Have a question? Review the most commonly asked questions about Natural and Artificial Casings

Natural Casings

We have most sizes of natural and artificial casings. However, the size casing you need will depend on your product and package specifications.

Soaking out casings varies depending on put up and type of casing. Go to casings and view preparations for specific casing types.

The length of your smoke cycle becomes part of your sausage formulation. Your smoke cycle depends on the type of smokehouse you have and the type of product you are smoking. Contact your smokehouse supplier. Oversea DeWied Flavo-Fresh Colored™ casings can help shorten your smoke cycle to increase smokehouse productivity.

Cover unused casings in salt brine solution or granulated salt and store in cooler at 40º (4.44ºC) or less, but do not freeze.

How tight you stuff sausage casings depends on the type of sausage and how it is to be linked.

  • For natural casings, when making a rope sausage without linking, stuff to slightly less than the maximum expansion of the casings.
  • If linking by machine, stuff 3–4mm below the maximum expansion of the casing. Consult the instructions for the linker or your linker supplier because there can be significant differences in equipment.
  • If linking by hand, stuff 4–5mm below the maximum expansion of the casing. Hand linking can put uneven stress on the casing. By under stuffing, you can reduce breakage during linking. Check the firmness of the link and adjust the stuffing pressure.

Store in the cooler at 40º (4.44ºC) or less in brine or well-salted. NEVER freeze casings. If storing casings in brine for extended periods of time refresh casings periodically by changing the brine. Keep containers sealed in the cooler.

There are no standards dictating the size casing to be used for a particular sausage. The size casing you use for sausage should depend on what you want your sausage to look like. The specification of the packaging and above all, the preference of the customer will influence the casing size.

How many links do you want to make up a pound ? How long must the links be for the packaging to be used ? For example, 5 links per pound (450g) and 5 inches (127mm) per link.

Consult your Oversea Casing Account Executive for help choosing the correct size for your application.

Usually, yes. When your natural casings first arrive there may be some gas buildup in the container, especially in hot weather. This can smell pretty strong.

Usually, all it needs is airing out. Leave the container open in the cooler for a while. Or, take casings out of the container and air them out. If it is really bad, rinse casings in fresh water, re-soak in brine, and the smell will usually dissipate.

Cooking a sausage can toughen any casing. To maximize the tender bite of a casing, cook with moisture. Prick sausage before grilling. Do not microwave. Smoke cycles can also affect the bite of a casing. Controlling humidity during the smoke cycle is very important to maximize a tender eating experience. Consult your smokehouse supplier about the best smoke cycle for the most tender bite.

We offer several different put ups for hog, sheep and beef casings.

The traditional hank bundle of hog or sheep casings was 100 yards (91 meters). Today, the majority of casings are measured between 95 and 100 yards, or about 88 meters. This is usually known as “full yardage.” However, individual suppliers often vary casing length in order to discount price. Some hog and sheep casings are not sold as “hanks” but instead are based on stuffing capacity, such as Oversea Casing’s Processor Pack™, which is hog casings stuffing approximately 100 pounds (45.5 kilos) per pack regardless of casing size.

The traditional hank of hog or sheep casing has a minimum strand length of 2 meters and a maximum number of strands of 16–18 depending on caliber or quality. Today’s hanks can have many varied put ups depending on calibration range, type of raw material, hole specification, etc.

Price is contingent on type or origin of the casing, the diameter size range, number of meters in a hank or bundle, the amount of sausage that can be made with a casing unit, the number of casings shipped and invoiced, and quality factors of the casing. The world market for casings will affect pricing in a regional market. Here are three steps to help identify some basic reasons for price differences between casing suppliers:

  • Know how much sausage your casing unit makes and compare.
  • Count the number of casing units received and compare with the invoice.
  • Observe subtle differences in casing characteristics that affect quality.
  • Sausage was cooked in a pan too hot and too quickly.
  • Casings were not soaked long enough or too long.
  • Origin of the casing.
  • Sausage was under stuffed.
  • Sausage was heated in a microwave.

Soak casings using a tenderizer. This must be carefully monitored to avoid making the casings too weak to stuff. Use proper moisture levels during smoke cycle.

This is a patch of peyer. It is where lymph nodes were attached to the casing before cleaning.

