How To Make Sausage Without Casing

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by carlo1, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. carlo1

    carlo1

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    I plan on opening up a food service business in the near future and sausage will be an important meat on my menu. The problem is I don't like sausage in casing. I much prefer sausage in patty form. I don't like the snap nor the occasional tug from a loose casing, so I don't want my customers experiencing the same. The only problem is when I make sausage in patty form the appearance of the sausage  looks tacky in it's presentation. It's look like a cheap breakfast sausage from Mrs. Field.... lol

    I've tried forming the sausage by hand in tube form but it comes out looking lame and not appetizing looking. I've also tried putting sausage in cellophane and twirling both ends to shape it (like mozzerella), but the sausage comes out way too thick. Also grilling sausage in tube form w/o casing is next to impossible on a grill w/o breaking the sausage into pieces.

    The place I'm going to open is not going to be extravagant. It's gonna be a peasant italian food place. Dishes like giambotta, sausage and broccoli rabe, sausage and pepper heros will be some of the items. When these items are presented with a sausage link either whole or cut up they look much more presentable. Throwing a couple of sausage patties onto a delicious piece of italian bread with some peppers sorta makes you think twice about eating the darn thing although imo it tastes so much better w/o casing. I love the taste of the little char you get on sausage w/o casing, especially the cheesy sausage I make.

    My wife says the presentation is just as important as the taste. I disagree. If the place was an extravagant place i would agree, but my idea is to bring out a menu that is very cost friendly with tasty food.Is it possible to find neutral ground ? What do you folks think ?
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Your wife is right.

    Try par-cooking by poaching just long enough for the sausage to retain its shape, then cool and remove the casing before further cooking.

    Good luck with your new place!

    BDL
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I vote with BDL on this one. Semi-poaching is the way to go.

    If you're making your own sausage mix you can accomplish the same thing using plastic wrap as a temporary casing. This allows you to form the sausage as thick or thin, long or short, as you like, and the cling film can handle the temperature of the poaching liquid. That, for instance, is one of the ways I do fish sausages.

    Keep in mind, though, that you should not be imposing your taste preferences on your customers, many of whom will prefer (or at least expect) a casing. So give some thought to how you're going to handle that.
     
  4. benway

    benway

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    Try all the options your purveyors carry as far as casings.  They don't all have to be tough and rubbery.  Chances are someone out there makes a casing you can live with.
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I agree, keep your wife around.........The first thing you learn as a chef, don't make the menu around your likes and dislikes, make it for the tastes of the masses...............ChefBillyB
     
  6. carlo1

    carlo1

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    The wife definetely stays !!!!   .... she's the one with the cooking savvy. Par boiling is a very interesting solution that my wife nor I ever thought about. Gotta give that a try and hopefully cutting the casings off after par boiling is not too labor intensive of a task. Thank you for that idea.

    I also understand that my taste preferences are not something I should impose on my customers. But when I feel strongly about something, I want to go with my gut. I love sausage more than most, but throughout my life I never really was a fan for the casing. When making a giambotta in the oven the casing of the sausage always gets tough. On the grill, sausage usually splits and the casing usually burns off to an extent. My BIG CIONCERN is that a customer bites into the sausage and the casing is tough. All I know is that if that happens to me, I probably don't order that dish again and maybe not go back. Because sausage is gonna be an integral meat in my place I wanna guard against that happening at all costs, This is why I'm very interested in sausage with no casing.

    So as one poster mentioned ..... I could form the sausage in cellophane and then throw the cellophane in hot water and par boil without melted plastic ? This would sound much less labor intensive being that I don't have to case the sausage nor cut and take off the sausage casing. I'll definetely give that a try.

    Also ..... appealing to the masses is wise, but sometimes by taking risk you can be a game changer (or loser). I've read countless forums where I see people who love the "snap" of certain hot dogs and would not entertain a hot dog w/o the "snap". I know people like what's been around forever, but that doesn't mean trying something different won't work. I feel strongly about caseless sausage as long as it doesn't look like a patty or some lumpy tube. If I can't accomplish a good looking caseless sausage I'll go with the casing like 99.9% of the other establishments. But while I'm in the experemintation stage I'm gonna look for alternatives.

    Thanks everyone !
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Not par-boiling.  Par cooking by poaching in simmering water.  Not boiling.  Simmering.  Not boiling.  Not boiling.  [Sensing a theme yet?]

