How to Find the Best Sheep Casings for Meat [2022]

Meat lovers everywhere know that once you taste a sausage you have made yourself, using a combination of your favorite ingredients and seasoning, you simply cannot go back to store-bought sausages.

However, making sausages can get frustrating if you don’t have the suitable casings for the job. Bad sausage casings can be challenging to handle, refusing to expand enough to fit over the tube of your sausage stuffer. What’s worse, some might even rip apart as you do the stuffing, creating a stressful mess.

A good casing for meat stuffing has to be elastic, soft, strong, and durable. Sheep casings check all of these boxes. They are natural casings that give you the most tender sausages compared to other types of casings. Sheep casings are a great option when you make different varieties of sausages or hot dogs.

We have gone through different vendors to find the very best sheep casings for meat.

If you’re in a rush, here’s a snapshot of our top picks.

At a Glance: 6 Best Sheep Casings for Meat

Name Dimensions Best for Weight More Info
LEM Products Vacuum Sealed Sheep Casings 9” x 6” x 0.6” Mid-sized sausages 6.24oz Find out more
DeWied Natural Sheep Casings 11” x 6” x 1” Long-term use 5oz Find out more
The Sausage Maker Natural Sheep Sausage Casings 5” x 1” x 7” Differently-sized sausages 3.99oz Find out more
LEM Products Pre-Tubed Casings 7.56” x 5.04” x 1.1” Easy stuffing 5.4oz Find out more
The Sausage Maker 28mm Natural Sheep Casings  3.5” x 3.5” x 6.5” Large sausages 2lbs Find out more
Ztiews Natural Sheep Casings 2.45” x 3.28” x 7.44 Thin sausages 1.8oz Find out more

Selection Criteria

To determine which sheep casing made our list, we took the following important factors into account:

  • Highly Elastic: As the name suggests, sausage stuffing involves a lot of pushing and pulling. An inelastic casing will be useless because it will break under pressure. All the sheep casings on our list have a proven record of being elastic and easy to manipulate so you can adequately stuff meat without them breaking.
  • Non-Intrusive Taste: Since sheep casings are edible, it is not difficult to find casings that have an overpowering taste and smell. This can make all your sausages inedible and lead to a lot of waste. We have selected casings that have a proven record of being easy to clean out to remove the smell of stored meat and the taste of salt. This guarantees you an enjoyable cooking experience.
  • Durable: Good-quality sheep casings will not go bad when properly stored. We have picked casings that have a long shelf-life, including those that come in resealable vacuum bags to ensure you can store them properly. And even the ones that do not have this feature will give you a lot of use if you store them properly in a refrigerator.

Reasons to Buy Sheep Casings for Meat

Tender

Sheep casings are the softest and most tender among all the other types of natural casings. While this would make stuffing the casings difficult due to the possibility of breaking, sheep casings do not often have this problem. Their elasticity makes them quite malleable to expansion without splitting. The result is sausages that are easy to cook and eat, great for an easy breakfast or a quick snack.

Versatile

Sheep casings have been used for years to make different types of sausages. Since they are very elastic, sheep casings can be used to make thick sausages just as well as they make thinner types of sausages. This versatility means that you do not need too many different types of casings in the home in order to get a variety of sausage tastes.

Edible

Sheep casings are all-natural, and so they do not need to be removed after cooking. They also have a natural taste and smell that does not interfere with the ingredients of your sausages. As a matter of fact, when cleaned properly, the taste of the casings will be almost entirely undetectable. Sheep casings are therefore ideal if you want to move your sausages from the grill to the plate without spending the time to remove the casings.

Tips for Using Sheep Casings for Meat

Soak in Clean Water

Casings are often dried and salted before they are packaged. This is done to increase their shelf-life. As a result, they come out of the package feeling tough to the touch and almost impossible to expand. Before you stuff your casings, soak them in water. Immerse them in warm water for half an hour to dissolve the salt used to preserve them and soften them. If the water becomes murky, change it out for clean water. Once you can open the ends of the casings, place them over a faucet and let the warm water run through them. This rinses the salt out of the inside of the casings. Return them into clean hot water one more time, squeezing the excess out before you start the stuffing process. This helps stretch out and expand the casings. It also reduces the chances of the taste of the casings from interfering with your sausages.

Leave Some Space

When stuffing meat inside the casings, ensure to leave some space at each end. Pinch the bottom end of the casing before you crank your sausage stuffer to fill it up. Once you get the size you want, leave a bit more space at the top. Doing this helps prevent overstuffing the casing, reducing the chances of them bursting. It also gives you a lot of space to tie the ends to secure them for cooking. If your casings do not already have them, you can poke small holes with a needle throughout the casing to provide space for air to go through. This goes a long way in preventing the casing from bursting due to expanding air as your sausages cook.

