Sausage Casings


A sausage casing is a sheath that holds and forms the shape of the sausages. Ground meat, vegetables, and spices are stuffed inside these casings.

Types of casings:

Natural - made of intestines of pork, sheep, or cows and are edible
Artificial - made of collagen, or plastic and are not edible


Other names: Sausage Skins
Translations: Desu apvalki, Dešrų arba dešrelių apvalkalai, Mezeluri Casings, Kobasica Kućišta, Vỏ xúc xích, Sausage Obudowy, Worstvellen, सॉसेज casings, Salsicha Tripas, Колбасные оболочки, Λουκάνικο Casings, السجق الأغلفة, 소시지 탄피, Střívka, Кобасица Кућишта, 香肠肠衣, Budell per embotits, Čreva za klobase, Črevá, Salsiccia Involucri, נקניק תרמילים, Korvskinn, Casing Sosis, ソーセージケーシング, Les boyaux de saucisse, Wursthüllen, Pølsetarme, Kunstige tarmer, Tripa para embutidos, Ковбасні оболонки, Makkarankuoret, Колбаси

Physical Description

Natural casings are made from the submucosa, a layer of the intestine that consists mainly of collagen. The fat and the inner mucosa lining are removed. Natural casings tend to be brittle once cooked and tend to "snap" when the sausage is bitten. They may also rupture during the cooking process; often, this indicates that the cooking was done too rapidly. Natural casings may be hardened and rendered less permeable through drying and smoking processes. Natural casings are generally made from porcine, bovine or ovine intestines.They can be flat or shirred, depending on application, and can be pretreated with smoke, caramel color, or other surface treatments.

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Casings come in a variety of sizes and are usually sold by the hank, bundle, cap or ounce. It is always difficult to estimate how much casing you will need to stuff your batch of sausage. A few rules of thumb:

1 pound of meat will stuff about 2 feet of medium-size hog casing (32-35 mm)

1 pound of meat will stuff about 4 feet of medium-size lamb casing (20-22 mm)

1 ounce of medium-size hog casing (32-35 mm) will stuff about 8 feet of sausage

1 pound of medium-size lamb casing (20-22 mm) will stuff about 16 feet of sausage

Buying: Casings are sometime difficult to get, especially in the quantities that the home sausage maker uses. We mostly use hog casings and these are somewhat easier to come by. If you know of a store that specializes in making different kinds of sausage, chances are they will have different types of casings. Often they have the casings, but again are in large quantities. The stores often do not know how to break up the large quantity and price the smaller amounts
Procuring: Collagen casings are produced from the protein in beef or pig hides.They have been made for more than 50 years and their share of the market has been increasing. Continuous development means the casings are now preferred by consumers in many sausage applications. Usually the cost to produce sausages in collagen is significantly lower than making sausages in gut because of higher production speeds and lower labour requirements.

Preparation and Use

The biggest volume of collagen casings are edible but a special form of thicker collagen casings is used for Salamis and large calibre sausages where the casing is usually peeled off the sausage by the consumer. Collagen casings are smoke and moisture permeable, and are less expensive to use, give better weight and size control, and are easier to run when compared to natural casings.

Conserving and Storing

Casings are normally bought soaking in brine or packed in salt. Remember that if you buy too much casing you can take the leftover casings, rinse, pack in salt and refrigerate for next time.


History: Typically the sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made from intestine, but sometimes synthetic. Some sausages are cooked during processing and the casing may be removed afterwards.



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