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Ref; Casing tricks! Help!!

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by TomKnollRFV, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Alright, so I got a LEM 32mm collagen casing with the stuffer <I got it today> and did hot dog meat in them. <In retrospect, this might not have been a brilliant idea, but well. I always hated super little hot dogs that shrivel to nothing>.

    Now I ran the casing onto my nozzle, tied off one end..begin the cranking. Pop a wee hole into the end to let the air out with a tooth pick.

    Continue stuffing, that was fine, no major air pockets, nothing like that. I finish the run, tie off the other end. Begin twisting...well the part I popped a hole in, that just sort of exploded and I had to give up on it. <It ripped open like much wider>. Cut it off, put aside, then had to retie the end with my butcher string.

    Now I saw disco does this thing where he rolls them all out, and cuts the casing. I didn't succeed at all on this. Stuff would leak out the area I cut etc.

    So whats the trick here? I got about 7 feet of stuffed collagen 32mm casing in my fridge now, I sort of just twisted and looped it, so at least it's not going to unravel on me <Had that happen during the twisting too..forgot to do opposite directions to keep the twist. Dumb me>

    So if some one can tell me how I do this so I can cut the links after stuffing..or some thing. I'm worried about fitting this all in my smoker in one segment or some thing. That or some how I smoke these and then I'll cut and still splurt all over some how LOL!
  2. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you stuffed them pretty tight ? Should leave some room . Try to pinch gently , don't twist ,,, to the length you want . Work from one end to the other . Take your time . Let any " over stuff " come out the end . I only use those for sticks , and I tie them with butchers twine .
  3. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Cant twist them. I just tie them off with butcher twine.
  4. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    So if I do the butcher twine thing <I sort of did that, I just figured I could be all proper butcher here with long strings of beautiful sausage>. I assume after smoking them to safe IT...I can take off the twine and it'll stay in right?

    Also yah I did them pretty full I guess. I suppose in time I'll get the needed practice.
  5. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    yeah once the meat is cooked just cut them apart .
  6. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I'll try this with the hot links.......and these 32mm casings are bigger then the bratwursts I'm used to. Normally when I do hot dogs or brats on the grill I plan 2 for person..these I believe 1 is all I need lol
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My first go with collagen casing.... I used a needle and let out the air... The casings ripped at every air hole I poked... I had some small sticks for sure...
    Anywho, when starting the first link.... crank the stuffer to fill the tube... THEN put the casing on, or tie the end if it's on..... no air in the end....
    As far as linking goes, if you have massaged the meat well, and it has become "sticky" from the proteins doing what they do, all you have to do is squeeze the casing while a bit of meat is in it, then leave it alone.. The meat proteins will "glue" the casing where you gave it a squeeze... I like to squeeze about a 1 - 1 1/2" wide spot... then when the meat dries and all is stuck together... (take awhile, don't hurry it) when you cut the flattened part, you've got about a 1/2-3/4" tail... Some collagen are not strong enough to hang.... So if your casings break, that may be the reason...
    Walton's sells several different collagen casings... they have U-tube videos about all their stuff... the Video on collagen casings is worth the look... I like their collagen casings... that's what I use....


  8. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I can't believe I didn't think of filling the tube first. A simple step as it were and I didn't think of it, that would have helped. I might have also over filled. I just wanted to do it all fancy and easy. These are LEM Casings, those are decent quality correct?
  9. I havent had great luck with LEM casings. They are ok, but I prefer to work with natural casing as they are much easier to link IMO, and give a better end result. I would say if you are going to buy collagen that you might want to stay with the major sausage suppliers for that product.
  10. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the world of learning how to make sausage! :D

    I've never done collagen before (only natural cases) so I can't help on that end.
    In sausage stuffing like you are doing I have found it easier to simply stuff the entire casing and then do the linking afterwards.
    Don't over stuff in either case of linking as you go or linking after the whole case is stuffed! I actually like to somewhat loosely stuff my casings. This does two things:
    1. allows for easy no breakage/busting while linking
    2. allows for sausages to plump up WITHOUT exploding the casing splitting while cooking on the grill or on the stove
    The only con to using somewhat loosely stuffed casings is when you smoke cook the sausage to be ready to eat. They don't plump up and you get some fantastic tasting but less visually appealing sausages. Most people don't even notice but you wouldn't want to enter them into a judged competition since they would be sub-par on the visual.