Salt Before Storing

Unless you are doing some heavy-duty sausage-making, chances are that you will have a lot of casings left behind after you are done. Storing these properly is key if you want to reuse them. If you had soaked more casings that you needed, sprinkle them with non-iodized salt then hang them out to dry for a few days. You can then use the package they came in and store them in the fridge. If the package is damaged, find a bag with a vacuum seal to keep your casings fresh for longer.

6 Best Sheep Casings for Meat

1. LEM Products Vacuum Sealed Sheep Casings

These sheep casings from LEM Products are a good choice for kicking off our list. The LEM Products Vacuum Sealed Sheep Casings are all-natural and edible, a product of well-bred sheep. They are ideal for making sausage links and snack sticks.

This 5-ounce package comes with 243 casings that can expand to around ¾ inches. You can use these casings to stuff up to 15 pounds of meat, making these vacuum-sealed sheep casings ideal if you frequently home make your sausages. You can salt and refrigerate the casings for up to a full year.

To get the casings ready for stuffing, soak them in warm water for up to an hour. This makes them soft so they can expand readily as you do the stuffing. You can fry, grill, or broil the stuffed casings without them bursting or splitting. When you take a bite, keep an ear out for a distinctive pop sound that is characteristic of these casings.

Pros

  • It features enough casings for long-term use.
  • All-natural and soft compared to different types of casings.
  • Elastic and can be cooked through without bursting.
  • Make a pop sound when chewed, indicating high quality.
  • It can be refrigerated to maintain freshness.

Cons

  • The casings need to be unpacked carefully as they are tangled up in the packet.

2. DeWied Natural Sheep Casings

The DeWied Natural Sheep Casings are a great option to have around if you love making sausages for the family. These all-natural sheep casings come packed in a resealable pouch so you can take what you need and refrigerate the rest. The casings are ideal for making beef sausages, pork sausages, and even Russian sausages.

These edible casings are made from well-bred sheep. They are strong and will not easily split when you stuff meat inside. They can expand to around ⅞ inches, making them ideal for making different types of sausages. The combined length of the casings is around 30 feet, so you can decide which length you want your sausages to be.

To use the casings, soak them in clean, warm water for up to 45 minutes. They are made from a simple mixture of sheep innards, water and salt. This means their taste and smell will not interfere with the ingredients you use to make your sausage stuffings. You can rest assured that your favorite sausage recipe will taste exactly how you like it when you use these sheep casings.

Pros

  • All-natural and edible.
  • Long enough to sustain long-term use.
  • Soft and elastic for easy stuffing.
  • The natural smell does not interfere with sausage ingredients.
  • It can last up to 2 years if resealed in a vacuum-sealed bag.

Cons

  • They might need soaking in vinegar to reduce their natural smell.

3. The Sausage Maker Natural Sheep Sausage Casings

These Natural Sheep Sausage Casings from The Sausage Maker are ideal for making breakfast sausages, hot dogs or stick snacks for you and your loved ones. The casings in this package can make sausages from around 15 pounds of meat. This means they can last you a few months or more depending on how often you use them.

This is a package of shorts, which means the casings come in different lengths. The casings can expand from between 20mm to 26mm. The diameter is suitable for different types of mid-sized sausages and hot dogs.

The packet of casings contains non-iodized, pure salt that keeps the casings fresh and enhances their lifespan. To use, make sure you flush out the insides to remove the salt. Soaking the casings in water rejuvenates them and makes them easy to expand while stuffing. Make sure the unused casings are properly refrigerated so that they do not spoil.

Pros

  • Enough casings to make more than a dozen pounds of sausages.
  • Elastic and can make thicker sausages.
  • Come in varying lengths so you can make different types of sausages.
  • Pre-soaked in brine and packaged in salt to elongate shelf-life.
  • Unused casings can be easily preserved via refrigeration.

Cons

  • The different lengths can make it difficult to determine which casings are right for the sausages you are making.

4. LEM Products Pre-Tubed Casings

These Pre-Tubed Sheep Casings from LEM Products are a great option if you make large amounts of sausages. If you are a hunter who likes many sausages at one go, or if you make sausages for sale, then pick this packet. It has enough sheep casings for up to 25 pounds of meat.

This package features edible casings made from natural, well-bred New Zealand sheep. The casings can expand up to ¾ inches wide, making them ideal to make bigger sausages like the British Bangers. These casings are packed in a vacuum-sealed bag and can be stored in the fridge for up to a year.

Since these casings are pre-tubed, it means they come readily fitted on a straw. To use, you first need to soak the casings in water for 30 minutes and flush warm water through them. You should then angle the straw of the casings over the stuffing tube of your sausage maker. Once the fit is made, you can then pull out the straw to stuff the casing with meat. Pre-tubing reduces the hassle of finding the end of a casing and the trouble of trying to expand a casing to fit over a sausage stuffer.

