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How to handle natural casings

smokinvegasbaby

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Joined Jul 23, 2013
 
Thought I would post up what I do with natural casings. I use naturals 99.9% of the time when making sausages be it sheep or hog casings. I get compliments about how the casing are very delicate and have a perfect snap when you bite into the sausage.  I believe the quality of the casings is part of it but how you handle the casings is another step towards a tender bite. Natural casings usually come packed in salt, wet salt or a salt solution. Casings in a salt solution require short soaking periods changing the water frequently where as casings packed in salt take lengthy times from days to weeks.  My 36-38mm casings from Wolfson's come in this solution and I normally soak for a few days before using them. If I don't soak them for a few days and use them the same day (not removing the salt saturated in them) they tend to dry out quickly, not be as elastic, turn a darker color on the stuffing tube and sometimes stick to the tube and cause blow outs..... I have had great success when casings become fully washed and pliable. The casings need to be able to stretch without breaking making them thinner when the sausage is stuffed into them. I usually stuff sausage at the brink of it tearing.

Here I am trying (first time) new casing out I bought from the sausage maker. They are 38-42mm and came in a wet salt brine. not a salt solution brine.



not much liquid but they are wet


place them in the container and add some fresh water changing frequently during the course of the day


After soaking them for a few days they are softening up


Once they are clean and looking silky soft I remove them from the container, discard the excess water and place the casings back into the container and add 1/2 cup of non iodized salt to the casings, mix and store in the fridge for future use. The casing will have become so saturated with water you will not need to add any.


When ready to use the casings remove the whole hank from the container and place into a large bowl of cold water and wash the casings like you were scratching your head changing the water several times removing the salt from the casings. You will see the casings have become saturated and are looking silky smooth and pliable..... Here you will be able to grab a piece of casing and pull it out of the hank in one whole section without tangling. Place it into another container of water and take what your going to use removing what you'll need. I usually pull 18 inches per lb depending on the size.


Here's how they look on the tube. Wet,soft, and pliable. They will be easy to stretch without breaking and wont blow out.



Take your unused casing, drain them, place them into the container for storage and add the 1/2 cup of non iodized salt and put back into the fridge. You can add 1 cap full of vinegar if desired. I usually do



Back into the container with a good shake and back into the fridge for next time


Over all the casings from the sausagemaker were very nice. Good quality but a little pricey. I will use them again...


I stretched these to the max. Fat boys..lol

Thanks for looking
amazing looking sausage there.  Thanks for all the helpful info.

Josie
 

tsin

Smoke Blower
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Joined Feb 27, 2013
Wow!! Thanks for the tutoring..and going to all that trouble I am going to file this for future use Sorry I didn't think to get pictures.  Thanks again
 

dirtsailor2003

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Nice seeing you around again.... hope all is well!
I wish Jeremy was back online here, that post was from last March!  Unfortunately B hasn't posted since the end of May
Don't know where he disappeared too.
 

foamheart

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Ok, raises my Hand!! I was so excited, I didn't looked at the time stamp.......... Thats it, its my one mistake allowable for this year.......Pfffft......

Well I did make it two weeks.
 

shannont

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Joined Aug 9, 2013
Thank you Thank you Thank you - I just threw out a package of casings because I had NO idea how to store them. I too ordered some SM casings and am waiting for them to arrive - now I actually know what to do with them. This post was spot on! 
 

hoity toit

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Thought I would post up what I do with natural casings. I use naturals 99.9% of the time when making sausages be it sheep or hog casings. I get compliments about how the casing are very delicate and have a perfect snap when you bite into the sausage.  I believe the quality of the casings is part of it but how you handle the casings is another step towards a tender bite. Natural casings usually come packed in salt, wet salt or a salt solution. Casings in a salt solution require short soaking periods changing the water frequently where as casings packed in salt take lengthy times from days to weeks.  My 36-38mm casings from Wolfson's come in this solution and I normally soak for a few days before using them. If I don't soak them for a few days and use them the same day (not removing the salt saturated in them) they tend to dry out quickly, not be as elastic, turn a darker color on the stuffing tube and sometimes stick to the tube and cause blow outs..... I have had great success when casings become fully washed and pliable. The casings need to be able to stretch without breaking making them thinner when the sausage is stuffed into them. I usually stuff sausage at the brink of it tearing.

