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sausage casings
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Contributors to this thread:
Powder 25-Mar-21
WV Mountaineer 25-Mar-21
bentstick54 25-Mar-21
butcherboy 25-Mar-21
WV Mountaineer 25-Mar-21
milnrick 25-Mar-21
milnrick 25-Mar-21
butcherboy 25-Mar-21
midwest 25-Mar-21
Huntcell 25-Mar-21
LKH 25-Mar-21
Powder 25-Mar-21
butcherboy 25-Mar-21
butcherboy 25-Mar-21
Brotsky 26-Mar-21
Brotsky 26-Mar-21
midwest 26-Mar-21
Treeline 26-Mar-21
x-man 26-Mar-21
Shuteye 26-Mar-21
butcherboy 26-Mar-21
Fuzzy 27-Mar-21
Ok...Russ 02-Apr-21
WV Mountaineer 02-Apr-21
WV Mountaineer 02-Apr-21
WV Mountaineer 02-Apr-21
Bou'bound 03-Apr-21
Ok...Russ 05-Apr-21
bentstick54 05-Apr-21
Nick Muche 05-Apr-21
butcherboy 05-Apr-21
Bou'bound 06-Apr-21
Chief 419 09-Apr-21
WV Mountaineer 09-Apr-21
midwest 09-Apr-21
From: Powder
25-Mar-21
I've done a little brat making but not a lot. One reason I don't make more is that I've always felt the casings were too tough and it makes things chewy. My favorite store-bought brats are from Johnsonville. Is there any place to buy casings like that? They seem far less tough.

25-Mar-21
Yes. Any sausage supply store will have it. I buy mine online from the sausage maker. It’s hog casings. That’s what all brats are packaged in. Sounds like you used something different.

25-Mar-21
I have been stuffing my own for about 40 years now, and up until last season always used natural hog casings. It was always a mess and pain rinse them out before stuffing so last season I bought clear callogen casing. It was so much cleaner and easier to use that I will never go back to hog casing. Plus the hog casing has a tendency to curve back to its natural state when stuffed and the callogen will lay out straight. Much easier to package.

From: butcherboy
25-Mar-21
No, not all brats are packaged in hog casings. A lot are packaged in collagen casings. They are much easier to use and easier to store for long periods of time. What hog casings do is give the sausage a distinctive “bite, or snap” when you bite into it. They also don’t seem to break as often when cooking them. I prefer the collagen and use them for all my customer orders.

25-Mar-21
I learned something today. Thanks.

Let me rephrase that then. Every brat I’ve ever made was in hog casings. And, I see no reason to change.

From: milnrick
25-Mar-21
We're using collagen casings. We get ours from REM, the folks we bought our grinder from.

From: milnrick
25-Mar-21
Oops... grinder is an LEM

From: butcherboy
25-Mar-21
I buy mine directly from a casing company. Usually 25 casings per box and I buy about 4-6 boxes at a time. LEM, Walton’s, Bunzl/Koch, etc are good places to buy small quantities.

Nothing wrong with hog casings. I just prefer collagen for the simplicity, storage, cost, etc.

From: midwest
25-Mar-21
I'm guessing the store brands like Johnsonville are using collagen for the same reasons, Butcherboy?

From: Huntcell
25-Mar-21
Copied and pasted.

Natural Casings The natural casing's origin may have begun around 4,000BC where cooked meat was stuffed into the stomach of a goat, but today natural casings are made from the submucosa, a layer (which consists of naturally occurring collagen) of a farm animal's intestine. The intestines mainly come from pigs, cattle, goats, sheep, and sometimes a horse. This method of encasing sausage has been around for centuries—although machinery has replaced the need to clean the intestines by hand before use—and is the only form of casing that can be used in organic sausage production.

The benefits of the natural casing are flavor and visual appeal. Because the natural casing breathes, it results in a deeper flavor and richness in the sausage—the smoking and cooking flavors can permeate the casing and infuse the meat. Since the casings are all-natural, the sausages are very natural looking, being somewhat irregular in shape and size.

Synthetic Casings Artificial sausage casings can be made from materials such as collagen, cellulose, and plastic and may not always be edible. Collagen casings have been around the longest and are produced from animal collagen, mostly from the hides of cows and pigs. Sometimes the bones and tendons are included, and the casings can also be made from poultry and fish. An inexpensive choice, collagen casings are easier to use than natural casings as they provide better weight and size control of the sausage.

Cellulose casings are made of viscose, a material comprised of the cellulose from wood pulp or cotton linters (the fibers that cling to the cotton seeds after being separated from the cotton). These casings are strong and sheer, and permeable to smoke; they are peeled off after cooking. Plastic casings are not edible, and since they are impermeable, they are used for non-smoked, high-yield products.

Some artificial casings require soaking in hot tap water before use and need to be punctured with a knifepoint before stuffing to eliminate air pockets. The advantages of using synthetic casings are their strength and uniformity.

From: LKH
25-Mar-21
Year of using hog casings then I tried the collagen.

SUCKED

They are tough enough to make a rope and hang a deer carcass. They are o bad that I've taken to using a knife, splitting the side after cooking and peeling the collagen off.

Hog casings are more work but if you did a blind taste (chew) test the casings would win.

From: Powder
25-Mar-21
It's that distinctive 'snap' that I don't want. So if I'm understanding you correctly I should go with the collagen casings?

From: butcherboy
25-Mar-21
Lkh, are you sure they were collagen casings and not cellulose? Cellulose are really tough and you won’t be able to bite through them at all. I can break collagen casings extremely easily with my hands. They will easily break if you over stuff them as well. Collagen works really well for a uncooked sausage that you would cook later on a grill or frying pan.