    Why not boiling?  Well, among other reasons the sausage will explode (not a good thing) instead of firming up (good thing). 

    You absolutely can poach in plastic wrap -- use the commercial grade not the home stuff.

    BDL
     
  8. maryb

    maryb

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    Patty press to get more uniform results? Cellophane casings are very tender when cooked and could be an option.
     
  9. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Cello casings (if you're talking about what I'm thinking of) are interesting, and not a bad choice for any number of sausage types -- including barbecued "hot links."  Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see them for Italian sausage.  Props to Mary B though.

    Regular synthetics should be just fine -- especially if you're planning on losing them after the par cook.  Collagen casings too.

    Speaking of barbecued, it doesn't apply to traditional Italian sausage, but smoking is another form of par-cooking that would net you nice firm sausage.  You could also put the sausage in a heavy, covered casserole like a rondeau or an oval, along with a very little liquid, and bake them off until firm -- which is pretty much the same thing as 'Q but without smoke..

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  10. carlo1

    carlo1

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    Haven't tried cello casings yet. I'll try and find them. I use the casings from the supermarket butcher. The same casings they use to make their sausage. I've tried them from 5 different butchers and have not been happy, although I know I'm being over critical about this because it's very important to me.

    BDL ..... gotcha about the par cooking (simmering). I will not drop them in a pot of water ...promise ..lol
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Carlo1,

    I was a butcher for 16 years, and for 10 of those years I made sausage. I was in a processing plant not a supermarket so lets figure this out. The concept of sausage is ground meat with a % of fat and seasonings for flavor in a casing to cook. When the meat cooks and the fat dissolves in the cooking process the meat binds together and forms a shape without falling apart. When we made sausage it was with ground meat not suitable for stakes or roasts,i.e trim or scraps. I personally think you are trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear,but lets continue. First of all are you using natural pork casings, or man made casings? The natural casings were created to contain poisons that would otherwise kill the animal. They are porous to allow moisture in to help move things along among other things. That is the reason they are tough and you cannot change that. You can however go with a lamb casing which are more tender but often break during stuffing and cooking. Have you considered the man made rice casings used for little pork breakfast sausage? They do not snap but they also cannot be grilled because they dissolve too quickly. What about injecting the sausage seasoning into long shaped chunks of meat from roasts? This would be able to be grilled, boiled, roasted, and even deep fried. Mix your seasonings with water and inject it into the meat which also acts as a marinade. You would have a leaner product and a flavorful one also.If you buy inside rounds, or pot roast and cut them your self it will be a lot more cost effective. Inject your seasonings after shaping and store in a sealed container until you are ready to cook. Try this and if it works maybe you could name it the Mac steak, my last name is MacDonald. Just a thought. 
     
  12. carlo1

    carlo1

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    I've used the natural hog casings only. My father-in-law who taught me how to make the sausage always told me to use these. I've also been on some websites that specialize in casings and they say the natural hog casings are the best for italian sausage. The websites also say all other casings are tougher than the hog casings.

    Now you tell me about rice casings that breakfast sausage is cased with...... very interesting. I'm gonna try those. Where do I get them ? I'll look online. You see I like my italian homemade sausage grilled w/o the casing, but I can only accomplish this in patty form. It's a different taste that I wanna bring to market, but like I mentioned in my original post, it is next to impossible grilling an uncased link sausage without it falling apart. If the rice casings keeps the link together initially till the meat binds thru cooking that would be perfect for what I'm trying to accomplish.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I used them so long ago it is hard for me to remember, but I think the manufactures name was Nippi. They were an Asian company, I think Japanese. When you stuff them be careful not to have too much moisture because they well soak it up and break easily.
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Flat collagen casings may be your best choice.  They're made for what you want to do.  That is, you stuff the sausage, cook it, and remove the casing yourself before service, final cooking, or retail.  They're also widely available.

    In your case it would probably mean offering a choice between "skinless" and "regular" Italian sausage on your menu.  On the positive side, skinless Italian might well generate some retail interest and package sales. 

    Since you already have the sausage making and stuffing equipment you might as well give a lot of these things a try.  What's it going to cost?  A few hours, a few pounds of meat, and minimum orders of a few types of casings.  

