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Preferred Casings

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jimmyinsd, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. I am getting going in this whole sausage making deal and enjoying the hell out of it. I am curious though as to what people use for casings for their various products and why.

    so far I have decided that I am not a big fan of collagen for the larger fresh sausages like brats, and am not all that happy with it on breakfast links, I have switched to hog for the brats and am looking to order some sheep for next time I make bfast links. I used the collagen for smoked sausages when I made snack sticks and they are ok, a little on the chewy side, but I maybe should have let them dry down longer in the smoker, but I didnt want them to get tough. I am thinking on trying sheep casings on the snack sticks next time maybe?

    I am looking to do both polish sausage and ring bologna for my next two batches... any input would be appreciated on what is the preferred casing for those. I was looking at doing traditional beef rounds for the ring bologna, but maybe since we didnt eat those that the collagen would work fine? I am looking at using 32-34MM hog casing on the polish.

    the collagen I have used so far are from LEM, is there a better option out there? I was looking at trying some fresh casings from either Sausage Maker, Waltons, or Syracuse Casing company... any input there would be good as well.

    anyway any input as always is appreciated.
  2. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Meat Mopper

    Where did you buy your LEM casings from? I have found buying collagen casings from a sports store or other vs. directly from the manufacturer makes a big difference. You don’t know how long the casings have been hanging on the rack. I like the Sausage Maker and Walton’s collagen casings better then LEM, just my opinion. I have always bought my hog and sheep casings from the Sausage Maker but I may try Syracuse Casings next time as I have read some good things about them. One thing to consider when buying hog or sheep casings the home packs tend to be shorts. I buy my casings by the hank and they stay forever in your refrigerator with proper care.
    jimmyinsd likes this.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    chopsaw and jimmyinsd like this.
  4. I am not a fan of collagen casing either. I use hog casing, sheep casing, and beef middles.
  5. sporting goods stores.... its about all we have out here for stuff like that. I am going to order some from either sausage maker or waltons... who ever has the best deal on product and freight.
  6. i know I have had ring bologna with edible casing, but I have no idea if it was collagen or pork. pretty sure that would be the only 2 options in an edible casing in the 1.75" range wouldnt it?
  7. Ask you butcher, I'm sure he will sell you some casing...
  8. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I know I am not in your area. I Use hog for all our 1" stuff, lamb for sticks, brats, breakfast etc, and beef for all the big stuff, fibrous csgs for summer sausage. I get them from a butcher/restaurant supply store. CTR & Butchers and packers here is not as plentiful as they are down there, but they supply all the butcher and sausage making supplies needed.
  9. R Blum

    R Blum Fire Starter

    Same here. Hate collagen but I like the ease of using them.
  10. Once I learned the tricks to using real casings, loading them on the horn is a cinch! I can load a long 15~20ft. strand of real casing in less than 20 seconds.
  11. yep, well soaked/rinsed with a little water down the casing as you load them and they just about jump on the horn for ya.

    I think they are actually easier to work with myself than the collagen and I like that I can make links and they dont come untwisted. I havent tried sheep yet though, i have heard that are less forgiving than the hog.
  12. I personally like using the Sausage Maker 29-32 pretubed for my brats & other sausages.
  13. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I only use collagen for snack sticks. Sheep casings for breakfast sausage and hog for sausage.

    I’ve become a big fan of Butcher and Packer. Superb quality, especially compared to what’s available in the outdoors stores.
  14. I've only ever bought from local butchers. Very good casings....
  15. SmokinAl

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

    I get my casings from TheSausageMaker. But I also use this method to keep them in good shape.
    I can't remember the last time I had a blowout, the casings always slide out in one piece without getting all knotted up, and they have a nice snap to them when they are cooked. I haven't tried the beef , but I use 2 or 3 sizes of hog & sheep casing. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I have casings that are 6 or 7 years old & still are just perfect.
    If you make sausage this is a must read.
    jimmyinsd likes this.
  16. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Syracuse Casing Company - pre-tubed casings. They also have tubed sheep casings for snack sticks.

    Sticks are the only thing I use collagen for, and only fresh ones for that. The ones from LEM that come from the local Bass Pro, Academy Sports, Cabela's, etc... tend to have been siting on the shelf or in storage for a while and tend not to work as well as fresh collagen casings from someone like "The Sausage Maker" or other online suppliers who specialize in such products. Even collagen casings will dry out over time in storage. They still work, but it's not the same as fresh. You seem to have more casing separation with older or dry collagen. Doesn't hurt the meat or make the stick un-edible, but it just does not look as good.

    I also found a local butcher who uses the pre-tubed casings and will sell a single casing (about 7 pounds in 32mm size). It's a little more than if I buy them direct from Syracuse Casing, but in a pinch he has quality casings and I know they are fresh as he turns his stock over weekly due to the volume he is producing. So it might be worth calling around to see if a local butcher will sell casings (and 99% will probably have the pre-tubed casings). Also the butcher at your grocery store may sell small quantities of casings if you ask. When I buy from the butcher, I always purchase some other meat items along with a small order of a couple of tubed hog casings.

    Oh, and properly packed in salt a natural casing will keep pretty much forever in a fridge. Unless the casing is funky or slimy, it's fine. You can't really tell by a smell as being what they are, casings have a smell to them anyway (even the higher quality ones have some slight smell prior to final wash and flush). Proper salt packing is the key.
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