Here's How to Select Casings for Sausage

Jun. 07, 2023

Selecting the right casings is a crucial step in the sausage-making process. Casings not only serve as a protective barrier for the filling but also contribute to the texture and appearance of the final product. Here are some factors to consider when selecting casings for sausage:


Natural Casings:

Natural casings are derived from the intestines of animals, typically pigs, sheep, or cattle. They are often preferred for their traditional appearance, texture, and authentic taste. When choosing natural casings, consider the following options:


  • a. Hog Casings: Hog casings are the most commonly used natural casings for sausages. They provide a firm and chewy texture, making them suitable for various sausage types such as breakfast sausages, bratwursts, and Italian sausages.


  • b. Sheep Casings: Sheep casings are thinner and have a delicate texture compared to hog casings. They are commonly used for smaller sausages like breakfast links or cocktail sausages.


  • c. Beef Casings: Beef casings are larger and thicker than hog or sheep casings. They are typically used for larger sausages like bologna or summer sausages.


 Sausage Casing

 Sausage Casing

Synthetic Casings:

Synthetic casings are man-made alternatives to natural casings. They offer consistency in size, appearance, and performance. Synthetic casings are often preferred for their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Consider the following options for synthetic casings:


  • a. Collagen Casings: Collagen casings are made from collagen, a protein derived from animal hides or bones. They are uniform in size and have excellent strength and elasticity. Collagen casings are versatile and can be used for a wide range of sausages, from fresh to smoked varieties.


  • b. Cellulose Casings: Cellulose casings are made from plant fibers, typically wood pulp. They are non-edible and need to be peeled off before consuming the sausage. Cellulose casings are commonly used for sausages that require smoking or cooking, such as summer sausages or hot dogs.


  • c. Plastic Casings: Plastic casings, usually made of polyethylene, provide excellent moisture and oxygen barrier properties. They are used for sausages that require high durability and extended shelf life, such as processed or cured sausages.

 C400 Smokable Casings

C400 Smokable Casings 

Size and Diameter:

Consider the desired size and diameter of your sausages when selecting casings. The size of the casings will determine the final thickness of the sausages. Different casings come in various diameters, ranging from small breakfast sausages to larger salamis or bolognas. Choose casings that match the desired thickness and appearance of your sausages.


Preparation and Handling:

Consider the ease of preparation and handling of the casings. Natural casings usually come packed in salt or brine and require soaking and rinsing before use. Synthetic casings are typically ready to use and require minimal preparation. Consider the level of convenience and preparation time you are willing to invest in when choosing casings.


Cooking Method and Intended Use:

The cooking method and intended use of the sausages will influence the casing selection. For example, if you plan to smoke the sausages, choose casings that can withstand high heat and retain moisture. If you intend to grill or pan-fry the sausages, casings that provide a crispy or snap texture when cooked may be preferred.


Cultural or Traditional Considerations:

Certain sausage recipes or cultural traditions may call for specific types of casings. It can be beneficial to research regional or traditional sausage-making methods to ensure authenticity and maintain the desired flavor profile.

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