Sausage Casing Tough

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fagesbp
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Sausage Casing Tough

Post by fagesbp » Wed Jan 08, 2014 20:15

What can I do to help my smoked sausage casing come out more tender? As it is now I can barely bite through the casing when its done.
Last edited by fagesbp on Thu Jan 16, 2014 17:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Carpster » Thu Jan 09, 2014 00:21

That's the question I am asking on the Project B2 :shock:
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Post by ssorllih » Thu Jan 09, 2014 01:50

The problem is two fold. The casing must be strong enough to with stand hanging and tender enough to be pleasing in the mouth. Smoking will definitely toughen the casings, poaching will soften it. If you want ready to eat dry sausage you will need to ask your dentist to sharpen your teeth.
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Re: Sausage Casing

Post by el Ducko » Thu Jan 09, 2014 04:59

fagesbp wrote:What can I do to help my smoked sausage casing come out more tender? As it is now I can barely bite through the casing when its done.
...the perennial question. (2nd place: "What's a perennial?" :lol: )

Many of us prefer to use hog casing for our "regular" size sausages (32-35mm or some such), and sheep casing for the smaller breakfast-link size. Lots of folks speak of their superior "mouth feel." On the other hand, some (yours truly included) use collagen when in a hurry or for the smaller size sausages (meat sticks are a good example), and strip the stuff off before eating. (I find small diameter sheep casing hard to fill and prone to blow-outs if I'm not careful, but it sure gives nice results.) For larger diameter (say, 3") sausages, it's hard to beat a durable plastic or fibrous casing. Slice the sausage and discard the casing pieces when eating.

So I'd stick to natural (hog or sheep or beef) casing if you want to bite through it, or otherwise strip off whatever you find offensive. Try 'em all so you can learn. Develop your own preferences. Enjoy.
:mrgreen:
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Post by redzed » Thu Jan 09, 2014 07:52

Well fagesbp, your question is a very good one, and one that is not that easy to answer. To begin with, it it might be a good idea for you and others who post here is to be more specific with their questions. If I was asking this question about tough casings I would describe the casing that that I was using, the sausage that I was making as well as the process: how long was the the stuffed sausage set in, and what was the temp., did you dry it in the smoker, and what were the smoking temps? Did you finish it in the smoker or did you poach it? And exactly what type of casing did you use?

Maxell answered this question on the Polish forum a while back, and I think he summarized most causes of a tough casing quite well.
http://wedlinydomowe.pl/forum/topic/162 ... kielbasie/

The causes can be numerous. If you are poaching the sausage, you can take the temperature below 73°C (164°F) and shorten the poaching time to 25-30min. These may seem like small differences but will impact the end product. Once you gain some experience, you will determine the length of the poaching period "by ear", and by squeezing the sausage you will recognize the colour of the juice. Don't set the sausage for too long a period. Simply said, once the the surface of the sausage is dry, place it into a pre heated smoker. You can also do it in the reverse - let it set for half an hour and place it it into the smoker where a very precise drying will take place, with wide open vents, with a temp of 40°C(104°F), until the sausage is completely dry. Then start the smoking phase. Begin poaching immediately, not allowing the skin to dry. After the poaching cool the sausage in cold water., but not for too long, so that there will remain a bit of warmth in the sausage to dry the surface after the soaking.After the sausage has cooled, you can rinse it with boiling water that will rinse any remaining fats off the surface and cause the skin to to shiny, firm and supple.

You should soak your casings (and here I am assuming you are using hog casings), in cold water for one hour, then rinse and soak in tepid water for another 3 to 4 hours. The instructions about soaking for half an hour in warm water that some provide is nonsense. And never soak the casings in warm or hot water.

The other thing to understand is that the larger the diameter of the casings, the tougher it will be. The 28mm and under sausage can be normally consumed with the casing, but the 40+ will be tough just by its nature, and is meant to be eaten with the skin removed. And then there is is the occasion that you will have a tough casing no matter what the heck you do. It depends on the animal that the casing was sourced from. Just like that perfect looking steak that tastes like a rubber tire when you take it off the grill. :shock:
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Post by Cabonaia » Thu Jan 09, 2014 17:08

Hey fagesbp,

Great advice from Redzed, as expected. As he points out, the details are everything and it is not really possible to answer your question without knowing what casings you are using and what your process steps are.

