poultry sausage--pork casing
My wife doesn't eat red meat or pork. The other day I picked up a package of chicken & turkey sausage from TJ's. I was feeling mighty pleased with myself for finding a new alternative to throw on the grill--until I took a closer look at the label (last time I do THAT), and saw that the sausage was made with a "natural pork casing." So much for that idea.
It got me thinking--am I going to find the same issue with all sausage-esque products? We've often ordered chicken-apple sausage from a breakfast menu or bought seafood sausage to grill @ home--and I've always just assumed that there was no other meat involved. Guess that was silly, huh? I just never really gave it a second thought. Now that I have...any alternatives for poultry or seafood sausages that are otherwise meatless?
What are the reasons behind your wife's not eating red meat or pork? if it is for health reasons, well then she should be able to eat the sausage with the natural pork casing because I don't think there is enough of anything there to cause a health problem. If it's for religious reasons, I can't help you there.
The collagen casings are also made out of animal by-products, ie. gelatin. That's where the hide and bones are cooked down, dehydrated and turned into gelatin. Apparently there is a gelatin made with some sort of seaweed, but I don't know if there are sausage casings made with it.
Did you make the mistake of actually telling your wife about the casings?
(I just noticed the date of the OP...never mind. It's a rhetorical question anyway).
I too noiced the pork casing problem, but did come across some Jennie-O sausages that had a calcium alginate casing....don't know why more companies don't do a better job of finding non-pork casings...if we wanted or didn't mind eating pork then we wouldn't go through the trouble of shopping for alternative products.
I dont know about the TJs where you are, but at mine, they have two brands. One of them does have the pork casing, but they also have a Trader Joe's brand of chicken sausages that say on the label "Pork Free" and have the collagen casing. They have a variety of flavors.
They also carry a chicken breakfast sausage which also is made with a collagen casing.
At my grocery, you can buy various types of sausage without the casing, basically "unpacked" sausage. There's a chicken, basil, feta sausage that we form into little sausage meatballs and use in pasta dishes. You could use that for the little meatballs in italian wedding soup, or crumbled in stuffed bell peppers, rice dishes, or whatever you could think of. Unless what you crave is actual grilled sausage links.
A few alternatives we've used:
There is an alternate casing, as others have stated. Never seen it commercially, never tried it.
Cook the sausage, then peel to get skinless. (Doesn't always get off all skin, but jews don't believe in hell, so I won't be burning there.)
Eat it anyway. (Occasional option)
One additional clarification, 'meatless' is probably not equivalent to 'animal free'. I don't consider animal intestine to be meat. I think of meat as muscle. When Oreos were 'lard cakes' I didn't think of them as meat, but as 'off-limits' all the same.
I've never met two jewish families who had the same definition of "kosher". You have to be fairly specific about what your wife really wants to exclude.
Breakfast sausage is made with lamb casing. If she eats that you are fine. Otherwise, well, she can't eat sausage.
Consider finding a kosher butcher. They generally use artifical casings, which, btw, are available but don't resemble natural casings at all.
Holding comments about the spectacular joy which overcomes me when I bite into an all natural casing....
Just watched Alton Brown go on about sausage ; he said you can order man made protein collagen based sausage casings . Gotta figure these are just well cooked down animal parts formed through chemistry . Plastic casings are not unheard of , but obviously you don't want to eat that . You might be better off making your own , at least you would know exactly what was in it . I've gotta figure it's really hard to find a sausage casing thats not red meat or pork or plastic based . If there's an alternative I'd love to hear about it .
I don't know of alternatives, unless you buy sausage cakes as opposed to links, or remove the casings before cooking/eating.
I'm always surprised that other people are surprised when they find out what sausage casing is.
I've been trying to tell my husband this for years, and he insists that they all use "artificial" casings.
He does believe me about gelatin, though.
Whatever rationalization makes you happy, I guess.
Besides gelatin, don't forget about the rennet used in the manufacture of cheese.
If a person wants to eat sausage or cheese or gelatin, she just has to accept what the basic nature of the stuff is, and decide whether it makes the cut or not, instead of trying to purify it of its objectionable qualities.