Here I am trying (first time) new casing out I bought from the sausage maker. They are 38-42mm and came in a wet salt brine. not a salt solution brine.



not much liquid but they are wet


place them in the container and add some fresh water changing frequently during the course of the day


After soaking them for a few days they are softening up


Once they are clean and looking silky soft I remove them from the container, discard the excess water and place the casings back into the container and add 1/2 cup of non iodized salt to the casings, mix and store in the fridge for future use. The casing will have become so saturated with water you will not need to add any.


When ready to use the casings remove the whole hank from the container and place into a large bowl of cold water and wash the casings like you were scratching your head changing the water several times removing the salt from the casings. You will see the casings have become saturated and are looking silky smooth and pliable..... Here you will be able to grab a piece of casing and pull it out of the hank in one whole section without tangling. Place it into another container of water and take what your going to use removing what you'll need. I usually pull 18 inches per lb depending on the size.


Here's how they look on the tube. Wet,soft, and pliable. They will be easy to stretch without breaking and wont blow out.



Take your unused casing, drain them, place them into the container for storage and add the 1/2 cup of non iodized salt and put back into the fridge. You can add 1 cap full of vinegar if desired. I usually do



Back into the container with a good shake and back into the fridge for next time


Over all the casings from the sausagemaker were very nice. Good quality but a little pricey. I will use them again...


I stretched these to the max. Fat boys..lol

Thanks for looking
I use the same casing from them and like them also. I have also goten the pre-tubed casing from them and I "REALLY" liked them..,no problem finding the opening. looking at your last picture I see the sausages are hung on the stick looking down,, I always tie the strings together leaving some space and hang them on the string..Is there a reason or is this just your prefered method. I know it doesn't effect the product, I was just curious as I have not seen them hung that way before. Im going to try that way next time.,

HT
 
Last edited:

boykjo

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I hang them like this because its easier to place them over the bar. The bar is rebar. I place a small sheet of aluminum foil over the bar to keep the metal from touching the sausage. it gets replaced every smoke. I dont tie the sausages together cause I would have to slide the sausages on to the bar. This way I just lay them over the bar and position.... This is how I know sausage to look from the local butchers who made it sinceI was a kid. It had the hang mark on the top inside of the sausages

Joe
 

gulf shucker

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Joined Dec 29, 2014
I have a package of Butcher and Packer natural hog casings packed in salt (little to no moisture). I plan on stuffing them on Saturda. Should I begin the soaking process now (around a week ahead of stuffing) or wait until Thursday or Friday to start soaking?
As always, thank you for any help and happy smoking.

LJ
 

boykjo

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If they have little to no moisture I would start soaking as soon as possible
 

hoity toit

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I always wash mine too and turn them inside out., if you do it right in the sink, once you get them started the water will flip 'em inside out in no time.
 

naclh2o

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Sausage Maker prices are really high...Butcher and Packer is quite a bit cheaper and their product is good...salted on rings so they are easy to handle. I usually put them in fresh salt if I'm not going to stuff a whole hank...and vacuum seal them so they stay in the fridge without causing a mess.

Of note, I've never had to soak a casing for more than a few hours...that's how I start the process. Decide how much I'm making and separate the casings and put each piece in a quart mason jar with fresh water...leave a tail hanging over the lip so its easy to flush....first soak, about 30 minutes, change water, second soak about 30 minutes, then flush inside and change water, another 30 minutes, flush inside and fresh water...then just before I use them I flush again with fresh water and your all set...anyway it works for me...
 

mummel

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So the trick is to really soak them in water for a couple of days and keep changing the water until they are that white color?
 

pc farmer

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So the trick is to really soak them in water for a couple of days and keep changing the water until they are that white color?
Yes, and silky smooth
 

mummel

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Isnt it bad to soak the whole lot, then repack them with salt, then resoak down the road etc.  Im going to be making maybe 2.5lbs at a time and dont need the whole 1/4 hank, which means I will soak and resalt maybe 10 times.  I'm worried that I might not store them correctly with enough salt.  Can I use kosher salt (is that iodized)?  How much salt do I need.  Keep in fridge?
 

boykjo

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You can just pull what you want and soak. it just makes it quicker when you want to re use them to get them soft. You think your going to make one batch and stop. The next thing you know your hooked and want to make more......

Can I get an Amen Brother sausage makers...lol
 

pc farmer

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You can just pull what you want and soak. it just makes it quicker when you want to re use them to get them soft. You think your going to make one batch and stop. The next thing you know your hooked and want to make more......

Can I get an Amen Brother sausage makers...lol
Amen. Lol

Listen to this guy. He taught me what I know.
 
Last edited:

foamheart

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Hallelujah brother and pass the ammunition!
 

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