FAQs

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know
about sausage casings

Are sausage skins the same as sausage casings?

Yes. The proper name for the outside of a sausage is a ‘casing’ but sausage casings are often casually referred to as ‘sausage skins’. The primary purpose of a sausage casing is to keep all of your sausage meat together. However, natural sausage casings also stop your beautiful sausage juices from escaping (meaning a juicer/less dry sausage) whilst simultaneously absorbing your BBQ flavours and aroma’s. Isn’t mother nature clever.

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.

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. The measurement is the diameter of a casing once stuffed. 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. This is about the same size as a NZ $2 coin. 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 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 your casings edible or do I need to peel them off my sausage?

Yes they are. We only use natural sausage casings from sheep so they are edible.

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 ‘The Craftsman’ (2x 10m lengths) threaded onto hard pipe. This product makes approximately 6kg of sausages or 85 sausages
– 40m ‘Home Pack Hero’ (4x 10m lengths) threaded onto hard pipe. This product makes approximately 12kg of sausages or 170 sausages
– 90m ‘Butchers Best Friend’ (9x 10m lengths) threaded onto soft tube.  This product makes approximately 28kg of sausages or 384 sausages

How do I work out what length of Casings I need for my meat?

1kg of Meat requires 3.2m of Casings. To work out the length of casings you need, multiply your KG of meat by 3.2. This will give you the length of casings you need in Metres eg I have 12.4kg of Meat. 12.4 * 3.2 = 40m of Casings required.
Assumes 24-26 Sheep Casings. 14cm sausages. Numbers are a guide only.

How do I calculate how many sausages I can make with my casings?

1m of Casings makes 311g of Sausages. To work out how many sausages you can make with your casings, multiply your metres of casings by .311. This will give you how many KG of sausages you will produce eg I have 20m of Casings. 20 * 0.311 = 6.2kg of Sausages.
Assumes 24-26 Sheep Casings. 14cm sausages. Numbers are a guide only.

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. It is essential to rinse and soak your casings before filling your sausages.

You must Rinse your all visible salt off the casings. Do this by running the casing under the tap using cold water. Try to massage between the folds. Do not remove the casing from the tube provided.

Once rinsed, you must soak your casings in fresh, warm water, ideally between 20 and 30 degrees. (FYI your body temperature is 37 degrees so your water should be cooler than your body temp). Make sure they are fully submerged and avoid water any hotter than 30 degrees. Soak your casings for at least 45 minutes. Alternatively, casings can be soaked overnight in cold tap water.

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 according to our storage instructions below…

How do I store your Casings? 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 finely ground salt eg normal table salt (no fancy flaked salt or rock salt here thank you). The easiest way to do this is to put your casing in a bowl and sprinkle a generous amount of salt over it, then roll the casing around in the salt. The salt will stick to the residual moisture on the casing. You want the casing to be completely covered in salt. More salt is better than not enough so if in doubt add more, too much salt will not harm the product.
2) Keep Air Tight. Wrap in clingfilm/gladwrap and put back into the pouch packaging or into a 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.

Can I freeze your casings?

Technically you can freeze your casings. However, we do not recommend it as it does damage their structure and will weaken them. We recommend storing in the fridge according to storage instructions above.

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.

What are 'shorts'?

‘Shorts’ are any short off-cuts of sausage casings that could vary from 1 metre -6 metres in length. There are a number of manufacturers out there who cheekily 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 are proud to have a no ‘shorts’ guarantee for these products. 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 3 x 30m lengths of casings or 9 x 10m lengths (as our online products do)

What is a 'tube'?

Some Casings suppliers thread their casings onto plastic tubes that allows for easy transfer of casings onto the filling horn/nozzle of your sausage stuffers/maker. This minimizes the risk of tangling or tearing and saves you time.  These tubes can be soft or hard, with hard tubes being the easiest to transfer. We thread our 20m and 40m product onto hard tubes. Our 90m product is threaded onto soft tubes.

Where can I buy 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.

What is the difference between 'Made in New Zealand' and 'Product of New Zealand'

‘Product of New Zealand’ is New Zealand sourced raw material that is shipped to China and other various countries for processing and packing, often being mixed with product from other countries along the way. It is then on-shipped to the market to be sold in. Sadly, most New Zealand originating raw material is sent to China to be processed.
‘Made in the New Zealand’ is a New Zealand sourced product manufactured and processed right here in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Casings Co casings are all ‘Made in New Zealand’. They contain 100% sourced New Zealand product and are 100% processed and packed in New Zealand.

I live in NZ, how much does shipping cost and how long does it take?

We offer free New Zealand shipping on all orders except Rural Delivery, which costs a flat fee of $5. We aim to dispatch all orders received before 1pm on the same day, otherwise orders will be dispatched on the next working day. We expect delivery of your order to be within 1-3 business days for North Island and 2-5 business days for South Island. Rural deliveries may also take a further 2 days to arrive.  Occasionally weekends/public holidays or severe weather conditions can cause a delay in delivery.

I live in the USA. How many days will delivery take?

Our standard international shipping times to USA is 7-10 days, although hold ups can occur.  We are quite new to shipping to USA but most of our order have arrived within 7-9 days. You will automatically receive a tracking number when you place the order so you can track your parcel. We charge USD15 delivery fee for delivery to USA.

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