|Stuff Collagen Casings|
1. Have your individual stuffing apparatus set up and ready to go. Then attach the appropriate sausage spout.
2. Combine the meat and ingredients in a mixing bowl or tub according to recipe directions; mix/knead well.x
3. Fill the hopper with the freshly mixed batter, pack it tight to eliminate potential air bubbles in the casing.
4. If your sausage spout is tapered or less than 10” (25cm), you will need to cut the casing into halves or thirds.
5. Slide the casing onto the sausage spout, leaving at least one inch dangling at the end of the tube.x
6. Close the end of the casing as you begin to hand crank the freshly mixed batter through the system.
7. Apply a bit of pressure with your forefinger and thumb as the casing unravels and fills with meat.
8. Collagen casings do not stretch as much as their natural counterparts and will rupture if filled too tightly.
9. To form the first link, squeeze the casing together with your forefinger and thumb as shown in the adjoining photo.
10. Cradle the end of the casing in the palm of your hand; twist clockwise three or four turns.
11. Twist the next link, counterclockwise three or four turns, then clockwise three or four turns.
12. To prevent collagen casings from unwinding in the smokehouse, hang on smoke sticks or tie with twine.
sausage casings were derived from scrubbed animal intestines, mostly
cattle and pigs. In the 1920’s amid a new- found popularity for all
manner of sausage products, animal casings (natural casings) were
increasingly in short
supply. In an attempt to fill this void,
expanding companies began searching for an alternative casing. In due
course, the first collagen casings were introduced to the industry. This
meant that commercial sausage kitchens could produce cylindrically
sausage products for the first time. This made it possible to produce
multiple links of a uniform size and weight, clearly important when
portion control is an issue. Collagen casings are extracted from USDA
inspected animal hides. First,
the hides are split with special
machinery to access the center corium layer which lies between the outer
hair layer and the inner fat and muscle layer. Once the collagen-rich
corium layer is laid bare, it’s chopped and mixed with food-grade acid
vegetable cellulose fibers, then put through an extensive process,
which forms a food-grade slurry. The slurry is sieved and filtered
before being regenerated into cylindrical strands of collagen casings,
which unravel accordion style as they are
filled with seasoned sausage meat.
has been on the fast-track since the early development of the collagen
casing. Understandably, the casing industry has scrambled to take
advantage of the new technological improvements in the development of
regenerated collagen casings. They have created a broad range of
products for the commercial sausage producers, many of which have begun
to trickle down to the home sausage making fraternity in recent years.
the home user has a wide variety of collagen casings to choose from,
each one intended for a specific application. For example, edible
collagen casings designed expressly for the making of fresh sausage are
so incredibly thin and tender they readily adhere to the meat.This
casing type is moderately fragile and generally not recommended for use
in the smokehouse. They are simply not strong enough to bear the weight
of the sausage batter and are likely to rupture during the smoking
cycle, thus spilling the meat batter onto the smokehouse floor. As with
natural casings, fresh collagen casings are primarily used to make
fresh pork sausage links and frankfurters.
casings, on the other hand, are manufactured explicitly for use in the
smokehouse. The wall of this casing is metrically thicker than its fresh
counterpart and holds up very well during the smoke cooking process,
properly dried during the initial drying cycle.
Drying is important because it toughens the casing for the final stages
of the smoke cooking process. Smoked collagen casings are used primarily
for bratwurst, Italian sausage, dry cured pepperoni, and other semi-dry
or dry cured products.
Unlike their natural hog and sheep
counterparts, which tend to produce irregular size links with an
ingrained intestinal curve, collagen casings yield straight uniform
sausages. One major drawback is there inability to hold a twist
resulting from its integrated memory which invariably returns the
twisted links to their natural state if they are not prevented from
doing so. One option that I’m partial to, is to twist and tie off each
link with a short length of twine. This is monotonous work at best, but
it will produce an eye appealing, old-fashioned effect that adds a bit
of flare to your craft.
The larger flat collagen casings
(60-100mm) are basically inedible because the casing wall is too thick
and dense to chew. Additionally, the large size collagen are treated
with aldehyde (dehydrogenated alcohol) during the manufacturing process.
They are used to make such favorites as beef summer sausage,
pepperoni, venison salami, Genoa salami, thuringer, semi-dry cure
bologna and capicola.
The latest generation of collagen casings,
used primarily to make ring bologna, liver sausage and mettwurst,
automatically curves into a perfect ring as they are being stuffed with
seasoned ground meat.