If you’re making your own charcuterie, cheese, bread and sides at home, chances are you want your cooking and your charcuterie platters to be as authentic as possible. While you can buy pre-made casings from your butcher, the next time you get the itch for poultry sausage, consider using natural casings for added flavor and authenticity.
A traditional French practice, you can use the neck of almost any bird to create a delicious sausage casing with a crisp, fatty flavor not found in hog or pre-packaged casings.
Consider pheasant, turkey, duck or goose skin, depending on which type of bird you’re working with and the flavors you are seeking. Because it is the thinnest, pheasant skin will be the crispiest casing, as well as the lowest in fat.
If you’re going for quantity, turkey skin will make the largest sausage casing, although it may be a little tougher than the others. The layer of fat associated with a duck’s neck makes a delicious casing, but the sausages will be smaller in size, and a goose’s neck or a swan tag will make some of the most flavorful sausage casings, although they can be difficult to find.
If this is your first time making your own sausage casings, be delicate when plucking your bird and try not to rip the skin around the neck. Be sure to wash the neck skin thoroughly, and lay it out flat to preserve as much length as possible (it will shrivel a bit while drying).
You can keep fowl skin in the freezer for up to a year, so if you have any leftover, place it in a freezer-safe plastic bag for later use!