If you’ve ever enjoyed the satisfaction of hearing a classic sausage snap, you know it’s all thanks to that delicious sausage casing. While its main purpose is to keep the sausage together in that classic shape, sausage casing can also affect the overall flavor and texture of the sausage. If you’re thinking of making homemade sausage or want to pick the best one for your next dish, take a closer look at the different types of sausage casings.
The small intestine contains a collagen-packed lining known as the submucosa, which is what sausage casings have been made of for centuries. The submucosa can be taken from various animals, such as pigs, sheep, goats, horses, and cows. This is the kind of casing used to make a sausage that packs a flavorful punch, like the andouille sausage you’d typically use when cooking a Cajun seafood and sausage boil. Natural casings can be used for fresh or smoked sausage, are tender, flexible, and durable, and give you that iconic snap.
Cellulose casings are a type of man-made casing typically made from wood pulp, which results in a very stretchy casing that’s easy to fill and remove. While they’re durable and help keep the sausage filling together, these casings aren’t edible, so the sausage must be peeled before eating. You’ll see these casings used for hot dogs, skinless sausages, and frankfurters. These casings are best suited for large-scale automatic manufacturing rather than use by a home chef.
Collagen casings are technically man-made, but they’re derived from the bones or hide of a cow or pig. Although they are edible in most cases, they’re typically removed from the sausage before consumption. However, keep in mind that not all collagen casings are edible, so be aware of what you’re buying. These casings are typically used to make snack sticks, smoked sausage, and bratwurst. These casings have a minimal snap when you bite into them, but they do come in sheets, which makes them easy to load on the stuffing horn.
With your new guide to the different types of casings, you’re ready to make your own delicious sausage at home according to your exact preferences.