How to handle natural casings

Discussion in 'Sausage Sticky' started by boykjo, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    I hear you.  I've completely derailed with this new hobby.  Im so addicted.  I cant stop reading and researching.  Its actually crazy.  Been a while since Ive been so into something like this.  Check my posts.  I joined at the end of April.  1k+ posts in 2 months.  Like 17 posts a day.  I've lost my mind.  Staring at my LEM as we speak.  Going on vacation tomorrow so I have some time to buy a grinder on the road and 2 day ship it to my door.  It will be here when I get back :).  Cant wait. 
  2. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Hey Boykjo - I tried your method this weekend.  It worked beautifully!!  Well done man and thank you.

    I have some worry that the casings will go off in my fridge lying in salty water, but Im sure they will be fine.  Have you had any issues?

    Another thing, you mentioned you used 1/2 cup of non iodized salt.  I put my casing in a small pyrex bowl with lid, and also through 1/2 cup of Mortans salt in there, but I think it was waaaay to much because I had a lot less water than you, and there is about half an inch of salt lying on the bottom of the glass bowl. 

    Any idea for what the right non iodized salt to water ratio should be for casings stored in your fridge?  Thanks!
  3. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    This thread deserves a lot more credit.  Its made stuffing sausages so much easier for me, particularly using sheep casings.  Seriously, +100000000000. 
  4. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sounds like a nice payday but I charge more for  I use to pull what i needed and soak...... what a mess/tangles.... soak the whole hank. just remember not to refill the bowl with water while the casings are in the bowl. Sheeps are easy

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  5. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Not sure what you mean?  And yes, I can pull out a single sheep casing from the mass, its amazing.  I struggled so much before!
  6. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    remove the casings from the bowl then replace the fresh water, then return the casings back to the water. If you just dump the water with the casings still in the bowl then refill the bowl from your tap with the casings in the bowl the casings will move around and tangle
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ah nice tip TY. I just pulled a couple of sheep casings and dipped them in another bowl before putting them on the tube. I put my main casings bowl back in the fridge. Do I need to change that salt water every so often? It seemed fine to me. No smells. And casings were super soft and easy to work with.
  8. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    If your removing what you need from the salted casings you dont need to change the salt brine. You only need to re salt if you removed the salt
  9. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have always done Fiborous for summer sausage  or snack sticks using collagens,,haven't done "sausage" yet..well since I helped mom and dad when I was a wee lad.

    Just ordered my first Naturals from SM,,,Thanks Joe great info I will let you know,, 

    Would you do the same with Natural Rounds?? I have been looking at doing some of them also... 

    Oh and by the way "Amen" 


    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  10. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well got some LEM Casings for Chirstmas,, thought I would give these a try first to see how it goes. 

    Plus with all the sausage making going on this needs a bump 

    I will let you know 

    Thanks again Joe

  11. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Ive only used natural casings so far with great success after soaking them permanently. 
  12. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I assume the LEM casings are packed in salt not a salt solution. I would start soaking the LEM casing as soon as you can and soak them for a minimum of 2 weeks changing the water frequently. It will take a long time to get the salt out of them and get them to soften. I recommend casings packed in a salt solution for best results and ease of use. Start out with a small batch.

    If you need help with the casings you can PM me any time.

  13. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With Boykjo's   permission I wanted to add a little info on a salt packed casing

    I got these for Christmas and was thinking about using them, I usually do summer sausage and snack sticks and have not gotten into the natural casings so I didn't know what I was asking for for Christmas,, Kids came thru with this. 

    I am loving this learning curve so far. 

    you can see the salt packed in there.  back view 


    Side view 

    Into the water they go

    the picture to the left was out of pack and rinsed one time and let sit in water,, picture on the right is after  3 days,,changing water at least once a day if not more on the weekend.


    They are starting to soften up I will be taking more pics tomorrow night as it will have been in the fridge for one week,,changing the water daily. When I change the water I did as Joe rec. and massage them like scratching your head while they are in a strainer before going in fresh water. 

    Remember this is in a salt pack and not a salt solution like joes pics,,These will take longer to get soft and silky 

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  14. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have 2 containers of hog casings & 1 container of sheep casings in the fridge. My task for today is to start the same process. I'm looking forward to seeing the casings change to look like Joe's.

  15. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I started a test about 2 months ago with LEM sheep's packed in salt and was going to post the results. It didn't go well. I soaked them for about 2 weeks and they were improving but were not getting saturated or softening. The were still discolored and they had something inside the casings that didn't get washed out during the processing. It may have been salt.. Not sure. I added some vinegar to the water and that's what ended the test. I checked a few days later and the casings swelled up and turned to rubber so I chucked the $18 casings and was going to try again.  Like to see what  DS  results are going to be and I dont have to spend another 18

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  16. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the experiment DS, I'm interested in the final results.
    Or and sorry for your loss Joe!
  17. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Natural casings all the way.
  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    BUMMER! I can tell you all you needed to do was, "ADD MORE WATER".  LEM Customer Service .
  19. Since I have been taught properly, by Joe himself, my casings work much better. Leaving them soaking in the fridge is the way to go. They are always ready when you are.
  20. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    My casings, both the lamb & hog are from the sausagemaker. I was going to start this process today on all of them. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should do just one at a time. What do you think.


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