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I'm about to make some sausages and need a casing. What are the benefits of using natural casing when making sausages?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you're planning to smoke your sausages, natural casings will allow for greater smoke penetration than many non-natural casings, and they won't impart any odd flavors of their own to the meat. That said, when you first open a container of natural casings, they may have a strong smell because of gas build-up; let them air out (in the fridge!) and they'll be fine.

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Note that if you have to do some cleaning, a "gentle" scrape with a large spoon works wonders - we did this as a kid when we preserved our own meat and made a LOT of sausages - smoking them all. You can easily turn them inside-out to get both sides if you use a bit (cup full?) of water as a "pusher". – Mark Schultheiss Sep 7 '10 at 19:26

I personally think the natural casing has a better texture more of a "snap" so to speak.

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I definitely find that non natural casings tend to produce a more rubbery sausage. – NBenatar Sep 7 '10 at 20:04

Natural casings also make dried sausages breathe easier and let the water come out (which eliminates bacteria growth inside). It would also be tough to eat if you're making fresh sausage; it would be like eating a bologna without removing the skin.

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Natural casings tend to "thin" as you smoke them more than artificial ones which seems to allow better/more even smoke flavor permiation.

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