Tough casings

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by danbono, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All I hot smoked some home made sauageThey were nice and juicy but once again the natural hog casings were tough.What am I doing wrong.I let the sauage airdry for about 1 hr before smoking.Smoke at 250 for about 1 hr with apple wood.
    THanks Dan
  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What kind of sausage? Was it fresh sausage you just stuffed or were you trying to cook them on the smoker?
  3. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi The sausage was made by me.They were put on the smoker.

    Thanks Dan
  4. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Dan........I'm new to sausage making but I was told once that soaking the casings overnight would be a big help for tough casing. I'm not sure if this is the right answer but it does seem to make mine softer before I stuff them.

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dan, afternoon.....  Try smoking at 150 ish so the casings don't cook....   Add a small cup of water to the smoker, to keep the casings from drying out....  all you need is a little humidity to prevent that.....  after you have added enough smoke, try poaching in 160 ish degree water until final IT has been achieved....   I have re smoked, after the poach, to add more smoke also and that works for me....

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  6. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Dave Will give your suggestions a try next time. I was smoking a brisket and put the sausages in for a tatse. Next  time when the brisket is done and the temps get lower I will try your way.

    Thanks Dan
  7. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Dave I forgot to mention is was NO cure in the home made sausage.Would it be safe to cook/smoke at 150ish?

    Thanks Dan
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are comfortable with the time "out of the refer" to get up to an IT of 145 or so....  That low temp is to try and keep the casing "tender"....

    For things like Brats, I poach them first then smoke/grill.... poach in beer with onions, garlic etc in the beer...   they have no cure in them...  The poaching liquid should be about 150-160 ish....  

    As a side note....

    I have grilled burgers then put in the beer etc. poach to hold the burgers....   Sounds ugly but I'll tell you what.....    grilled burgers that have been poached in spiced up beer are good, very good.....  I have made believers out of the folks that would try it....  some wouldn't...   like folks that refuse to eat tongue....  they don't have a clue how good off the wall food can be....
  9. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMHO its the casings.....were they packed in salt. I always use casings packed in a salt solution by the manufacturer and the longer I handle them and re salt them in salt solution the tenderness diminishes....Through experience the fresher the casing the tender the sausage...
  10. I always soak the casing I very warm water for much longer than the directions calls for. Several hours works great. Leave the casings in the water and pull them out one at a time when stuffing. A little olive oil on the tube makes them easy to slide on. When cooking the sausage after the smoke simmer low and slow. A slow simmer also tenderizes the sausage when cooking....RTBBQ....[​IMG]
  11. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All The casings I used for the sausage were the tube kind. Can I still soak then for a long time?

    Thanks Dan
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've never used "tubed" casings....  but I imagine you can put them in a zip bag and soak, still on the tube of course....   Some folks add a few drops of vinegar to the water for what I don't know.....   bacteria control, acid for tenderizing the casing, to neutralize the odor....   I have NO idea....   worth checking into though....      

  13. Yup the acid in the vinegar helps tenderize by breaking down the protein in the casing - if you use too much or soak for too long they will get mushy & be prone to bursting when stuffing. Lemon/lime juice will do the same thing as will meat tenderizer (from the papain).

    I soak my casings in warm water for a few hours changing the water several times & when I untangle the casing give it a little "massage" as I put it on the stuffer tube. That works really good for me...
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jeremy, evening......  Would you mind setting up the camera and doing a video on "How to massage casings to make them tender" .....

    Sorry......  I had this picture in my head and had to erase it.....  [​IMG]  .....
  15. Ha!  [​IMG]   I'll try to document it when I make some more sausage again. It will be next week at the very latest - I have bacon, ribs, brisket & dried beef to get taken care of then I can make more sausage [​IMG]

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