Sausage casings can be natural, collagen or synthetic and are used in home sausage making. While finding meat grinders and ingredients to make the sausage is rather easy, finding the casings to stuff often proves very difficult. With the loss of community butcher shops, you may have to travel to find casings locally or you may have to go online to find the size and type you are looking for.
If your town has a grocery store that still has a meat butchering department, talk to the butcher. He may be able to order casings for you. Other local options include meat processing plants. These are generally located on the outskirts of town and are there to serve local beef and pork farmers as well as hunters. Many areas have more than one meat processing plant, so it is a good idea to call around and check for availability and prices.
Your best bet to find sausage casing may be to go online to order. One advantage to shopping online is the selection is better and you can also order ingredients for specialty types of sausage at the same time. Many of these companies take credit or debit cards and some will accept Google Checkout or PayPal payments if you are not comfortable giving your card information online. Be aware that most companies cannot ship natural casings outside the United States due to regulations in other countries.
Bratwursts and other German sausages are usually prepared in pork casings. Hot dogs, breakfast sausages are prepared in lamb casings. Beef casings are used for bologna, salami and other types of hard sausages. The length of the casing will depend on the type of sausage you are making, but most casings are around 20 to 25 feet in length. A general rule is that 1 pound of meat will stuff 2 feet of casing. These lengths can then be cut to make working with them easier or if you do not have enough sausage filler to use it all at one time. Store unused casings in the refrigerator for up to two years.