    If I know I'm going to smoke the sausages I do a slight loose stuffing and then during linking I tighten links up to be a firmer but not super tight to where they may break or bust in the process.

    Here is an example of somewhat loosely stuffed sausages I smoked to be ready to eat, you can see the less than perfect shape. These fully cooked will plump up a little on he grill but not so well in the microwave:

    Here is an example of slightly loosely stuffed sausage (franks/hot dogs) that I tightened up during linking and then smoked, much better shape!
  11. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Well odd shapes don't bother me..

    I plan to order some smaller casings off Sausage Maker- are 26mms or so easier to work with? <I just don't want half pound hot dogs LOL>
  12. If you look into the casing size options and then use a metric to standard conversion you should be able to come up with what you think are the appropriate sized sausage.
  13. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think the hog casings start at 29 mm . I believe sausage maker notes the standard diameter also . I just bought 29 to 32 mm .
  14. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Sausage Maker has all sizes. I just figured if I go a smaller size I won't have things that Godzilla would eat. <These things are big for bratwurst too.>

    Seriously huge lol.
  15. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So you are buying collagen or natural?
  16. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Collagen is what I'm sticking with for now. Though I might buy some of their plastic hotdog casings. Which I assume you smoke then peel off.


    It's a bit away before I order any thing to be fair though. Gonna wait till I got alot of stuff to get the free shipping.
  17. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just wondering why not natural casings? Sheep casing give that perfect snap when bite through and don't need all that tying. The only difference between a "stick" casing and a Hot Dog using a natural casing, is the amount of time its relaxed in water prior to stuffing. Below is my natural breakfast links (I know I like 'em big). Had I felt then in the water in the reefer for another day I could have stuffed fuller. AND at that point if I had dryed the casing (not necessarily by smoking but I bet it would be good), the casing would no longer shrink. OR that has been my experience.


    You can also buy the next size larger natural that you see here and make even larger Dogs!



    I have not tried hot dogs since the <spits toward the ground and grimaces> mace incident. Plus I actually like store bought....LOL

    I may be wrong but its what my boudin experience tends to make me believe. If I am off base, I apologize for butting in, but my boudin doesn't shrivel nor my breakfast links as long as I adequately dry them. Cold smoke 'em without smoke......LOL
  18. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Well Foamy, largely because I'm not sure how much I'll be doing, and I know natural casings have a shelf life. Also I was told collagen are much easier to put on a stuffer etc.

    I figured using natural casings is the next step up if I end up doing sausage more then once once every other month. <I mean I don't really consider summer sausage any thing in this category. I'm shooting the mix into a giant bag basically. Not exactly hard to do!>
  19. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My natural casing last a year after opening.......

    Then I replace any left and buy all new. But other than a bung I have never had one go bad.

    I usually buy fresh in the fall, but was all screwed up this last year. I am about to reorder soon. I keep in the reefer a pack of 46MM+, 32/35MM, and some 19/20MM sheep. Andouille, Cajun sausage/boudin/kielbasa/fresh/chaurice, and stix/breakfast links

    I have hear all the horror stories about loading the tubes especially with those 19/20's. I have had trouble a couple of times in the beginning but Boyko and experience have pretty much won out. I probably have had only 2 problem casings in 3 years. When I get tired of screwing with it and throw one away, its amazing how easy that next one is.

    I keep swearing I am going to try the pre-tubed that Pop swears about but I always forget.

    I will admit thought, if I was going to make 1000's of hotdogs I wouldn't be using those expensive sheep casing....LOL
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  20. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I was reading you gotta keep them in the fridge. We have almost no fridge space before I start doing projects. I plan to get a mini fridge eventually or some thing for these sausage projects. I'm only doing a few pounds so a decent mini fridge would work just fine.

    Also lets just say when I meant natural casings, certain house hold members freak out. They even try to remove the collagen casing if they think some how, it's remotely the same. I have to trim carefully around the stuff I serve them so they don't realize that it's cased. Childish and immature, I know..but well. Easier to avoid the whole situation right now till they grow up about the subject.

    <The funny thing is they grew up eating home made venison sausage etc and I bet they ate natural casings their entire childhood with out realizing it. My grandpa was a do it your selfer and all. I bet he even used deer guts for his casings>