Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
hansjoakim

Storing natural hog casings

Recommended Posts

Hi,

A friend of mine purchased almost 15 meters of natural hog casings for me at a local butcher yesterday. The butcher told him that they usually stored their casings in a brine under refrigeration.

I am planning on using the casings in a couple of weeks time, and I have for now put them in a 5% brine in my fridge. Ruhlman and Polcyn's "Charcuterie" suggests that natural casings stored in a brine will keep roughly a month in the refrigerator, and I guess I should be able to use the casings within a month's time. However, do I need to use a stronger brine to keep them that long, or will a 5% brine do? Will an overnight soak be sufficient time to rid the casings of the salty flavour before filling?

This is my first time at making the real deal at home, so any thoughts and advice are very welcome!

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The brine solution used to store casings is around 25% salt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Long term store 'dry' in salt, in a closed jar, in the fridge.

But a couple of weeks isn't long term.

Brine % means different things to different people - beware!

To some it means % salt by weight in the brine, so saturated is about 30% at room temp.

To others it means the % of saturation ...

Tip/Hint before the first time -- buy a kitchen sink plughole strainer (normally used to prevent potato peelings etc from going down the drain). Its VERY useful when you are rinsing and flushing out your casings before use!

ADDED - a couple of hours soaking, followed by a few minutes of rinsing/flushing/playing, is fine for salt-stored casings. Overnight is maybe a bit much.


Edited by dougal (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys!

Really helpful advice there, thanks dougal. When I think of brines, I understand e.g. a 5% brine to be 5 parts salt per 100 parts water (50 grams salt per liter water). Perhaps I'm wrong? Should a 5% brine technically be 5 parts salt and 95 parts water?

Ah, the confusion. And don't get me started on baker's math ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep mine in the freezer in a strong brine. After defrosting I then soak for 1 hour and then rinse inside and out to get rid of the salt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food Man Chews,

I had the impression that one should avoid freezing casings, as that could cause small tears in the casings themselves. You haven't had any problems with that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Manufacturers for all of the salt-pack casings I've ever used do not recommend freezing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've successfully stored hog casings for a year without brine. Just throw a handful of salt on them and leave them in a plastic bag in the back of the fridge. Been doing this for years; it was recommended to me by a casing supplier as the best way to store casings long-term.

I've never had a need to freeze casings, but a chef friend does it all the time and hasn't had any problems.

It seems to be gospel that you need to run water through the inside of hog casings to rinse them out, despite the fact that it can be a pain in the butt if you're doing volume. I used to do it, too, but I've since worked at high-end artisanal charcuterie makers that don't, and there was nothing wrong with their product. They just soak casings for a few hours, none of the running-water-down-the-inside. I now usually don't bother with this step, and haven't noticed any difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've successfully stored hog casings for a year without brine. Just throw a handful of salt on them and leave them in a plastic bag in the back of the fridge. Been doing this for years; it was recommended to me by a casing supplier as the best way to store casings long-term.

I've never had a need to freeze casings, but a chef friend does it all the time and hasn't had any problems.

It seems to be gospel that you need to run water through the inside of hog casings to rinse them out, despite the fact that it can be a pain in the butt if you're doing volume. I used to do it, too, but I've since worked at high-end artisanal charcuterie makers that don't, and there was nothing wrong with their product. They just soak casings for a few hours, none of the running-water-down-the-inside. I now usually don't bother with this step, and haven't noticed any difference.

I do this as well,just cover with pickling salt, and refrigerate.I have some that are more than a year and are still good

Bud

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all the helpful replies!

I made my first batch of fresh sausage on saturday, and they turned out delicious! I used the fresh garlic sausage recipe from Ruhlman's and Polcyn's book, and me and my dinner guests found them very tasty indeed. I followed the metric measurements, used about 1.8 kg of pork shoulder butt and 400 gr of additional fat, and we found the sausages juicy and flavourful. Simple, but that was exactly what I was looking for in my first batch of sausges. I had dinner guests over, and served the sausages together with braised pork belly, potato puree and spring vegetables. A true celebration of the pig.

Thanks again guys!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    • By smeems
      Hi.  I'm brand new to this site.  I used to be on Chowhound but I see now that that site is a mess. I found this site and it looks pretty cool.  The main reason I joined is  I’m looking for recommendations for a restaurant to hold my wedding in March 2018. We were hoping maybe in Brooklyn but we are open to anything interesting. There will be 55-60 people and the ceremony will also be at the restaurant. I’m thinking of a brunch/early afternoon affair, most likely on a weekend. Would love to find a funky/old school/unique/charming type of place for my sweetheart. Inexpensive please! Thank you in advance!
    • By yoboseyo
      Novice at meat-curer looking for advice. I'm making 2 pancettas this season.
       
      The first one I used the over-salting technique. What I didn't expect was that the salt would all turn into brine in a day, and I expected that I could scrape away the excess salt at the end. Instead, I left it on the brine for too long, and the result was too salty. The meat firmed up in 2 days so I should've taken it out then.
       
      For my second one, which is currently in the fridge, I used the equilibrium salting technique. I added about 100g salt for 3.5kg meat. The problem now is that it's not firming up seemingly at all! It has been 9 days in the fridge, and flipping it every day or 2. After 6 days, however, there was no pool of brine left. I put the meat in a folded over but unsealed bag. Did the brine evaporate or resoak into the meat?
       
      Any advice on how to continue would be appreciated.
    • By davidcross
      I made some Lonza and cured it for 2 weeks.
       
      In the drying chamber (70% humidity and 55F with gentle air flow) it's only been 4 days but it's already lost 30% of its pre-drying chamber weight. Normally that can take weeks.
       
      Is that normal, and is the meat ready?
       
      Thank you
    • By davidcross
      My first Guanciale is looking good. It smells clean, fresh, and is firming up nicely after about 3 weeks in the curing chamber at 65% humidity and 55F. First piece slices nicely and it seems great.
       
      I've a question…
       
      On the outside are some tiny white/straw-colored flecks (ignore darker flecks - this is some remaining Thyme from the cure).
       
      They do not penetrate the skin and I am not sure whether it's mold or salt coming out or fat or what.
       
      Thoughts? Likely safe?
       
      Thank you



  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×