Filling sausage casings will take a little practice, but the basic method is fairly simple. Cleaning your preparation area and gathering all of your equipment before you start will help focus your attention on the stuffing procedure. Having a friend help you, at least the first time, isn't a bad idea either. Remember that you will be working with raw meat and keep food safety at the top of the list.
Separate several sausage casings from the package and place them in a large bowl. It will take practice to know how many casings you need for the amount of meat you have. Start with a large amount; the leftover casings can be stored and reused.
Soak the casings in lukewarm water for several minutes. Drain, refill the soaking bowl and soak for at least 45 more minutes.
Prepare your apparatus for stuffing while the casings soak. You may have a small home machine for this purpose, or a food processor with a sausage-making attachment. If you have neither, use a piping bag that you would use for cake frosting. Use the largest tip you have for the bag.
Remove the sausage meat from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before stuffing. The meat should be a bit above room temperature to keep it safe and easy to work with. If it has been frozen, make sure it is completely thawed as any frozen material can split the casings.
Take each casing out of the bowl and flush water through it. Place it back in the bowl of water. You will be pulling casings out of this bowl when stuffing the sausage.
Fill your sausage maker, food processor or piping bag with the sausage meat.
Tie off one end of the casing with a double knot and place the open end over the nozzle of the tube on the food processor or the piping bag. If you are using a piping bag, have a friend help you hold the casing in place while you squeeze the sausage meat through the bag.
Fill the casing with the sausage meat, taking care not to make it so tight that it will burst through. This will take practice, and you may go through a couple of casings before you get the feel of it. Fill the entire casing and tie off the other end.
Make links by either tying off lengths of sausage with twine or pinching and twisting the casing. You can make the links as long or as short as you like. Cut them with kitchen scissors once both ends have been tied. Prick each link with a toothpick to release any trapped air.
Store the filled links in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Sausage needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 71.1 degrees C in order to be eaten safely. Raw sausage meat should be cooked within two days of purchase or thawing.
Sausage casings can be ordered online or purchased at speciality food shops. Talk to the meat manager at your supermarket or a butcher about where to buy casings locally.
Tips and warnings
- Sausage casings can be ordered online or purchased at speciality food shops. Talk to the meat manager at your supermarket or a butcher about where to buy casings locally.