Natural Beef Casings
Beef Casings can be a little confusing due to the varied types of casings available; Beef Rounds, Middles, and Bung. It is not the prettiest terminology, but that is the world of sausage making! These animals don’t just provide us with their meat, we use the hides for leather products, fat (or ‘tallow’) for soaps, candles and lubricants, bones are ground for fertilizers and bone-meal for animal feed, and the intestines, and stomachs are used for casings. Beef Casings vary the greatest from its smallest diameter 1 3/8” (35-38mm) Beef Rounds, to the large 5” (114-127mm) Beef Bung.
These can be a bit confusing, so let’s get into it.
Beef Rounds (sometimes called “Runners”) have a wide variety of uses, but are some of the most distinctive and unique casings you will come across. Beef Rounds have a natural, defined curve to them, allowing them to curl into a ring while stuffing. These casings are perfect for large loops, and do not make a good rope (think salami) or linked sausages.
35-38mm, 38-40mm, 40-43mm, and 43-46mm Beef Rounds are all used to make ring bologna, boudin,
blood sausage, liver sausage, ring polish sausage, and more!
A fairly thick walled casing that is perfect for making sopressatta, bologna, or can be used for making consistently sized straight-tubed sausages like salamis. These are the most common casings used for dry curing because they are resilient to stuffing pressure, they’re the most common salami diameters, and they adhere and shrink with sausage as it dries over time.
The most unfortunate, misleading name for a casing, the “Bung” is not the final stretch of intestines. Actually it is more closely related to an appendix. They also have a capped-end, meaning one end is naturally closed, like a tube-sock. Fun and Gross Fact: Rytek Kutas, founder of The Sausage Maker and author of “Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing”, used to blow them up like a balloon to stretch them prior to stuffing to make a larger final product and test the integrity/quality of the casing (not recommended!). They’re great for making large diameter sausages and salamis such as capicola, veal sausage, bologna, and cooked salami.
89-102mm, 102-114mm, 114-127mm
IMPORTANT: Beef Casings tend to be more dense and unpleasant to chew. They are typically pealed after cooking and for that reason are considered NOT edible. Casings should be flushed inside and out with cold water, rinsed thoroughly and soaked in water for at least 2-3 hours before use.