Sausage Casings
getting started

All About Collagen Casings

September 01, 2019

Posted under:   processinggetting started

Sausages were originally made by stuffing a meat mixture into the intestines of a pig, sheep or other animal. When sausage manufacturers wanted a faster, more reliable way of making a high quantity of sausage - and when the material became widely available a half century ago - they switched to collagen. A natural protein product, collagen comes from a layer of beef hide, removed and refined. The more refined the processing, the more tender the casing. Collagen casing sausages are easy to cook, a good value and look great. Most important, they provide a tender bite and a fine "knack" - that familiar snap sound you expect when you bite into the perfect sausage.

Why Choose Collagen?

  • Safety: Made from an inherently safe material and free from health risks. 
  • Ease of Use: Ready to use straight from the box, with no soaking time* or untangling of bundles. 
  • Speed of Use: Easy and quick to load on the tube and stuff. 
  • Consistent Size: Dependable diameter and sausage length.
  • Appearance and Taste: Great-looking, healthy, and tender with a good bite.

*for edible casings, with just a few minutes for non-edibles.

Tips & Tricks for Collagen Casings

  • Don't over twist - you only want 1-1/2 to 2 twists.
  • Rehydrate old casings overnight in a cooler.
  • Never overstuff collagen casings beyond recommended capacity, or be ready to clean up a mess.
  • Be mindful of the humidity in your smoker or oven. Low humidity translates to tough casings.

The Different Types of Casings: Which Do You Need?

Edible: Thin casings best used for grilled or smoked sausages in lieu of hog or sheep casings. No soaking needed- use straight out of the package. Edible casings come in Fresh, (the most tender, thick brats), Smoked (hot  dogs, mettwurst), and Snack Stick, made stronger to be hung in a smoker. 

Non-Edible: Long-fibered casings best used for cold sausage can be hung in a smoker. Soak in non-iodized salted water for 3-5 minutes before stuffing. Use Collagen Rounds and Middles for bologna, summer sausage, salami, and pepperoni. 

Collagen casings, sold by the caddy*, are either edible or non-edible. Click here see our casing chart.

*A Caddy of Casings in an industry term referring to the bulk or trade packs for collagen casings. Caddies typically come in strands of 36. 

Take Care of Your Collagen Casings

  1. Do not soak edible collagen casings! Stuff edible casings dry. Soak non-edible casings 3-5 minutes in water with non-iodized salt (1 cup per gallon).
  2. Save the bag. Return unused casings to the zip-lock bag.
  3. Seal or tape the bag, as the casings must not dry or lose moisture. Refrigerate bag or place in a cooler so the casings retain moisture.
  4. Do not store your casings unsealed. You won't be able to use the casings once they dry out.

LEM has what you need.

Edible, Non-Edible, Hog, Beef, Sheep, Collagen, Natural, Smoked… You want it - LEM's got the sausage casings you need for your next sausage adventure.

But - first things first - how do you know what casing to use and what you’re actually going to make? Don’t just wing it -  Use this chart to select the correct casing for the type of sausage you are making.

Need more information on Casings and how to use them? Learn more about LEM Sausage Casings here.