1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

questions on casings

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by dalton, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    I am new to sausage making but want to try some basic hot dogs or brats.  i have a few recipies to choose from but have never bought casing before.  my question is what should I expect to pay and what types and sizes are best recomemded for this applicaiton.  I looked around and the prices vary widely from 25 or 30 cents a pound to as much as $1 per pound. 

    for hot dogs or brats should I use collegen casings or the "natural" ones.  (i know collegen ones are made from natural materiel) 

    thanks for the help
  2. Hey dalton!

    My personal preference is to use collagen instead of natural casings.  I find that it is easier and much simpler to work with collagen.  

    For hot dogs I use a 26mm Clear Collagen and for brats I use a 30mm Fresh Collagen.  (just for reference, if you are smoking a product such as hot dogs, smoked sausage, etc. you want to use a 'Clear' or 'Smoked' Collagen casing and for fresh sausage such as bratwurst or italian sausage you should use a 'Fresh' Collagen casing.  This is because the 'clear' and 'smoked' are a bit stronger and they can withstand hanging in a smokehouse because the cook cycle makes the casings very brittle.)

    As for pricing, the company I work for sells a variety of casings.  Click Here to go to the casings page.   I believe the pricing is very competitive, but I'll let you check it out and determine for yourself.

    Lastly, just to note about natural casings, using natural casings will give you that nice curve to a bratwurst like you are used to from store-bought sausage, but since I don't care about the curve, I just use collagen for sausage.  I think the the end product also fits on the bun better too when using collagen instead of natural casings.

    Good Luck and happy sausage making!!
  3. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Interesting take on the subject Midwest. I do love the easy of collagen's but when makin links I like to be able to twist them and be done with them. With a collagen you have to tie it or cut them to length, then they look like a cheap cigar...But to each there own. thats what I love about this hobby


    EDIT: I followed Midwesterns link and noticed they have 16mm collagens, I'll be ordering some of them soon. Up till now 19's were the smallest I could find. I see slim jims in my future. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. I forgot about that Dan, you make a good point.  Collagen's major downside could definitely be the linking.  I either tie it to hang or cut to length like you said and then lay on racks to smoke.  Definitely brings the collagen vs. natural back to an even playing field, but I do still prefer collagen.  Like you said, to each there own.
  5. Do those 16 mm fit over a 3/8 tube?
  6. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    $.02 ...

    I use natural Hog Casings for bratwurst and emulsified sausage (frankfurters)  I prefer to get them liquid-pack, right from my butcher. I do enough business with him that five-or-ten feet of casing is often gratis when I pick up my pork or beef order.  Barring that, I can buy 50 feet of salt pack for about $6 from him. (I like to keep them around in the summertime for random acts of brats.)

    Naturals need rinsed (and soaked if saltpack) and carefully watched for holes. They can be twisted and snipped, have that nice curve, and nothing *bites* like natural.  If I ever served my 90 year old Polish Dzia-Dzia his kielbasa in anything but naturals, he would disown me. [​IMG]

    I use fibrous casings for my Summer Sausage, get them from Cabela's for about $20 (to do 50 lb of sausage)  They need to be soaked for at least 30 minutes and come tied on one end, the other end must be closed, either with string, hog rings or zip ties.  They are not edible and need to be peeled.

    Collagens are NOT soaked, used dry. Cannot be twisted, must be snipped (risk losing filling) or tied (time consuming). Easy and cheap for brekkie sausage and as they need no soaking and have no special storage requirements, are handy to keep on hand for when you are big on meat and low on time. Sheep casings (the skinny naturals) are too spendy for me to use on something as basic as brekkie sausage.

    Feel free to click some of my sig line links to see casings in action! ;) LOL

    Cheers and  LUCK!!

  7. Quote:
    We do recommend using at least a 3/8" or smaller stuffing tube for 16mm casings.  We have actually just recently began offering the 16mm in the smaller 3-pack size instead of only the larger 50 count caddie at the request of some customers some actually from SMF.  We hadn't offered them in the 3-pack because many home processors using a hand crank stuffer can have difficulty stuffing into such a small casing size.  So, I do have to give a disclaimer saying that stuffing can be difficult, but if you have used a 3/8" stuffing tube or smaller before, you should be able to use the 16mm casings.

