Homemade Sausage Casings

Fresh from the pig, unrinsed small intestine

There is shockingly little information on how to make your own sausage casings on the internet or in any of my books.  Either this is because it’s a bad idea and everyone knows it, or everyone just thinks it’s a bad idea and hasn’t tried it.  So tried it.  It’s really not as horrific as you would think.

The first step is to get the small intestine separated from the rest of the gut mess.  It’s all wrapped up in a membrane, but if you just hook a section with your finger and tug I found it comes out quite easily.  I expected to make a lot of mistakes so I pulled intestine until I got to a section clearly too big for brats, as that’s the biggest sausage I want to make this time.

While you’re still outside take an open section of intestine, thread it over the hose and gently flush it with water to get all the partially digested hog food out.  This is where I sprayed everyone with gut water, sorry.  

Back at the house I repeated the same flushing process at the sink just to make sure everything was completely cleaned out.  Anywhere the water blew through and made a hole I just cut it into a new section.  After this I soaked it in cold saltwater over night.

The next day I turned the intestines inside out by threading them over the faucet at the sink and letting the water fill up a fold and pull the outside in.  It can be helpful to stand on a chair to give your more height, and the water more weight.

Then the part I was dreading, the scraping.  The inside pink layers needs to be scraped out until the intestines, which we can call casings after this point, are basically clear and one layer.  This was actually really easy, and not at all unpleasant since I had an audiobook to listen to.  I used a dull table knife, and it took me about an hour to scrape 38 feet.

We won’t be using them on this pig, so I’m going to save them until next month when we do the next two hogs.  Probably they would be just fine dried out in their salt, but I went ahead and put them in the freezer just in case.

Turning the casing (now that it’s cleaned) back on itself. You can see how much thinner and clearer it is now that it has been scraped.

The only notable downside to this process is that hog guts are pretty large.  Fine for brats, but bigger than I want for breakfast sausage.  I will be looking for a goat or sheep now.

Check back with us tomorrow when we prepare the innards for eating!  

Salted and into the fridge

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