Hand pulled casings do not have threads of connective tissue on the outside. They are delicate and usually have shorter strands than knife cut. They may have more holes or weak spots. Knife cut casings have the small threads of connective tissue (whiskers). Their strands are usually longer and have fewer holes. The threads of connective tissue on knife cut casings will melt off on smoked or cooked sausage.

Fibrous Casings

In order to provide adequate flexibility and increased breakage resistance during stuffing, fibrous casings (Regular, Peelable, Barrier and Protein Coated) must be soaked in water before use. Minimum recommended soaking time is 30 minutes and maximum 8 hours in water at 80°–100° F (27°–38° C). Shirred casings should be soaked for approximately one hour in 80°–100° F (27°–38° C) water.

Stuff to recommended stuffing diameter. The product should feel very firm. Automated stuffing and clipping can achieve the firmest finished product. Hand stuffing and clipping can achieve good results with practice.

We offer many sizes; however, the correct size depends on the specifications for the type product being made.

Store in a cool, dry location away from steam pipes, hot storage areas or direct sunlight. Best storage temperatures are 40°–75° F (4°–24° C). Keep sealed in original containers until ready to use. Keep stock fresh by using oldest stock first. Store containers with shipping label showing.

  • You did not soak casing properly.
  • Casing has been stored in a hot, dry place.
  • Casing has been overstuffed.
  • Product deficiency. If this is the case, contact your Oversea Casing account executive.

Collagen Casings

Collagen is not as elastic as natural casing. Therefore, it is not as forgiving for over-stuffing. Twist linking requires under-stuffing by an amount which works best for the equipment used. Consult your linker manufacturer’s representative.

No soaking is required.

Yes. It is a natural protein synthesized into a casing. Some wide diameters and collagen used for large slicing products may be too tough to chew, but they are technically edible.

The smoke cycle would depend on the type product to be smoked and the type of smokehouse used. Consult your Oversea Casing account executive for help.

No refrigeration is needed. Casings should be stored in a dry area 40°–60° F (5°–15° C) away from direct heat. Boxes should not be opened until ready to use (no soaking required).

Collagen has “memory.” Therefore, it will always want to go back to its natural state. However, it can be linked by hand if braided to hold the twists.

Cellulose Casings

The caliber of the casing is a nominal size designation. Each caliber has a Recommended Stuffing Diameter (RSD) which is not necessarily the caliber. For example: Caliber (size) 23 cellulose is designed to stuff to 20-21mm diameter. A complete listing of sizes and RSDs is on our website under Cellulose Casings – Sizes.
Cellulose casings should NOT be soaked or re-wet prior to use. They are pre-moisturized and ready to use from the carton. Adding moisture to cellulose casings will change the stuffing diameter and decrease size consistency (increase product give-away).
Mis-linking during stuffing can be caused by several factors:
  • Soaking Cellulose casings prior to stuffing
  • Stuffing below or above the casing Recommended Stuffing Diameter (RSD)
  • Worn or wrong size twist-chuck for the casing size
  • Insufficient number of twists between links (2-3 recommended)
  • Incorrect stuffing machine set-up
For high-speed peeling of Cellulose casings, EP (Easy Peel) casings should always be used. These casings are specifically designed for easy release from the product surface during peeling.

To provide optimum peelability:

  • Do not overstuff casings, follow the Recommended Stuffing Diameter (RSD) for the size casing you are using
  • Cool the product to less than 35°F (2°C) when peeling
  • Be sure the product to be peeled is well hydrated; if the surface is dry, peeling will be much more difficult

Stuffing breakage or holes:

  • Overstuffing beyond the casing Recommended Stuffing Diameter (RSD)
  • Burrs on components of the stuffing equipment (horn, twist chuck, linker chain, etc)
  • Bent or damaged stuffing horn
  • Stuffing horn too big for the specific casing shirr
  • Dry casing- allowed to sit in open air for a long period of time (more than 6 hours)

Processing breakage:

  • Overstuffing beyond the casing RSD; products will tend to further expand during processing
  • Using a product formulation that expands more than 5% during processing- use a size larger casing
Cellulose casings should ideally be stored in the original carton and caddy, in a location with relative humidity 60/70% and temperatures 60-75°F (15-24°C). Do not store casings near steam pipes or other heat sources. Opened cartons should be re-closed immediately. If there are unused strands of casings at the end of a production cycle, these should be stored in the original packaging or in a moisture-proof plastic bag, tightly closed, then put back in the original carton and taped shut.

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