Ultimate Sausage Casings Guide

They key for having the perfect sausage is not only on the ingredients or in the process. There is also a very important thing called “casing” and it is what keeps the stuffing together for you to enjoy. After all, a sausage is not a sausage without something to stuff it in. But of course, they are not only meant for compacting the ingredients and keeping them together, but they’re also responsible for ensuring a flavorful and great textured sausage, and in that, depends the type of casing that you use or the processing technique applied (yes, there are many types of Sausage Casings and many ways to fill them) Welcome to the Ultimate Sausage Casings Guide with The Artisan’s Bottega: Natural Casings Natural sausage casings are made from the submucosa of the small intestine, a layer of the intestine that consists of naturally occurring collagen. They have been used for a very long time and are still the most popular choice today because they’re also flexible, tender, easy to stuff, and are durable enough to hold up to smokehouse processing. Your natural casings will come either packed in salt or a saline solution. Casings packed in salt must be flushed then soaked overnight before stuffing. Pre-flushed casings are ready to stuff after a 20-minute soak in warm water. Both can be repacked in salt and stored in the freezer for up to a year. TAB Tip: Natural sausage casing are from the intestines or stomachs of various animals and is permeable to air and outside flavourings while also being very strong and edible. However, as you are imagining, there are many types of natural casings, depending on the animal they are extracted from. Grab pen and paper and get ready to learn all about them
  • Hog Casings: they are made from the intestines of pigs and they provide a very meaty flavour to sausages. They are also the traditional choice when making any type of link sausage like bratwurst, Italians, kielbasa and many more.
  • Sheep casings: They tend to be smaller than the other types of natural casings and are used for small or thin sausages. The smaller diameter of sheep casings makes the perfect for making small link sausages like breakfast sausage and hot dogs, to snack sticks.
  • Beef rounds or casings: These are very durable, can be very large and can be used for a variety of large sausages or salamis. Beef rounds get their name from their characteristic round shape. They have minimal fat and are ideal for fresh, cooked or smoked sausage such as Ring Bologna, Polish, Mettwurst, Holsteiner, and Blood Sausage.
  • Beef middles: These straight long casings have a heavier texture wall with some fat. These casings are ideal for dry and semi-dry sausages like Salami, Liverwurst, Bologna, or Summer sausage.
  • Beef bung caps: Made from the end of a cow’s large intestine, beef bungs are large-diameter casings that are typically used for large bologna, headcheese, souse, capicola, and mortadella.
Now that we have discovered the variety of natural casings, we’re ready to move onto the artificial sausage casings, that can be made from collagen, cellulose, cotton or plastic and are generally not edible or as flexible as a natural casing but are much more cost effective and consistent in size and quality. Collagen Casings Collagen casings are processed, edible casings produced from the collagen in cow or pig hides, bones, and tendons. While they do not give much of a snap, they are inexpensive and give more uniformity in weight and size compared to their natural counterparts. Collagen casings are packaged in sheets around a tube that can easily be loaded on your stuffing horn, with no soaking required. They also come in two varieties based on processing:
  • Fresh: fresh collagen casings are used specifically for fresh sausages like bratwurst and breakfast links. These tend to be more tender casings that are unable to withstand hanging in a smokehouse.
  • Smoke: smoked or processed collagen casings are great for making any type of smoked sausages like snack sticks or wieners. Their durability holds up well when hung on smoke sticks during processing and are available in clear and mahogany colors (no taste variation).
Fibrous Casings Fibrous casings are inedible casings made from a form of cellulose material that peels away easily when cooked. They are most commonly used for making pepperonis, summer sausage, bologna, liverwurst, and other fine smoked sausages. Their durability allows tight stuffing, making them ideal for fine or emulsified sausages. Fibrous casings can be made from different types of fibers and are very strong; a lining of proteins inside the casing also gives them the ability to shrink as a sausage dries. Fibrous casings should be soaked for at least 25-30 minutes in warm water (80-100 F). Lay the casings flat in warm water and submerge completely, with the tied ends lower so that any trapped air can escape. After soaking, squeeze excess water out before stuffing. Alternative Casings If you do not have access to natural or artificial casings, or just do not want to use them but still want to make sausage links, you can make casings from strips of muslin. To form casings about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, cut strips about 6 inches wide and 16 inches long. Fold lengthwise and stitch edges together to form tubes. There is also vegan style casings.This vegan Sausage Casings are suitable for you DIY sausage making. If you do not use casings at all, you can still form links by rolling up the mixture in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerating until firm. You will need to add a binder (breadcrumbs, soy protein concentrate, etc.) to the sausage mix, normally 5% to 10% of the mix, to keep the meat from separating during cooking. After all of this information, you might be wondering: what is the best type of casing for the sausage I have in mind. Well, we have made it easy for you with this guide for choosing the perfect casing:
Length Usage Length Usage Length Usage
29-32 mm Small Brats, Link Sausage or Landjaeger 20-22 mm Breakfast Sausage or Small Snack Sticks 1" Thuringer, Pepperoni, Salami, Cracker-Sized Sausages
32-35 mm Brats • Italian Sausage • Rope Sausage 22-24 mm Breakfast Sausage or Snack Sticks 2-2 .5" Traditional Summer Sausage
35-38 mm Polish • Kielbasa 24-26 mm Small Hot Dog or Wiener 4" Large Summer Sausage or Hard Salami
38-42 mm Bologna 26-28 mm Large Hot Dog , Wiener or Landjaeger 8" Olive & Pimento Loaf, Mortadella, Deli & Sandwich Meats
And don’t worry if you don’t know how much meat should you use per type of casing, because we have the ultimate guide for you to answer this question easily. If you want, you can download this following image on your computer or smartphone and recheck it anytime: Thank you for reading our articles and allowing us to share our artisan expertise with you. If you happen to follow our tutorials for wine making or if you share this information with your friends and family, do not forget to tag us on our socials @artisans.bottega sharing your pictures! We love checking up on our Artisans Family.

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