Why are sausage casings so important?

Casings are the forgotten super-hero of the humble sausage. That’s because without a good sausage casing, you can’t have a good sausage. Your sausage casing is what keeps all your carefully chosen ingredients, flavours and juices in and it also dictates the texture and eating experience of your final sausage. Sausage making aficionados (aka gurus) are obsessed with having the right sausage ‘snap’ when you bite into a sausage, which all comes down to the casing you use. Natural casings give the best sausage snap. So don’t ruin your wieners, choose a natural casing.

What is a natural sausage casing?

Natural sausage casings are made from the small intestines of an animal, in our case free range, grass fed, New Zealand sheep. They are cleaned and calibrated by hand and via machinery using only water. Sea salt is added to act as a natural preserving agent enabling them to survive outside of a fridge for relatively long periods of time.

What are the benefits of a natural casing?

The benefits of the natural casing are flavour and visual appeal. Natural sausage casings have an enhanced taste, tenderness and texture that no synthetic casing can match. Natural casings also provide a far superior consumption experience with that authentic snap when eaten. Because natural sausage casings breathe, the beautiful BBQ, smoking and cooking flavours can permeate the casing and infuse the meat, resulting in one very tasty sausage.

Why do you say 'making sausages smile'?

Only sausages made from natural casings have that trademark sausage ‘smile’. If your sausage doesn’t smile, it means its made from a collagen casing, or as we call them, an industrialised t**d.

Why are sheep casings the best?

Without a good sausage casing, you can’t have a good sausage. Sheep casings have the thinnest wall of any natural sausage casing (even thinner than hog) so are less prone to chewyness and have an amazing ‘semipermeable’ wall which means none of your special sausage juices escape but all of the beautiful BBQ/cooking flavours are absorbed. The end result is a sausage with great flavour, texture and the much prized sausage “snap” that you can only get from a natural sausage.

What is the difference between sheep and hog (pig) casings?

Sheep casings are not as wide as hog casings (aka they have a smaller diameter). As such, a sausage made with a hog casing will be a lot fatter/wider than a sausage made with a sheep casing. The wall of sheep casings are also thinner than hog casings which means they are less prone to chewyness/being rubbery. We believe sheep casings give the best sausage texture and delivery, with the much prized sausage ‘snap’ you only get from a natural sausage.

What is a collagen casing?

At The New Zealand Casings Co we always say ‘never trust a straight sausage’. That’s because if your sausage doesn’t smile, its made from a collagen casing. Collagen Casings are made from the highly processed hides of cattle or hogs and typically contain lots of yucky stuff like sodium carboxymethylcellulose, mineral oil (otherwise known as liquid paraffin, a highly refined by-product of petroleum distillation) and ammonium hydroxide. The result is a collagen casing with a wall like soft plastic which means they don’t breathe in any of those beautiful BBQ flavours and aromoa’s or match the much revered ‘snap’ of a natural casing. So don’t be a silly sausage, choose a natural casing.

Where do your casings come from?

Our natural casings only come from New Zealand farms, where the animals are free range, grass-fed and fully traceable from from farm gate to plate.

What ingredients do natural sausage casings contain?

At The New Zealand Casings Co, we believe that Mother Nature does it best. So why mess with it. That’s why our sausages have only 2 ingredients – natural sheep intestines and salt.

Are there any chemicals used in the production process?

No chemicals, no additives and no nasty stuff. In fact, water is the only thing we use during the processing of our natural casings.

Are your casings Halal certified?

Yes. All the animals our casings come from are killed according to Halal regulations. A copy of our Halal certification can be presented prior to order.

How many sausages can I make with your products?

We sell three products on our website:
– 20m Craftsman’s Choice (2x 10m lengths) threaded onto hard pipe. This product makes approximately 6kg of sausages or 85 sausages
– 90m Butchers Best Friend (9x 10m lengths) threaded onto soft tube.  This product makes approximately 28kg of sausages or 384 sausages

What type of sausages are you casings good for?

When it comes to sausages, history and tradition guides which sausage casings to use for each type of sausage. However, there really is no technical reason that sausages have to be certain sizes, and therefore use certain casings. So we decided to respectfully ignore tradition and just focus on making the best sausage casings in the world. That’s why we make only natural sheep casings.

