Many people say that all sausages are made with casing, and it’s not a sausage if you aren’t stuffing ground meat into a casing.
Well I’m here to tell you that this isn’t necessarily true, and I’ll show you how skinless sausages are made.
Skinless sausage (sausage without casing) can be made by hand, and I also have a pretty neat trick to show you that will help you get the perfect log shape that is so characteristic of sausage. Read on to learn more.
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Does All Sausage Have Casing? What Are Skinless Sausages?
The point of view that sausage is defined by its casing stems from the whole purpose of casing, which is really only used for making sausage. Sausage casing is what holds the raw meat together to make the elongated, log shape that makes sausage unique (compared to burgers, for example).
You don’t need casing to make fresh sausage, but casing is usually used to make cured sausage.
When it comes to sausage casings, some are edible while others are not. Inedible sausage casing is either removed by the manufacturer before packaging (which is often done with hot dogs) or by the consumer before eating (which is often done with salami, bologna, pepperoni, etc.).
Casing is very frequently used to make sausage, and there are certain types of sausage that aren’t eaten with the casing on.
Furthermore, sausage isn’t always made with casing, and sausage with the casing removed is often called skinless sausage.
How Are Skinless Sausages Made?
The general steps of grinding meat and adding fat, liquid, and salt/seasoning are the same as with making homemade sausage with casings. The difference is in how the sausages get shaped. There’s no stuffing involved with skinless sausage.
Skinless sausages can be shaped and rolled by hand, as if you were making elongated meatballs.
They may not turn out perfectly cylindrical but you can get close enough to create the distinct log shape of sausage without needing sausage casing.
The best way to cook skinless sausage is on the pan, so you can get a nice caramelized flavor. You lose the caramelization when you bake sausage, so I don’t recommend that method of cooking, though it is possible with skinless sausage.
This method of making skinless sausage by hand is commonly used in Eastern Europe (called mititei in Romania or cevapi in Serbia).
In the Middle East, India, and neighboring countries, kebabs (shish kebab or seekh kebab) are a very popular dish that you could argue are skinless sausages. Kebabs are ground meat shaped by hand on a skewer and then rotated over hot charcoals to cook. You can also cook them in a pan on the stove or bake them in the oven.
Using Food Storage Bags or Parchment Paper
To make skinless sausage and give them the desired log shape, there’s a very creative method you can use that involves a food storage bag (like a sandwich bag) that’s cut on the sides so it lies flat in one layer or you can cut a square of parchment paper.
Once you have the sandwich bag or parchment paper lying flat, place a ball of sausage meat in the center, fold the top half of the bag or paper over the ball of meat so the meat is in the fold. Using a ruler, push the meat against the fold of the bag, which will create the log shape of sausage.
Letting the sausage freeze like this, with the food storage bag or parchment paper wrapped around it, helps to hold the shape of the sausage when you remove the wrapping. It also helps the sausage to keep its shape for cooking.
To cook, like handmade skinless sausage, cooking in a pan on the stove is best.
Check out the below video to better see how to use this method:
Skinless sausages are definitely a possibility if you want to opt out on sausage casings next time you’re making sausage at home.
You can make them pretty easily by hand, and there is a pretty nifty trick you can use to get the log shape of sausage without needing a casing. Definitely gives these a try!