How long will hog casings last?

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Nefarious

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Oct 10, 2021
1,619
1,312
Seattle WA
It is raining finally and the smoke air quality index is high so I decided to take a few days off of my property and make some fresh sausage links. I bought the casings a while ago, at least 4 months ago. I guess I lost track of where they were stored, not in the refrigerator, I found them on a shelf in the pantry.

I can't imagine they are any good, how long will they last without refrigeration if they are still packed in original salt?
 
If they were packed in salt they are still good. They may smell bad, that is OK, just put them back in the fridge & read this thread. It will help you with storing casings.

Al
 
Yep....If they are packed in a saturated salt brine, they are good indefinitely. They may have a slight odor, but trust me they are still good. The body cavity just has a bad odor from some of the organic compounds found there. No way around that....

If you add 1/2 TBSP vinegar per quart of soak water when you are ready to use them, it helps with any off smell.
 
Good info for us newbies working with natural casings!

Ryan
 
Yep....If they are packed in a saturated salt brine, they are good indefinitely. They may have a slight odor, but trust me they are still good. The body cavity just has a bad odor from some of the organic compounds found there. No way around that....

If you add 1/2 TBSP vinegar per quart of soak water when you are ready to use them, it helps with any off smell.
They are not in a solution, it is packed in salt in. Tightly sealed plastic bag knotted at the end. I think I bought them from Syracuse Sausage, will have to look that up.
 
Still good...but I would transfer them to a saturated brine solution in a tub....not for shelf life, but for ease of stuffing and pop on the casing when you cook it....
Yep. I take casings that come packed dry in salt and transfer them to a mason jar of brine and store in the fridge. I don't measure the brine strength, just add salt a little at a time until it starts settling out. Then I know I've reached the point where the water will not take on anymore salt.
 
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Get them soaking now. Those salt packed casings get a bit dry and can rupture when stuffing, so the longer the soak the better.

Edit to add:

I would soak them now in water for an hour or so, then run water through each casing a couple times, then place them in brine in a container over night or until use. This is an important step getting water through the casing to hydrate.
 
Get them soaking now. Those salt packed casings get a bit dry and can rupture when stuffing, so the longer the soak the better.

Edit to add:

I would soak them now in water for an hour or so, then run water through each casing a couple times, then place them in brine in a container over night or until use. This is an important step getting water through the casing to hydrate.

I have had one soaking in water for a few hours, changed the water once. I plan to use it tomorrow afternoon, how much salt do I use to brine them over night?
 
No salt needed for tonight. But any left over will need to be stored in brine. 26% salt

I got 7 pieces in the shipment and I guess all are a hank. My best friend from elementary school's father was named hank. He called him Hank the tank, I didn't dare call him anything but Mr. He was a big guy. Anyway, it will take me several sessions to use each of the 7 pieces. Should I still process them and put them in a big bucket in the refrigerator? Or should/can I process them one at a time?
 
As was said above ... Soak in plain water/vinagar what you think youll need for tomorrow... The rest go in the brine solution... Always soak plenty as the unused can go back in the brine solution..
 
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^ That was going to be my reply.
I use a 75/25 water to vinegar soak overnight to tenderize the casings.

When you are getting ready to stuff give them a hot water bath for an hour or so, rinse the inside with hot water and then back to a hot water bath until you push it on the tube.
 
I got 7 pieces in the shipment and I guess all are a hank. My best friend from elementary school's father was named hank. He called him Hank the tank, I didn't dare call him anything but Mr. He was a big guy. Anyway, it will take me several sessions to use each of the 7 pieces. Should I still process them and put them in a big bucket in the refrigerator? Or should/can I process them one at a time?
What you have is not what’s called a hank. Those come in a bucket, not a bag. What you have is the “home producer pack”. That said I buy the hank because they usually come in solution, not dry in salt, they are just better casings to start with. No short pieces and odds and ends. But I have stored natural casings in brine solution for over a year and they are soft playable and very supple. Follow the link above that Al gave for handling casings. It’s a game changer. A hank of casings will generally do about 100# meat, where the home pack does about 25# meat and are odd length and diameter.
 
What you have is not what’s called a hank. Those come in a bucket, not a bag. What you have is the “home producer pack”.
I thought the definition of a hank is the length? Not the delivery mechanism. If you look at what syracuse casings sells, it is 100 yds of quality casings.
 
I thought the definition of a hank is the length? Not the delivery mechanism. If you look at what syracuse casings sells, it is 100 yds of quality casings.
True, and most are in buckets of brine, but the ones I get local made by Quality Casing Company in Kentucky are sealed in a clear bag of brine. I'll transfer to a bucket when I open the package. I always keep 2 bags on hand, plus the bucket I am pulling from. Just recently had to restock and the price increased $2/hank,
 
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I thought the definition of a hank is the length? Not the delivery mechanism. If you look at what syracuse casings sells, it is 100 yds of quality casings.
The home packs are odds and ends and cut pieces with culls. Many beginner sausage makers struggled with blow outs because they use the home packs (cheaper) and they often have small nicks and cuts which create blow outs more often, and are dried out from the salt.

The hanks are often one continuous gut loop or a couple that are premium cut free and the best quality.
 
The home packs are odds and ends and cut pieces with culls. Many beginner sausage makers struggled with blow outs because they use the home packs (cheaper) and they often have small nicks and cuts which create blow outs more often, and are dried out from the salt.

The hanks are often one continuous gut loop or a couple that are premium cut free and the best quality.
A hog will have a single 100 yd intestine? Why don't you tell me where you get yours, then I can be sure to get some quality casings.
 
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