How do I smoke home-made sausage without developing a really tough skin?

I make a lot of sausage during the summer months. Most of the time, I don't smoke them. I just stuff 'em and let them sit over night in the refrigerator to grill the next day and they are excellent. When I DO smoke them, I find that my casings become extremely tough and difficult to consume, even after I grill them to a crisp. Am I missing something? I usually do a hot smoke for an hour or so.

  • Posted by: Benny
  • May 7, 2012


hardlikearmour May 9, 2012
Maybe this cold-smoker idea would be useful. I've used it for cheese and to add smoke flavor to meat, but haven't used it for sausage. (see second photo)
usuba D. May 9, 2012
Do the hog casings have "whiskers" . . . fine strands coming off them. If so, a sign of unpeeled casings. Also try as the old style German butchers would do, cold smoke that sausages first, then cook in water no hotter than 180F. Can help to keep the casings more tender. Steaming on a home grill is very difficult (and could be dangerous) to do, but applying steam near the end of cooking with also tenderize the casing. Also, what is the meat you are stuffing. Poultry is too soft, tends to give one the impression that the casing is tough when you bite into the sausage. Pork and/or beef has more structure, hence it gives you something to bit against, thus an impression of a more tender casing. Another old trick is to denature the casing with vinegar, but that is tricky and needs lots of practice. Hope some of these ideas help.
Benny May 9, 2012
Typically, I stuff beef and/or pork sausages. The ones in question that I have tried to smoke were all pork. I never noticed any "whiskers" on my casings. I ALWAYS finish my sausage off on the grill to crisp up the skin whether they were hot smoked or fresh. only the smoked ones gave me the issues.

I'll definately give the cold smoke followed by cooking in water at 180F at try, and let you all know if that solved the problem. I'm thinking of stuffing my first batch this weekend. Thanks for the suggestion!
petitbleu May 9, 2012
Just out of curiosity, what kind of casings are you using?
Benny May 9, 2012
Hog casings.
ReneePussman May 8, 2012
Make sure you are smoking them at a relatively low temp. Around 200-225 for a few hours should suffice. Just until the inside is completely cooked. I wouldn't grill them after. No need
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