I want to start making sausages, concentrating at first on types of smoked or fresh that would be stuffed into hog casings or beef middles ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.
I have two basic questions that I haven't been able to find answers to.
#1) Many places sell a hank of natural hog casings or beef middles packed in salt. They say to keep them in your fridge. About how big are the containers that these come in? For an example, here are a couple of choices I'm considering:
#21400 Hog Casings (1 1/2"-1 3/4") 38-42 MM
#23400 Beef Middles (2 1/4"-2 1/2") 57-63 MM
I figure those are about 200 feet of casings, packed in salt, and probably are fairly compact, but I want to make sure I have room for them before I buy them.
By the way I called Sausage Maker and the person on the phone couldn't answer my question. She said she'd call me back in a few minutes, but never did. That doesn't give me a lot of confidence, so I'll probably actually order from someone else. I'd like to be able to order from someone who can answer my questions. Got any suggestions?
#2) Take a look at that second link above. Sausage Maker says those beef middle casings are "not edible". Huh??? It's a natural casing. How could it be "not edible"? Their hog middles are described that way too.
Again, I asked the order taker and she could not provide a satisfactory answer. She confirmed it was a natural casing, but she said you have to peel it off the sausage when you eat it. Sounds nuts to me.
I thought a non-edible casing was a collagen or a plastic casing. Can anyone clarify?