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Advice sausage casings purchasing and sausage making

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Sal Vanilla Aug 2, 2010 05:58 PM

Howdy! Even though I have a full harvest of veg and fruit ahead of me, I have a notion to rush into hell and try my hand at sausages this month.

The advice I need is what sort of casings should I buy? Brands? Any thoughts on collagen casings? Any thoughts on what sausages I should start with and then move up to? I have a kitchenaid with a sausage grinder fitting. I have had one go at it and made a giant mess with it spitting out randomly out into the kitchen space - versus to my bowl. Any thoughts on what may be going on there?

I was thinking andouille. It sez pork casings. Huh?

I have only made casingless sausage like italian (loose) and chorizo.

If you are feeling snappy, I will gratefully take a beloved recipe too.

Yep. I don't ask much.

Humble thanks.

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  1. chefj RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 2, 2010 06:22 PM

    Pork casing are usually called Hog casings and are small intestines from a pig. You can also get lamb casings and beef casings. Each one yields a different diameter link.
    Personally I like natural casings over collagen for snap and appearance.
    You will need to smoke your sausage for andouille which adds a few more steps to the process.
    Two things come to mind about your spitting problem, high speed and warm ingredients.
    It is usually a good idea to cut you meats and fat and then partially freeze them before attempting to grind.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chefj
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      Sal Vanilla RE: chefj Aug 2, 2010 06:38 PM

      Thank you so much for your reply and machine hint.

      Can I use hog,lamb/beef casings interchangeably? Do they keep?

      1. re: Sal Vanilla
        chefj RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 2, 2010 06:48 PM

        They are usually packed in salt to preserve them.
        Beef casings 3.5-4"dim. Hog 2-1.5" and Lamb .5".

    2. j
      jeanmarieok RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 2, 2010 06:59 PM

      We've used both natural and collagen casings, and the collagen casings are just tough. I have a local source for casings now (my butcher will order for me) but when I first tried making sausage, we ordered from The Sausage Maker. www.sausagemaker.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeanmarieok
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        Sal Vanilla RE: jeanmarieok Aug 3, 2010 09:26 PM

        Ohhh that is a dangerous site in my house. I LOVE it! Did you see the fermenting pot on the front page? Project number 2 in he making. But seriously, thank you for the referral. I will learn a lot there. My usual mode is to tumble in head long... start a fire in the kitchen or spray meat around the kitchen and THEN I decide I better do some reading.

      2. c oliver RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 2, 2010 08:28 PM

        Here's the sausage recipe that I use from Batali except that the version from the cookbook has fennel seed which I think is a big part of the success. I'm not at home this week so I can't look it up for you.

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

        I haven't "done" casings yet so I hope you'll report back.

        1 Reply
        1. re: c oliver
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          Sal Vanilla RE: c oliver Aug 3, 2010 09:27 PM

          I will def report and maybe snap a few photos for everyone's grins. It is sausage making after all.

          I should have THOUGHT of Batali.

        2. John E. RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 3, 2010 09:33 PM

          There's a meat market near my house that actually has natural casing available for purchase. I don't remember the brand, but they are packaged for retail sale. I guess I live in an area where a lot of people make their own sausage, especially right after deer season. I've always used the hog casings, but would like to get the sheep casings and make some breakfast sausage, I just haven't gone to the effort yet.

          1. p
            phwib RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 3, 2010 11:06 PM

            Check out your local library for the book "Charcuterie". Has great info and sausage recipes. Taylor's in old town Oakland carries hog casings. Run water through them to rinse out the salt then soak them in apple juice for and hour or so. Brats are a good one to start with. Have fun.

            3 Replies
            1. re: phwib
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              Kooper RE: phwib Aug 4, 2010 09:17 AM

              The book phwib recommened is amazing and teaches about all kinds of curing, salting and sausage. The book has really good step by step illustrations for all the steps in the process. It is a must for anyone new at sausage or curing meats.

              http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Cra...

              P.S. you have to try the cured Salmon and the dry cured duck. Both really easy and tasty.

              1. re: Kooper
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                jeanmarieok RE: Kooper Aug 4, 2010 12:59 PM

                And the canadian bacon is easy and delicious, too. Great book!

                1. re: Kooper
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                  Sal Vanilla RE: Kooper Aug 4, 2010 12:59 PM

                  Oh I do love cured salmon. We do that a lot especially this time of year when salmon are running.

                  Duck I haven't cured. I may have to go nail one of the buggers who have been snacking on my veggie garden this year... JK! Sorta. ; )

              2. Monch RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 4, 2010 09:36 AM

                Lots of good advice, here.

                I must also recommend Sausage Maker. I've never had a bad experience. I use their stock #21300 for my andouille.

                Some resources that I use:
                - Andouille recipe: www.jfolse.com or www.gumbopages.com - I use this recipe and thrill my family and New Orleans party guests!
                - General advice at the Bradley Smoker forum - It's geared towards owners of the smoker, but the general advice is sound.
                - The Rytek Kutas book (available at Sausage Maker) for great overall background on the subject.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Monch
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                  Sal Vanilla RE: Monch Aug 4, 2010 12:57 PM

                  Yep. I am going with the sausage maker. Very good site. I went to the gumbo pages and lo... tasso! I had never considered making it. The other day I was lamenting the lack of good cured meat around my parts and... tasso!

                  My husband is on backorder for this smoker he wants - I know what is going on third (I have to wait in line).

                  Thank you for the site suggestion.

                  1. re: Sal Vanilla
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                    jeanmarieok RE: Sal Vanilla Aug 4, 2010 01:01 PM

                    We have one of the little chest smokers from the Sausage maker, with the saw dust pan in the bottom, and it works great. We use it on our screen porch during the winter, and really stays at the correct temp, no problem. Ours is old, though, and no where as cute as the smokers they have dressed up as little smoke houses. Those are just too cute!!!

                    1. re: jeanmarieok
                      Monch RE: jeanmarieok Aug 4, 2010 01:16 PM

                      I'm addicted to my digital Bradley.

                      The wood pucks are spendy, but I like being able to start with one wood and finish with another.

                      Oak and pecan for andouille!

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