind sharing a recipe you like?
 
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