Preparing the Casings - There are four basic steps to preparing casings for stuffing.

SALTED:

  1. Rinse salt from casings with fresh water.
  2. Soften by soaking in fresh water at room temperature (approximately 21 Deg.C [70 Deg.F]) for 45 minutes to one hour. When hanks are placed in water, gently hand massage them to separate the strands and prevent dry spots which may adversely affect the stuffing process.
  3. Take casings to stuffing table. Place in bath of fresh water. This water should be warmer to render a little of the natural fat in the casing. This will help to allow the casing to slide from the stuffing horn more readily.
  4. Preflush the casings by introducing water into the casings and allow to run through the casing. This will also facilitate getting the casing onto the filling horn and moving the casing smoothly during the filling process.

PRE-FLUSHED IN SLUSH: 

Requires somewhat less labor and time before stuffing, but all four steps should be followed.

PRE-FLUSHED WET PACK:

Goods are packed in a brine with lesser amounts of salt. Requires only steps 3 and 4. Pre-tubed goods (casings on plastic tubes to speed production) usually come this way. Tubed goods may require a charge of water after they are on the stuffing horn; this is done using a horn made specifically for that purpose.

PRE-FLUSHED IN SOLUTION:

Requires no soaking time. Only steps 3 and 4 need to be performed. Casings packed this way are more prone to damage in shipping and/or from temperature changes. These casings should be purchased in smaller amounts - usually a 2 to 3 month supply, although they can be kept longer. Barrels should be carefully inspected, with leakers used first, employing steps 3 and 4.

Tubed casings:
Tubed casings are a labor saving device for the sausage maker allowing increased speed and efficiency in his production. Because tubed casings can be prepared with multiple strands of casing, the result is faster handling and stuffing times. Whether on soft or hard tubes, they are still treated by any of the above methods, depending on the requirements of the sausage maker and the type of sausage being made.

Soaking instructions of tubed casings can vary widely depending on the condition of the casings. Many sausage makers soak the tube casings over night since it can take a lot longer for the water to rehydrate the tubed casings compared with normal salted casing.