    By the way, I had "cello" casings mixed up with something else and have to say  I honestly don't know what cello casings are -- unless they're ordinary synthetic casing (like cow and pig casings).  My bad.  Perhaps the people who suggested them can explain or at least supply some typical examples.

    BDL
     
  15. maryb

    maryb

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  16. carlo1

    carlo1

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    I just did a bunch of research on all the different casings. The 3 most popular casings for my purpose .... hog, sheep and collagen.

    Hog ........is the most common for home made sausage. It's durable and edible, but Carlo doesn't like this so let's move on.

    Sheep .......is a very tender casing. Breakfast sausage is mostly made with this. Carlo thinks this is  a very interesting alternative.

    Collagen ....... I keep getting different opinions regarding this casing. There's no consensus that can be derived by researching on the internet. One school says they are very durable and can hold meats that are meant to be hung (dry sausage, etc). And another school says they're fine and used for breakfast sausage. Also it seems that collagen casings are used primarily by the commercial sausage market. So bottom line is that when you buy sausage from a commercial store you are most likely eating collagen casings.

    BDL, I saw those flat collagens and I thought they said they were good for bolognas and stuff, not sure though. I would rather not have to remove casing. I would much rather have the casing slowly deteriorate thru the cooking process, but have sausage keep its familiar link form for serving.

    Dave, maybe you can weigh in on the collagen casings ? Is this what I am looking for ? That company you mentioned, Nippi makes collagen casings but I saw no mention of rice based collagen casings. Collagens are made of cattle hide which certainly seems like it would be much tougher than the others.

    I guess I'll just have to experiment with them all like BDL said. When I do so I'll report back and tell all you helpful folks what I found.

    Remember, my ideal sausage is not skinless. My ideal sausage would be a sausage that is shaped well by the casing and that in no way shape or form can tug or snap when eating it.
     
  17. carlo1

    carlo1

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    Mary B ...... the website you showed is what confuses me. If collagens are good for smoked sausage how can they be the same for breakfast sausage ? Smoking sausage I would think would require a very durable casing. The differing sausage types mentioned on the website just don't seem uniform for a supposedly fine type casing imo. This is what confuses me with the collagen casing debate.
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Sheep casings are too small.  You'll end up with sausage the diameter of your little finger.  Not the right choice for you, I'd think. 

    There's all kinds of collagen coming in all kinds of sizes.  I recommended flat collagen, and you're right -- wrong stuff. 

    You might want to look at something like this

    It seems clear no one has the perfect answer for you on CT.  At least not yet.  Thus, the best plan is probably for you to start googling (or binging or whatever) "sausage casings," pick out a few types and sizes which look interesting, and try them out. 

    Bear in mind there may not be a casing which completely satisfies all of your criteria -- some of which are darn picky.  Don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

    BDL
     
  19. carlo1

    carlo1

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    That is EXACTLY the casing I think that would be good for me. But when using the same casing but larger size is good for smoking it makes me wonder. I will try the collagens first. I'd rather not try the sheep ..... yucky imo.

    Yes, I am picky. I'm basically a meat and potatoes type guy, but I want my meat and potatoes a certain way. A way that people like me will notice in a very subtle way. I live in a pretty much upscale area in northern new jersey and I can't find sausage that suits my taste anymore. The 1 or 2 places we used to get our sausage from have changed hands and quality went down. Commercial sausage I just can't trust, you know what I mean ? Sorry Dave.

    Too many times biting into sausage I've found myself chewing a glob of fat or a bone chip. It doesn't happen often, but enough to make me think twice of ordering it out. This is why I make my own now, and is also why I wanna fine tune this thing to make sausage a popular menu item. I love the margin on sausage compared to all other meats besides chicken. I know I'm picky but my wife isn't and she has some of the same reservations I have about sausage these days. The casing is my last hurdle with the sausage. If all ideas fail I will probably go with hog casings and go from there. But until I exhaust all opportunities I will continue to be picky. I'll have something to tell my customers when they tell me my sausage is the best ....lol
     
  20. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    I'm surprised no-one has mentioned chevapchichi (sp?).  You may want to look up recipes for/ ask questions about these.  They are easy to cook without breaking up, no skin, and delicious.   I think they are Greek, but could be tweaked to make them Italian.  I use them regularly - they may be called something else in your part of the world.

    But still, worth have a look see if you can't find a casing you prefer or messing about with wrap.

    For example, this one looks good:

    http://sekgamer.tripod.com/id18.html