Casing

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Chef_Raoul
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Casing

Post by Chef_Raoul » Mon Aug 17, 2015 01:07

I have a question about casing, hope this is the right location for the question. For the last 15 years, I have used DeWied casing, specifically the hand pulled. I use both the natural and the "smoked" pre-flushed bagged in hanks/10 hanks per bucket. Frankly, I just took the suggestion of the sales rep at the time (they have a turnover rate of about 2 per year). The more I read (and I have spent the last couple of months in a sausage marathon) the more I believe I have just been very lucky developing recipes and techniques and not knowing all the technical realities. I seem to have just stumbled into some right conclusions. (and I haven`t killed anyone yet)

Anyway, back to casing. Any do`s or don`t? I know that I`m paying a premium price, especially for the "smoked" casing which is I believe just dyed to give a more uniform color to the final product. Any comments about hand pulled and it`s value? How does hand pulled compared to knife cut and inverted. What exactly are the whiskers and are they a problem for the different type of sausages? Comments on different brands? Well, that`s my obsession of the moment....
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Mon Aug 17, 2015 07:23

Excellent questions! That is exactly what we need to do to learn and fully understand just exactly what we are doing when making sausage, rather than blindly following a recipe. And too often we have the question "why are my casings tough?" or "how come they burst?". So selecting the right casing for different sausages is important. These days the large producers have a plethora of choices and options for their products. We hobbyists buy in smaller quantities and our selection is actually quite limited. And I'm even a bit surprised that you have been able to purchase and use the coloured/dyed natural casings. And these are just that, coloured to give a consistent and uniform look to a product and probably to give it a more attractive and fresh appearance. These casings have been designed mainly for the big boys who mass-produce for the supermarkets. I doubt that too many smaller producers who are concerned with quality and are more transparent as to the ingredients in their sausages use them.


As to the hand-pulled, knife-cut or inverted casings it all comes down to whether you want those threads known as whiskers or not. Whiskers are in fact the capillaries that attach the intestine to the surrounding fat. Hand-pulled casings come with the whiskers and fat removed while knife-cut come with the whiskers. The hand-pulled are also stretched a bit more and seem thinner, may look better and may be less tough when you bite into a sausage made with one. Knife-cut casings usually have whiskers and that is what I buy when I need a hank of the 40-42. But the amount of whiskers really varies from hank to hank. I've had casings where there was a whisker only every couple of feet and casings that were literally covered with them. These casings are stronger and I prefer them for smoked or cured sausage where we need to stuff firmly. After smoking you barely see any of the whiskers and they also disappear when you dry the sausage. Inverted casings are simply casings with the whiskers that are turned inside out so that you don't see them. In fact, that is done for casings such as beef middles and beef bungs as matter of course where they are inverted so that the fat and uneven appearance are on the inside while the silky smooth inside is on the outside.

Hope this answered your questions, you may want to drill your sales rep on more specifics. As to the preferred manufacturers and distributors, I can't really comment since I am only familiar with a few products from Stuffer's in Langley BC and Canada Compound in Winnipeg. And it is a fact that the bulk of the natural casings we buy in North America are from China. Some casings are graded, cut and packaged here and are labelled as a Product of Canada or the US, but they still come from China.
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Post by Chef_Raoul » Mon Aug 17, 2015 14:12

Thanks, About what I thought. DeWied does sell me anything I want, but I do have to buy a bucket of 10 hanks minimum. No reason we couldn't put together a larger order and then have it broken down and distributed to member of the sausage community. A hank will fill 80 to 150 pounds depending on size but I have kept casing in the fridge for over 3 years with no problems.

As far as not following blindly, I'm really getting an appreciation for that now. For the past few months, I have been researching very intensely fermented and dry cure for sausages and whole muscles. I plan on making this available to my customers. The more I learn, the more I go back and verify my recipes as well as fine tune them based on the new knowledge I have. I have been very fortunate to have never gotten anyone sick nor had a bad batch for the fresh and hot smoked sausage I have made over the years, and I have made thousands of pounds of each.

I so appreciate the vast database of knowledge and expertise available on this site.
Thanks
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redzed
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Post by redzed » Tue Aug 18, 2015 01:07

Chef, I also meant to mention in my last reply to you, that if you already have not done so, to read portions of what is probably the best English language source on fermented meat products, Fidel Toldra, et.al., Handbook of Fermented Meat and Poultry. You can download it here: https://www.academia.edu/8548143/handbo ... nd_poultry

In fact I recommend this treasure trove of information to anyone who is serious about dry cured meats. And the authors are scientists and people in the industry and not plumbers or piano tuners.
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Post by Chef_Raoul » Tue Aug 18, 2015 02:59

Thanks, While I never mind buying a book, I'm sure glad this is available for down load. $200 for a printed copy.

I'll start reading this tonight. Yes, my whole life is dedicated to family and food.
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Post by Chef_Raoul » Tue Aug 18, 2015 21:08

Wow, Redzed,
The Handbook of Fermented Meat and Poultry is extraordinary. Thank you so much for recommending this. It is very technical, but has the information to take fermentation of meat to such a high level. I think that this could be the single most important source of information to help me produce the quality I want to. I credited "On Food and Cooking" as the turning point in my ability to cook food that is the best, Handbook of Fermented Meat and Poultry is likely to help me take Charcuterie to that same level.

Thank you so much
Chef Raoul
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