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Apr 28, 2004 11:08 PM

poultry sausage--pork casing

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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?

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Colleen

      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.

    2. 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 .

      1. 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....


        1. 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.

          1. 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.