I'm about to make some sausages and need a casing. What are the benefits of using natural casing when making sausages?
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.
I personally think the natural casing has a better texture more of a "snap" so to speak.
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.
Natural casings tend to "thin" as you smoke them more than artificial ones which seems to allow better/more even smoke flavor permiation.