From: butcherboy
25-Mar-21
Powder, if you don’t like the “snap” then I recommend using collagen casings. They will work as well if you are pre cooking or smoking them. You just don’t want to hang them in a smoker with too much hanging down or the weight of the sausage will break the casing during the smoking process.

From: Brotsky
26-Mar-21
I started making brats this year and used hog casings. They have been fantastic. Collagen is great for sticks but I think I will stick with the little extra effort for hog casings on brats. The “pretubed” kind or whatever they are called make working with them a lot easier.

From: Brotsky
26-Mar-21
I started making brats this year and used hog casings. They have been fantastic. Collagen is great for sticks but I think I will stick with the little extra effort for hog casings on brats. The “pretubed” kind or whatever they are called make working with them a lot easier.

From: midwest
26-Mar-21
That's the kind I bought last time, Brotsky. MUCH easier to work with.

From: Treeline
26-Mar-21
I prefer hog casings for brats or German links, sheep casings for buck sticks.

Sounds like you will want to use the collagen casings.

From: x-man
26-Mar-21
I get hog casings from the meat department of our local grocery store. Freshly cleaned and we only buy what we need. No storage needed. The taste is much better to me than the collagen casings.

I never trust a "straight" brat...

From: Shuteye
26-Mar-21
I was in a real Mexican restaurant, in Mexico, where there was no English on the menu. I told my Mexican friends to order for me. I got a quarter of BBQ baby goat and some sausage. I asked my friend what I was eating. He said, "I cannot tell you, Eduardo, you tell him. Eduardo said, "loosely translated it is goat guts." Actually is was sausage and was really good. The baby goat was really good too. They had told me in advance to never drink the water, drink only beer. They said bottled water was okay but never from a tap. They were very religious and some of the nicest people I ever worked with.

From: butcherboy
26-Mar-21
You do have to be somewhat careful with collagen casings. I’ve had some I bought in a pinch that were terrible. They had a weird smell and taste to them. Never bought from that company again.

From: Fuzzy
27-Mar-21
I prefer the hog casings too. To me that "snap" is part of what brats are

From: Ok...Russ
02-Apr-21
Butcherboy, would you have an idea why some hog casings leave a taste on the sausage/brat likening it to being old? No other way to describe the taste. I've cased brats and chorizo in natural hog casings where the meat mixture tastes great but the casing leaves a dry, 'old' taste. Could just be me too. I thought I was diligent in soaking and rinsing very well before using. I believe I bought from LEM via Bass Pro last time. I may order some from Walton's for a last try. I hate throwing stuff out but after it's cased and cooked then I don't enjoy them and end up giving away.

02-Apr-21
OK...Russ, I bought done a couple years ago from sausage maker. I’ve ordered since them every since then. Great hog casings and much better then those I used to. It from cabelas.

Give them a try. Like I said, they are in-house casing from the sausage maker I think.

02-Apr-21

WV Mountaineer's embedded Photo
WV Mountaineer's embedded Photo
OK...Russ, I bought done a couple years ago from sausage maker. I’ve ordered since them every since then. Great hog casings and much better then those I used to. It from cabelas.

Here’s what they look like.

Give them a try. Like I said, they are in-house casing from the sausage maker I think.

02-Apr-21

WV Mountaineer's embedded Photo
WV Mountaineer's embedded Photo
OK...Russ, I bought done a couple years ago from sausage maker. I’ve ordered since them every since then. Great hog casings and much better then those I used to. It from cabelas.

Here’s what they look like.

Give them a try. Like I said, they are in-house casing from the sausage maker I think.

From: Bou'bound
03-Apr-21
WVM x4

From: Ok...Russ
05-Apr-21
WVM must really like those casings! Thanks for the tip.

05-Apr-21
Grilled some of this years polish sausage made with clear callogen casings bought from a local Walton’s. Grilled up great, had no chew ability issues whatsoever. I was very impressed. As stated in my original post, I have used natural hog casings for 40 years. Always hated soaking, untangling, rinsing out, then cleaning up the mess. Then would always have blow outs when stuffing from weak spots in the casings. This was first year using clear callogen casings, and found them to be much easier to work with, and just as good of the grill. I stuff 25# batches at a time, and freeze raw. I do not smoke any. They are just for grilling. These compared very well to store bought Johnsonville brats. I had never used callogen casing before, so I asked for advise when I went to Walton’s and they told me which ones to buy.

From: Nick Muche
05-Apr-21
Been making my own brats for years, always used Collagen casings for the simplicity. Switched to hog casings this year and I don't think I'll be going back to collagen any time soon.

From: butcherboy
05-Apr-21
They each have their pros and cons. Definitely use clear casings if you use collagen. Not all hog casings are perfect either. If you use intestine casings and want smaller sausages then you can use sheep casings for that.

I make anywhere from 12# to hundreds of pounds at a time so collagen is quick, easy, and clean. I loop them in a lugger or freezer basket lined with plastic then run them through the linker. Package and freeze as a fresh sausage for the grill.

From: Bou'bound
06-Apr-21
WVM x4

From: Chief 419
09-Apr-21
I use hog casing that I buy from a seasoning supplier. They're tubed. It eliminates all of the tangling mess and makes it easy to load on the spout.

09-Apr-21
Bou’bound x3. lol

From: midwest
09-Apr-21
Cheif 419....same here. Cost a little more but WAY easier to deal with!

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