Our advice is, don’t get too caught up on the size of your sausage,  but if you really want to know, our sausage casings are great for breakfast sausages, frankfurters (hot dogs), landjaegar, makanek, chipolatas, cabanossi (kabana), bockwurst, nurnberger, chicken, pork, venison or halal sausages, bangers, snags, wieners, sossies, sausage rockets weenies, franks…yep, pretty much anything that you want to look and taste like a sausage. So go ahead, get stuck in and have some fun.

Do I need to soak my sausage casings before using them?

Yes. Before stuffing your sausages, it is essential to rinse all salt off the casings by rinsing first and then soaking them thoroughly in fresh water. The ideal bathing temperature is between 20 and 30 degrees. Avoid water any hotter than 30 degrees. Soak your casings for at least 45 minutes.

What size nozzle do I need for your casings?

It is important to have the right nozzle size for your casing, otherwise you could get tearing in your casing. Sheep casings require a smaller nozzle than hog casings. For our casings we strongly recommend a 13mm nozzle. 13mm is the width/diameter of the nozzle at its tip.

How long will casings last for?

Our casings come with a 365 day shelf life if stored at recommended temperatures.

How do I store natural casings?

Store your natural casings air-tight in a temperature controlled refrigerated environment between 5°C and 10°C to ensure optimum product integrity is maintained.

Can I save any leftover casings that I've already soaked?

Yes. Our sausage casings are dry salted for preservation. They will last for at least 12 months as long as you follow the three golden rules:

1) Keep Salted. If you have left over casing and have washed the salt off then remove any excess water by running your fingers down the casings then generously re-coat in fine sea /table salt.
2) Keep Air Tight. Wrap in clingfilm/gladwrap and put back into the pouch packaging or into an airtight container
3) Keep Cool. Store your sausage casings in a cool, temperature-controlled environment of between 5°C and 10°C – ideally in the fridge. Store casings away from direct sunlight and heat at all times.

What’s the difference between salted and tubed casings?

Tubed casings are casings threaded onto soft or hard plastic tubes or pipes for easier application onto the stuffing nozzle. Casings on either tubes are less prone to tangles but casings on hard tubes are the easiest to use. Salted casings are casings in their original form and have not been threaded onto a tube so need to be carefully untied to avoid tangles and carefully threaded onto the sausage casing nozzle (you can use some cooking oil to make this easier). For beginner sausage makers, we recommend buying casings that have been threaded onto a tube.

How do sausage casing sizes work?

Casings are generally sold based on their diameter (often referred to as ‘calibre’). Natural sheep casings generally range from 20-30mm, sold as either 20/22 (as in 20-22mm), 22/24, 24/26 or 26/28. Hog casings generally fall between 30-45mm (32/35, 35/38 or 38/42). The sausage casings in our online products are 24-26mm (or 24/26). This means they range from 24mm diameter to 26mm diameter, and that your sausage will therefore end up between 24-26mm. Certain sausages have traditionally used certain sized casings but at NZCC we are not size-ist. Our motto is that it’s not the size of your sausage that counts. What’s important is the quality of the finished product.

What are 'shorts'?

‘Shorts’ are any short off-cuts of sausage casings. There are a number of manufacturers out there who package and sell these. What they mean for you is more time, more waste, more mess and poor value for money. We only use ‘A grade’ casings for the products sold on our online shop and we never use ‘shorts’. All our casings come in lengths of 10 meters, which means a better sausage making experience for you.

What is a 'hank'?

A hank is 90m of casings. This might be made up of a number of shorter pieces that add up to 90m in total. For example, a hank of natural sheep casings could contain 3x 30m lengths of casings.

Where can I get The New Zealand Casing Co Casings?

Our casings can be ordered direct from us, we ship locally as well as anywhere globally where top quality sausage casings are required, contact us now at sales@nzcasings.co.nz.

What is your supply availability?

The New Zealand Casings Co can supply natural casings 52 weeks of the year. We know year-round availability is vitally important.

The best New Zealand natural sausage casings for making premium delicious sausages.