Sausage Casings 101

If you’re making sausage, you’ll need casings. Why not buy from The Sausage Maker? They’re available from other websites and some places for cheaper. That’s true, but we’re not talking about a pair of socks here folks, the sausage casing is going to impact the texture, appearance, and flavor of your finished product. And why put the effort into making sausage from scratch, only to skimp on such a vital component?

A premium casing not only provides the distinctive ‘snap’ in each bite, and texture to your sausage, it also provides translucency to show the quality of the ingredients inside it, a good casing dries uniformly when smoking so there is more consistent, vibrant smoked appearance, and finally a good casing will make the sausage making process much smoother because it’ll have proper tensile strength for firm stuffing—other honorable mentions.

Color

Some places dye their poor-quality Asian casings white to mask the original yellow tint which is of lesser quality. Ours are North American casings, about 95% of the time a USA source, rarely but sometimes Canadian, which is fantastic as well are a solid backup source.

Whiskers

While they are common to form on the outside, we prefer our casings to have minimal whiskers, and that’s how we order them. They are ‘pulled’ by two common methods. Machine-pulled, passing through metal blades that will often pull too more material than necessary, leaving less material for durability and causing pin-holes which will cause constant bursts during stuffing. Or  “hand-pulled”, which are also de-whiskered with blades/knives, but done by professionals, methodically and carefully to retain the highest quality.

Grading

The grade of natural casings comes down to all the factors above, among others that INSCA (International Natural Sausage Casing Association) defines. Our natural casings are all Grade A, which means fewer pinholes, more durable material, better appearance, and everything else from above. Ask your supplier what grade are you buying. We are proud to have the highest standard available to our customers.

Biggest selection of the Highest Quality Natural Casings, sold in Butcher-packs, Pre-Tubed varieties for faster and easier stuffing, Collagen (strand and flat), Fibrous, EZ Peelable Cellulose (for skinless sausage), Smokeable Plastic, and even Vegetable-based.

For Natural Casings, we carry primarily American Hog, New Zealander Sheep, and Brazilian Beef. We will always strive to bring you the best quality products we can, and that is especially true if you are going to be sharing them with your family, friends, or customers. We also offer Premium Mahogany, Smoked or Fresh Collagen, Flat and pre-tied Collagen and Fibrous, extra durable Salami Casings, and even a Deer-Print collagen casing for Venison Summer Sausage.

Sausage casings are an essential part of making sausage and it’s important to have a high-quality casing. A premium casing is 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 naturalcollagen, or fibrous, with a wide array of sizes and applications depending on the type of sausage. Sausages can also be made with cellulose, plastic, and vegetarian. 

Natural

Natural animal casings are made from the inner mucosa lining of the small intestine. These casings can be from hog, beef, and sheep. Strict food safety standards mean you shouldn’t worry about getting sick from the casing. The benefit of natural casings is the flavor and texture they provide.

Collagen

Collagen casings are processed, edible sausage casings produced from the collagen in cow or pig hides, bones, and tendons. These casings come in edible and non-edible versions. 

Cellulose

These casings are manufactured from a straight-chain polysaccharide found as the primary component of wood, straw, and cotton. These casings are non-edible and are to be peeled off before eating.

Fibrous

Fibrous casings are non-edible sausage casings made from a form of cellulose material that peels away easily when cooked. Fibrous casings 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. There are two main kinds of fibrous sausage casings — clear and mahogany. You can also get them printed with a design. The benefit of a mahogany casing is you’ll get a consistent color when you are smoking the sausage.

Plastic

Plastic casings are typically used for hot dogs. This casing is non-edible. Plastic casings come in various sizes to stuff anything from larger bologna to smaller sausages like beef sticks.

Vegetarian

Most vegetarian sausage casings are made of combinations of water, vegetable glycerin, sugars, and starches. Water-soluble polysaccharide casings are one option that closely mimics the carbohydrate cellulose, which is sometimes used in sausage production. Casings are edible.

Are you unsure about what casing is best for your recipe? Contact us today so we can match you to the right product. Are the websites that offer the cheapest bottom-barrel prices offering to talk casings with you? If so, great! Call them, then call us. We’ll be here.