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Sheep and Hog Casings

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How do I clean sheep and hog casings?

First, unravel all of the casings and set them in stacks.

Partially fill your sink with water. Choose a container large enough to hold one bundle of casings, place it in the sink and fill it halfway with water.

Taking one casing at a time, flush each casing clean. Open one end of the casing and run a moderate flow of water from the sink into the casing. The water will flush out the other end.

When flushing a salted casing, allow for 12-18 inches of water to fill the casing before allowing it flush out the other end.

After the casing is completely flushed, remove all air and water from the prepared casing and place into the container. Hang one end of the casing over the edge for storage and to prevent the casings from tangling with eachother.

Laura Cogdill: How do you end each sausage link and begin another one? Are they tied, clamped or just twisted?

        The Sausage Maker: The linking process varies depending upon which type of casings you're using. When using natural casings, you will fill the casing with the sausage meat. Then pinch the sausage in the places where you want to have each link begin and end. Hold one pinched area in each hand, leaving one pinched spot in the middle. Then twist to form the link. You will now have two links.

However, when using collagen casings, you can pinch the casing and leave the sausages linked together. You cannot twist these casings or they will break. You can also pink each link and cut through the casing to separate each link. You would then tie the link with butcher twine. It is important to remember that you can't hang these linked sausages. They must be laid flat to store and cook or they will burst.

Synthetic casings must be cut and tied to make links. You can use either twine or the hog rings or clark clips to close the ends. Some synthetic casings come with one end already tied. In this case you would close the open end to make each link of sausage the size you desire.

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Mark Alderdice: Can you freeze fresh sausage casings, and if so for how long?

        The Sausage Maker: Collagen and natural casings cannot be frozen. If packed liberally in non-iodized salt, Hog and Sheep casings can be refrigerated indefinitely. Collagen casings cannot be freezed or they will break.

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Skander Kechau: I am looking for Halal Lamb casings to produce Halal Sausage. Do you know where to find them? I can also work with Kosher certified Lamb Casings.

       Ahmad: I found this website that sells Halal Sheep Casings: www.sausagemaking.org.
Note from The Sausage Maker: The above website is from the United Kingdom. Before placing an order to be shipped into the United States, make sure that this type of product can be shipped into the US. For example, we cannot ship natural casings into Canada. Also, our collagen casings are Certified Kosher and are very similar to natural casings. This may be a viable substitute.

        Jim: I spoke to a friend who only buys Halal prepared meats. He travels to larger cities that have Halal Meat Markets. Halal meat products are from allowed animals prepared to retain very little blood.

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