Does Smoke Penetrate Sausage Casings? – Finally Answered

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Are you on the verge of making smoked sausages but confused about whether the smoke will go through the casing? In moments like these, you will wonder, “does smoke penetrate sausage casings?”

Yes, smoke usually penetrates all types of sausage casings, synthetic or natural. Although depending on the type, the time required to smoke the sausages will vary. For example, collagen casings will take less time to smoke than fibrous casings. But all casing types keep sausages’ flavor intact.

However, you need to be aware of different types of sausage casings and how to handle them to smoke them properly.

Types Of CasingsMade OfSoaking Time
Natural CasingsBeef rounds, hog, sheep, beef middles. At least 1 hour.
Collagen Casingscow or pig hides, bones, and tendons.They don’t need soaking.
Fibrous CasingsAbaca tree fibers, cellulose material.At least 25-30 minutes.

Let’s continue reading the article to learn more about sausage casings and smoking them. 

Does Smoke Penetrate Sausage Casings?

does smoke penetrate sausage casings

Casings are always used to make sausages. And while smoking sausages, you might wonder whether the smoke can reach the meat through the casing.

Fortunately, smoke will penetrate through any casing and into the sausage. Almost all casings, whether synthetic or natural, behave in this way.

The flavor of smoked sausage is unique; stuffing them into casings will keep the flavor from leaking.

So there’s no need to stress wrapping your sausage in a casing. All casings are pierceable; however, they don’t all create the same effects.

On the other hand, you need to be careful about eating sausage casings. Not all sausage casings are edible, as the synthetic ones are not suitable for eating.

Different Types of Sausage Casings

Different Types of Sausage Casings

Sausage shells are an integral step in manufacturing sausage. After all, a sausage wouldn’t be a sausage without a casing. Most sausage casings are made of natural materials like collagen or artificial fibrous materials and come in various shapes and sizes. 

The sausage casings can have three types based on the material used for producing the casing.

Natural Casings

The natural casings are made entirely from the small intestinal layer of animals. These layers are made up of collagen that is naturally produced. 

These casings have been used since the early days of sausage making. Hence, the natural casings are part of the classic sausage tradition. 

Furthermore, they are currently the most preferred option due to the “snap” they make when bitten. Additionally, they are malleable, sensitive, simple to fill, and strong enough to withstand processing in a smokehouse.

Collagen Casings

Collagen Sausage Casings are made from edible materials. These casings are made from the collagen found in the hides of cows or pigs, as well as from bones.

Compared to their natural counterparts, they offer better consistency in weight and size. They are also less expensive. For this reason, these casings are a popular choice when making sausages. 

Fibrous Casings

Fibrous casings are non-edible casings made of a cellulose-based substance that easily peels away when heated.

For creating sausages with a wider width, fibrous skins are the best option because they are composed of specifically produced paper and are viscose-coated. Because of this, you won’t have to worry about the casing breaking easily. 

Additionally, they are created from an exclusive tree known as the Abaca. The abaca tree produces fibers that are extremely durable but manageable and stretchy.

Can You Smoke Sausage With Collagen Casings?

Can You Smoke Sausage With Collagen Casings

Collagen casings are edible, which makes them a popular choice for sausages. But you might think, “Does smoke go through collagen casings?”

Yes, smoke certainly goes through collagen casings. As collagen casings are made from natural materials, they are more absorbent. 

However, collagen casings lose their durability when exposed to things like smoking. You must follow certain procedures as a result. You need to get natural casings ready and store them properly before utilizing them.

Before using them, they must first soak for about 45 minutes in water that is at room temperature. Additionally, the salt or brine they were kept in needs to be rinsed away. 

Collagen cases must be stored in the refrigerator with a brine or salt solution to keep them fresh. It is not advised to freeze natural casings since they can sustain damage.

Can You Smoke Fibrous Casings?

Similar to other casings, you can definitely smoke fibrous casings. But because of their material, they take longer to smoke.

Contrary to natural casings, fibrous casings are not edible. Because the skin on these casings is so tough, the sausage smokes more slowly. Compared to natural casings, they are less porous. 

Just like with collagen casing, you must prepare the fibrous casing first. Before cooking, smoke the fibrous casing in water for 30 minutes. And then you can smoke them.  

Should You Remove Casing From Smoked Sausage? 

In this article, you have already learned that smoke penetrates almost all the sausage casings. But as you already know, not all the casings are edible. 

You don’t need to remove the casing from sausages with collagen casing if you are smoking them. Because collagen casings are edible; however, if the sausage casings are fibrous, you must remove them after smoking.

Although inedible, you should keep the fibrous casing on while smoking, as it will trap the smoky flavors in the meat.

Four Tips for Smoking Sausages 

Four Tips for Smoking Sausages 

If you’re new to smoking sausages or an experienced smoker, take into account these tips:

Select The Proper Wood 

A number of smoking woods are available, each with a distinctive flavor.

Choose hickory- or mesquite-smoked sausage for a more robust flavor. For a softer flavor, use pecan wood; for a fruitier taste, choose applewood or cherrywood chips.

Maintain A Steady Temperature

Maintaining a steady temperature in the smoker is essential when smoking any type of meat. Any sharp temperature changes could cause the sausages to cook unevenly and dry up.

Follow The Thermometer Rather Than The Timer

Depending on the smoker, your sausages will take a different time to cook. The quantity of the sausage, the kind of meat, and other elements will determine the cooking time. 

The internal temperature of the sausages should be checked using a good meat thermometer or an instant-read thermometer. As the sausages cook in the smoker, it typically takes two to three hours to be cooked. But if the sausages reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove them.

Store Sausages Properly  

For up to five days, you can store leftover smoked sausage in the fridge. But you must keep them in an airtight container for storage.

Allow the sausages to come to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can keep the cooked sausages in the refrigerator for up to sixty days in a sealed freezer bag.


  • Is Poking Holes in Sausage Before Cooking Necessary?

Picking holes in your sausages is not always necessary. It depends on how you cook your sausages. 

If you decide to cook your sausages on high heat, then it is necessary to poke holes in them. Because while cooking sausages, the meat releases water. And if this water doesn’t fall out of the sausages, it will damage the casing. 

But if the sausages are cooked on low heat, then it is preferable not to poke any holes in them. It will help the sausages retain all their flavors.

  • How Long Does It Take to Smoke Sausage?

Depending on the sausage variety, smoking could take up to two or three hours. Thinner sausages will take half the time. On the other hand, cooked sausages should be smoked for no more than 30 to 45 minutes.

They are already fully cooked; all you are doing is warming them and flavoring them with smoke.

Sausage needs to be cooked internally to 155°F and then allowed to rest till it reaches 165°F.  You need a meat thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Always track the temperature to avoid overcooking the sausages.

  • How Do You Know If Sausage Casings Are Edible?

In general, the cellulosic or synthetic casing should not be eaten and should be removed. Eating it is also not recommended if the casing is thick or resembles plastic.

Identifying the plastic casing is simple since it tastes bad and is difficult to chew. This casing has a smooth, consistent appearance like Frankfurter sausages. A clear casing is normally composed of cellulose and provides the sausage with a compact structure. You can eat a curved sausage.

Take Away

Does smoke penetrate sausage casings? Well, smoke can easily penetrate all types of sausage casings. Whether you use natural or synthetic casing, your sausage will be flavorful with all its alluring smokiness.

However, before making sausages, you should always inspect the casing’s composition. By doing that you will be able to know how to prepare the sausages and how much time they will take. In addition, you’ll be able to determine whether the casing is edible or not.

So, discard your worry and start smoking sausages.