Sausage casings are an essential part of making sausage. After all, a sausage isn't a sausage without something to stuff it in. But they're also important in ensuring your end product is flavorful, processed evenly, and has great texture. The type of casing used is typically dictated by tradition but also varies by processing technique, ingredients, and size. Most sausage casings are natural, collagen or fibrous, with a wide array of sizes and applications.
Natural sausage casings are made from the submucosa of the small intestine, a layer of the intestine that consists of naturally occurring collagen. Natural casings have been used for centuries and are still the most popular choice today because of the “snap” they make when bitten. 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.
Hog casings are the traditional choice when making any type of link sausage like bratwurst, Italians, kielbasa and many more.
|29-32 mm||Small Brats • Link Sausage • Landjaeger|
|32-35 mm||Brats • Italian Sausage • Rope Sausage|
|35-38 mm||Polish • Kielbasa|
The smaller diameter of sheep casings makes the perfect for making small link sausages like breakfast sausage and hot dogs, to snack sticks.
|20-22 mm||Breakfast Sausage • Small Snack Sticks|
|22-24 mm||Breakfast Sausage • Snack Sticks|
|24-26 mm||Small Hot Dog • Wiener|
|26-28 mm||Large Hot Dog • Wiener • Landjaeger|
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 are straight long casings that 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.
Collagen casings are processed, edible casings produced from the collagen in cow or pig hides, bones, and tendons. While they don't give much of a snap, they’re 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 come in two varieties based on processing:
As the name implies, 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.
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).
|19 mm||Smoke||Mahogany||Small Snack Sticks|
|21 mm||Fresh||Clear||Small Breakfast Sausages|
|21 mm||Smoke||Clear or Mahogany||Snack Sticks|
|23 mm||Smoke||Clear||Large Snack Sticks • Small Pepperoni|
|26 mm||Smoke||Clear||Hot Dogs • Wieners|
|30 mm||Fresh||Clear||Brats • Link Sausage|
|40 mm||Smoke||Clear||Ring Bologna • Liver Sausage • Kielbasa|
|43 mm||Smoke||Clear||Ring Bologna • Liver Sausage • Kielbasa|
Fibrous casings are inedible casings made from a form of cellulose material that peels away easily when cooked. They’re 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 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.
|1"||Thuringer • Pepperoni • Salami • Cracker-Sized Sausages|
|2-2.5"||Traditional Summer Sausage|
|4"||Large Summer Sausage • Hard Salami|
|8"||Olive & Pimento Loaf • Mortadella • Deli & Sandwich Meats|