I find this question to be interesting because I have had plenty of problems but never this one. So if it is of any use, I will describe my smoking method. It is not everyone's method but it works for me every time. It is driven by the limitations of my smoking setup. I don't have an electric or propane smoker. I use a water smoker - basically just a vertical cylinder with a water pan above a coal grate sitting in another pan - as my box, with an "A-Maze-N" pellet smoker in it. No fire, just the a-maze-n and the sausage. I cold smoke to get taste and color, then follow up with poaching. If I use edible collagen casing (for snack sticks) I finish in the oven since the collagen would melt in water. While you might think that poaching a smoked sausage would ruin the smokey flavor, it does not. As others have pointed out, it seems to ruin the color, but the color comes back after poaching when you let it dry, or "bloom."

Method:
1- stuff the sausage in a casing appropriate to the sausage type, pre-soaking the casings as necessary (I haven't had problems soaking the casings for just an hour in tepid water, making sure to run water through the insides as well; edible collagen casings for snack sticks do not get soaked...stuff them dry)
2- hang the sausage in the open air just long enough to dry (wiping with paper towels first will speed this up if you are in a hurry)
3- cold smoke it (if you are hot smoking, you can follow the directions of your smoker and skip to step 5)
4- put it in a large pot of cold water and very slowly bring the water up to 160 - 165F
- alternatively, for snack sticks or anything with edible collagen casings, put the sausage on a rack on a baking sheet in a cold oven and very slowly bring the temp up to 160 - 165F
5- pull it out of the water or oven when the desired internal temp is reached (generally 145F)
6- plunge it into icy water or spray with very cold water to cool it down - just a few minutes
7- let it hang in the open air long enough to dry and bloom
8- put in zip-lock bags and refrigerate

Casing types
- Edible collagen for snack sticks
- Hog casings for sausage between 28 - 40mm diameter
- Inedible synthetic casings for large lunch meats such as mortadella, cotto

Hope this is of some help!

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Post by Carpster » Fri Jan 10, 2014 15:10

ssorllih wrote:The problem is two fold. The casing must be strong enough to with stand hanging and tender enough to be pleasing in the mouth. Smoking will definitely toughen the casings, poaching will soften it. If you want ready to eat dry sausage you will need to ask your dentist to sharpen your teeth.

My dentist is in Mexico, can't get back there till next year :mrgreen:

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Post by Carpster » Fri Jan 10, 2014 18:09

redzed wrote:Well fagesbp, your question is a very good one, and one that is not that easy to answer. To begin with, it it might be a good idea for you and others who post here is to be more specific with their questions. If I was asking this question about tough casings I would describe the casing that that I was using, the sausage that I was making as well as the process: how long was the the stuffed sausage set in, and what was the temp., did you dry it in the smoker, and what were the smoking temps? Did you finish it in the smoker or did you poach it? And exactly what type of casing did you use?

k:

Oh Boy :oops:
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Post by ssorllih » Fri Jan 10, 2014 19:02

On the sailboat forum we sometime get a question about how long the anchor rope should be for a 30 foot boat. No details of where he sails.
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Post by fagesbp » Tue Jan 14, 2014 20:07

Or possibly people interested in discussing can ask the pertinent questions without being a smartass about it... but that's just too sensible.

Like what I already did on another much more active forum. I can see why it's more active since they just asked about it and discussed without the smartass attitude.

Have a nice day.
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Jan 14, 2014 21:16

I have read that a sense of humor is also a measure of intelligence but I have always doubted that could be applied across the board. I have been following this thread and have found the answers to be very useful and appropriate to the question.
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Post by NorthFork » Tue Jan 14, 2014 22:25

ssorllih wrote:
On the sailboat forum we sometime get a question about how long the anchor rope should be for a 30 foot boat. No details of where he sails.
I have read that a sense of humor is also a measure of intelligence but I have always doubted that could be applied across the board. I have been following this thread and have found the answers to be very useful and appropriate to the question.
Definitely useful and appropriate information-Sometimes humor is hard to come by when you are asking for help. Perhaps the OP does not know the appropriate questions and circumstances, perhaps that is why he has asked for assistance with his problem? Some make a legitimate attempt to help, some just like to show their contempt for those not as blessed.

fagesbp; I have struggled with the same problem, I wish that I had the answer but I also am ignorant of the solution.
I've always tried to set a good example for others-but many times I've had to settle for just being a horrible warning!
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