    If anyone does try using the 16mm casings that we sell, I would appreciate any feedback on your experience with the casings.  We have sold quite a few so far without any issues, so I would assume that they have been working out well for everyone so far.
  8. retread

    retread Meat Mopper

    I use natural hog casings, too.  One of my local grocery chains sells salted ones stored in bags and I get several runs out of em before I throw the rest away.  As far as what size tube, the only thing I can tell you is that I use the larger one in the Kitchen Aid stuffer set
  9. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I have not used MidWesterns 16mm collagens.

    But... I got a friend who used another companies tiny/skinny collagens for snacksticks. It could have been the recipie, but the expected normal shrink shrank too much and they looked really really weird. (This being a family friendly forum, I will not share with you what WE thought they looked like!!) LOL

    Tasted fine! We ended up snipping them into Tootsie Roll sized snack bites (kept em fridged, ate em fast) and really, they FELL OUT of the skins.

    I have never done snack sticks for just this reason. I do not want to blow the time and effort to have a product that I'd be embarrassed to serve. So, here's what I am really asking:

    When you do them, please post lots of experience and pics?

    If you have an awesome snack stick recipe, please share?

    And then tag me when you do, so I don't miss it?

    I have this freezer full of Bambi that needs wrangled. Would love to Snack Stick some of it.

    Thanks so much!!!
  10. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    If they are still packed in the salt (and you've only been pulling out as much as you need and resealing) what would make you throw the rest away? I've never had a packet last very long (fresh kielbasa keeps very nicely in the freezer) so i would not personally know.  Is there a food safety concern?
  11. uncle_lar

    uncle_lar Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I use them all.

    snack stick and breakfast links get collagen casings

    brats, polish kilbasa, italian , cajun, or any of my other fresh type sausage I use natural hog casings

    my salami  and summer sausage get the fibrose  non edible casings.

    everyone's prefrences  are different but I think each type casing has its place.
  12. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    thanks for all the personal preference info folks!!   since I am new to the whole sausage thing all information is good!

    keep it coming!

    princess...   have you tried bear's recipie for unstuffed snack sticks?  as soon as I have my home built smoker up and running (hopefully this weekend) that is one of the first recipies I am going to try!  I read in his post for the snack sticks that someone had tried making them with a jerkey gun instead of rolling them up in plastic to form them.  I think that is how I am going to try it. 
  13. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Nope, but I would!!  I am eager to see someone use super skinny collagens succesfully first though. My racks are wide, so I need the casings to hang on racks.

  14. dalton

    dalton Smoke Blower

    here is a nother question...   when using collegen casings for snack sticks for example, can you stuff them and cut them into stick size and leave the ends open?  or do you have to tie them up?

    when working with hog casings for brats etc do you stuff the casing and then twist into links, or do you stuff a little twist and cut it off and do the next one?  how does the twist stay closed? 

    sorry to ask what might be simple stupid questions but want to make sure I am prepared!  

    princess...   I have pretty wide spacing on my racks too so I went to walmart and bought some cookie drying racks and use those ontop of my racks when I have things that need tighter spaced racks.  I make bunny jerky often and I cut it into bite size pieces and the cookie drying racks work great for that!  I imagine that it would work for the unstuffed sticks as well!  I have also considered covering a couple racks with alluminium window screen but I thought that might be hard to clean? 
  15. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     With natural casings, stuff and twist into links, then let them set in the refrig for 12-24 hours and the shape will set and you can cut them and use them with little chance the meat will blow out
  16. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I only tie the collagens when it matters. Fresh unsmoked brekkie sausage? Nah... Not gonna bother. Just tray them and freeze or use.

    I have used the plastic bags for forming sliced brekkie patties as well. Should have mentioned that earlier, I suppose...

    Anything I plan to hang? MUST be tied or I guess it would all slide out!!

    For hogs, DanMcG is very right: twist them (once around is fine), chill them uncovered (I find an hour or two is usually sufficient), and snip with sharp scissors or a wicked sharp knife. They will stay shut long enough to grill or freeze. See my link below (Green Bay Packer Brats) for more details on fresh hog casing sausage.