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Beef Bung Sausage Casing

Written By Culinary Pen on Friday, November 23, 2012 | 8:33:00 AM

After a few weeks in the fridge curing in salt, my pork was ready to be packed into a casing and hung to dry.  There are a whole range of casings on the market, from natural animal intestine casings to artificial casings.  I use natural casings, as it just seems odd to me to go to all the effort of making a traditional, handmade product, then packing it in a fake casing.  Among natural casings, there are many sizes, from skinny lamb casings to medium sized to hog casings, to large beef middles.  The largest of these is the beef bung, which is the end of the beef's large intestine.  These are the "cap ends," which means one side of the casing is the end of the intestine, making it like a long tube sock.

Right before packing the meat into the casing I mixed the meat with a blend of spices, including mace, garlic, black pepper, coriander, and juniper.  While I was mixing the spices together, the casing was soaking in warm water that had been inoculated with a fuzzy white mold, Penicillium nalgiovense, like the kind found on Brie and Camembert.  This mold casing is another "dominant" bacteria that helps to block out bad bacteria.  It also helps to create a gas seal that allows moisture to leave the salami, while keeping bad bacteria from entering the salami.

Packing the meat into a casing of this size was actually pretty easy, since its so wide.  I then pricked it all over with a needle to remove any air pockets in the casing.  I did need to give it a good "support network" of butchers twine, which helps to keep the meat evenly distributed throughout the casing.  Otherwise, the meat would all slide towards the bottom of the casing and get an elephant foot appearance.

So now the salami will hang for a few months in our cool closet to cure.  To help the salami develop a good mold casing, I'll spray it with more of the mold culture.  The casing will also continue to shrink and form a tight skin across the meat.  I'm excited to see how this works out, as this is the largest salami product I've tried to date.

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