How to Use Hog Rings to Close Summer Sausage Casings

When preparing summer sausage, you need a reliable and easy way to seal the open ends of the casings. Fortunately, hog rings provide just that. Find out how to use them in this article.

Making and smoking summer sausages is one of the highlights of summer. However, it cannot be fun when you try to stuff the ground meat into a sausage casing through one end only for it to fall to the ground through the other. This was the story of my life with string seals before I learned that hog rings make very tight seals.

Read more about hog rings: What are hog rings and their uses

Initially, I would use strings to seal the casings. However, sometimes the strings would give in to pressure and strip off, extruding the meat onto the table. Needless to say, it took eons to fiddle about with the string trying to make a tight seal. But since I started using hog rings, not a single pound of ground meat has squeezed out of the sealed fibrous casings.

In this article, I share how to use hog rings to close the summer sausage casings or any meat-filled bag. It is very simple and of course quicker than using a string. But you can still add a string to secure the clip. Furthermore, the strings make it easy to hang the sausages during smoking and storage.

How to use hog rings for sausage making

summer sausages sealed with hog rings
Summer sausages

Tools and supplies

  • Hog rings (stainless steel)
  • Hog ring pliers
  • Filled sausage casing
  • String

Procedure

  1. Open the jaws of hog ring pliers by pulling the handles apart
  2. Place a properly sized hog ring between the jaws. The ring should sit in between the grooves on the jaws.
  3. Twist one end of an empty fibrous sausage casing by hand and clip it with a hog ring. Do this by placing the twisted end of the casing between the hog ring and pressing the handles of the pliers to clamp the fastener into place. You can also tie off the end with a string to secure the clip. Strings are good for hanging the sausages in the smoker or grill.
  4. Pack the ground meat through the other end. Don’t fill the tube completely so that you have somewhere to grip.
  5. Twist the open end to expel the air and seal off the casing.
  6. Once you have made a very nice twist, set a hog ring onto the pliers and clamp it in place.
  7. Press the hog ring until the blunt ends overlap to cinch tight the open end. You cal also tight off the end with a string. It is up to you.
  8. Repeat the process for all your summer sausage casings.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hog Rings for Sausage

What material of hog rings is best for sausage casings?

Stainless steel is the best for sealing the meat casing. Avoid galvanized hog rings for food safety reasons.

Can you use hog rings on small sausages?

You can but hog rings are best for large diameter sausages.

Why are hog rings better than a string?

Hog rings are easy to use and provide a better grip and thus a better seal. Strings tend to slip off as pressure builds up in the sausage tube.

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