Sausage & Burger Making
Q: Are Collagen Casings suitable for Vegetarians ?
A: No. They are made from Beef Collagen which is collected from beneath the hide, it is then reconstituted to form a dry concertined collagen 'tube' or casing.
Q: Do you soak Collagen Casings in the same way that you soak Natural Casings ?
A: No. Collagen Casings are used dry. Simply place them over the nozzle of your stuffer and gently hold them back while you fill.
Q: What is the best Natural Casing for a beginner to use?
A: A lot of websites and books say that Hog Casings are the easiest to use for beginners. They are certainly more robust and easier to thread over the nozzle of your stuffer, but we feel with just a little more patience the Sheep Casings are not that much harder. We would advise to make the size of sausage you really prefer and choose the casings accordingly. Hog Casings will make a thicker Cumberland or BBQ type of sausage while Sheep Casings make a thinner 'chipolata' or breakfast sausage.
Q: How long will the Natural Casings last for?
A: All the Natural Casings are cured in salt and then vacuum packed before despatch. They all have a six month shelf life and we recommend they are kept in a tupperware container in the bottom of a fridge.
You can freeze the Beef Casings and the Hog Casings but the Sheep Casings loose some of their quality when frozen.
Q: When do you add the water to the rusk ?
A: We would always advocate adding the rusk dry to the mix . First mince the meat, then add the seasonings and mix in half of the water, continue to mix while gradually adding the rest of the water. Finally , once the mix is ready add the dry rusk or bread crumbs. Any remaining moisture will then be absorbed by the rusk. Doing it this way allows the action of the salt and water to change the structure of the meat and for the meat to retain some of the water. The rusk absorbs the remaining water and you end up with a much more succulent sausage that retains the moisture and dosen't leak the water either in the bag or in the frying pan. One reason why sausages might burst in the pan is that the water has not been mixed properly, hence it turns to steam and bursts the skin as it escapes. Hence the term 'banger'.
Q: What is Rusk and why is it added to sausages.?
A: Yeastless Rusk is simply unleavened bread that has been baked and dried before being ground into a fine crumb. You can also use regular breadcrumbs but using Rusk gives a good and consistent texture to the sausage, it also retains the moisture within the sausage better than breadcrumbs giving you a more succulent sausage, and finally because it is yeastless it gives the sausage a longer shelf-life.