Pros

  • All-natural, made from well-bred sheep.
  • Long enough to hold up to 25 pounds of meat.
  • Suitable for making thick sausages.
  • Pre-tubing simplifies the stuffing process.
  • Resealable packaging allows them to remain fresh for longer.

Cons

  • The casings need to be soaked to remove the natural smell.

5. The Sausage Maker 28mm Natural Sheep Casings

These Natural Sheep Casings from The Sausage Maker are the largest variety we have in our selection. The casings in the jar are enough to make sausages for meat quantities of up to 50 pounds. If you run a small sausage business or like making enough sausages for the year at one time, then these sheep casings will be ideal for you.

You are guaranteed quality, durable natural casings from Australian and New Zealand sheep. The casings can expand up to 1⅛ inches wide. If you like chunky bratwursts or hot dogs, then these casings are for you. They are very elastic and will not snap when you stuff them. When cooking, heat can penetrate through the casing to evenly cook the meat.

To use, you should also flush the insides with water to soften and make the casings more malleable to expansion. After that, soak them in water for up to 1 hour to remove the strong taste of salt from the brine these casings were conditioned in. If you are making links, ensure you do not fully stuff the casings so that there is space to twist. If you do not use up all the casings, put them back inside the jar, seal it, and refrigerate until next time.

Pros

  • Can make sausages that are up to 1⅛ inches wide.
  • The casings are soft and elastic for easier stuffing.
  • The edible and natural smell does not interfere with sausage ingredients.
  • Feature a lot of casings for making numerous sausages.
  • Can be refrigerated to enhance their lifespan.

Cons

  • They come in short 3-foot lengths, meaning you have to frequently reload the casings on the stuffer tube.

6. Ztiews Natural Sheep Casings

In contrast to the previous sausage casings, the Ztiews Natural Sheep Casings are designed for making smaller sausages. The casings can expand up to around ⅛ inches, which makes them ideal to use for making sausage snack sticks or breakfast sausages.

This package features 10 pieces of sausage casings, each measuring around 8.2 feet in length. So even though they are thin, the casings are long enough to give you months of continuous sausage-making. The casings are elastic and can be twisted to form links without breaking.

These sheep casings are also very high-quality and long-lasting. Their thin size means that they can quickly dry in the sun so you can preserve your sausages. It also means they cook fast, ideal for a quick, healthy breakfast in the morning. Once the casings are stuffed and dried, they can last up to a month in the fridge before they go bad.

Pros

  • Ideal for making thinner sausages and snack sticks.
  • Long casings give you a lot of use.
  • Elastic and robust to withstand stuffing without breaking.
  • Thin structure makes them easy to cook through.
  • They have a long shelf-life.

Cons

  • The small size limits the versatility one gets from the casings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the difference between hanks and shorts?

Answer: In the casing industry, there are full-length casings also called hanks, and others in lesser lengths called shorts. Hanks is about 100 yards long and is more suited to large-scale sausage making. Shorts measure only a few feet in length and can commonly be found in home packs.

Question: How do I tie the ends of my casings?

Answer: Sheep casings are very tender, and thus the ends are not often tied using hog rings. Twisting the ends is a common method when making sausage links. Turn one end of the casing counterclockwise, then tie the other end in a clockwise direction. This twist alternation helps to better secure the casings. Butcher’s twine is also another useful method that is very effective for sheep casings. It also makes for artisanal-looking sausages, ideal for a brunch meal.

Question: What do I do if my casings won’t open?

Answer: Sometimes the ends of a casing will refuse to open even after soaking in warm water. When this happens, soak for longer, changing out the water every hour. If possible, soak the casings the night before you need to stuff them to increase the chances of success.

Question: What is the difference between hanks and shorts?

Answer: In the casing industry, there are full-length casings also called hanks, and others in lesser lengths called shorts. Hanks is about 100 yards long and is more suited to large-scale sausage making. Shorts measure only a few feet in length and can commonly be found in home packs.

Question: How do I tie the ends of my casings?

Answer: Sheep casings are very tender, and thus the ends are not often tied using hog rings. Twisting the ends is a common method when making sausage links. Turn one end of the casing counterclockwise, then tie the other end in a clockwise direction. This twist alternation helps to better secure the casings. Butcher’s twine is also another useful method that is very effective for sheep casings. It also makes for artisanal-looking sausages, ideal for a brunch meal.

Question: What do I do if my casings won’t open?

Answer: Sometimes the ends of a casing will refuse to open even after soaking in warm water. When this happens, soak for longer, changing out the water every hour. If possible, soak the casings the night before you need to stuff them to increase the chances of success.

Final Thoughts

The LEM Products Vacuum Sealed Sheep Casings in our opinion is the best overall sheep casings for meat. They are elastic enough to make sausages that are up to ¾ inches thick, and long enough to pack up to 15 pounds of meat. The casings can be stored in the same vacuum-sealed bag they come in, making it easy to keep them fresh for longer.

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