Tips for Stuffing Fibrous Casings
Stuffing Summer Sausage
PREP-WORK FOR STUFFING FIBROUS CASINGS
Fibrous casings are the most popular choice for making summer sausages and some other larger-diameter sausage-like products. They are made from a paper product and are generally easy to work with, but here are a few tips to make sure you are making the best product possible.
First, make sure your fibrous casings are soft and pliable before you attempt to stuff them. They need to be soaked for 30 minutes at 90-100°F to soften them up. Choose the largest stuffing tube or horn that you have that your casings will fit over; with larger fibrous casings, this is generally your largest stuffing tube. Doing this will allow your casing to stuff evenly and prevent swirling inside the casing, which can cause an odd appearance when you slice your summer sausage.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM STUFFING FIBROUS CASINGS
Since Fibrous casings are so strong, blowouts really are not a major concern here, so feel free to stuff the casing until it is smooth and full while minimizing backflow. Backflow is when sausage comes back up around the tube before going into the casing; so make sure you are holding the casing on tightly and near the end of the tube.
As you are stuffing your fibrous casing, make sure that you leave at least a few inches at the end of the casing so you can clip it closed with Hog Ring Pliers, a Bag & Casing Clipper, or a Max Pac Stapler. Twist the end of the casing as tightly as possible and place your hog ring or staple as close to the meat as possible to keep the meat tightly in the casing.
MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO STUFF FIBROUS CASINGS
Now, most of the fibrous casings that we sell are prestuck, which means that small holes are already present along the casing. This allows for the pressure to bleed out during the cooking process and for the casing to form tightly to the meat. If you purchased one of the few fibrous casings that are not prestuck, you will need to get something like a sausage pricker and make some holes up and down the summer sausage.
The casings already have a loop of string on the opposite end to hang it in a smoker, so your hog ring will be responsible for keeping the casing closed while the weight of the meat is pushing down on it, so make sure it is as tight as you can make it.
One other thing to make note of here, even though it is not technically part of the stuffing process, if you do not run a shower cycle or an ice bath to cool your sausage down, the casing is going to stick to the meat when you try to peel it. If you have run an ice bath and it is still sticking when peeling, try putting it in the fridge overnight; that will often allow the casing to peel away cleanly.
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