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How To Cook the Perfect Sausage

Blog • August 30th 2018

We can trace the sausage all the way back to the Bronze age; originating from the middle East and a meat also popular with Ancient Greeks & Romans. The word sausage in Latin is salsisium, simply meaning "to be salted" which was popular mineral used to preserve meat and formed the base of all sausage making throughout the world.

Memories

Sausages in Britain hold a special place throughout our lives, especially throughout our childhood, they feature in breakfasts, school dinners (not so popular) winter suppers, family BBQ, s & give us some great memories.

Why a Banger?

The name Bangers came about after the First World War, meat was scarce so the sausages were packed out with, cereal & water so when they were fried they sizzled & spluttered a lot. It sounded like mini explosions & so the name stuck.

A Snapshot at our Traditional British Sausages

Though there are literally hundreds of British sausages now available we've listed a few to highlight the variety that's been produced over the centuries.

Traditional British sausages piped into hog or sheep casings then linked by hand, A typical weight for a thick sausage being 80g to 100g per link & 40g to 50g per link for a thin sausage typically in Scotland, though nowadays this is still most common sizes, you will see many variants in both size & texture.

  1. Cumberland Sausage - a classic coil shaped sausage high in meat content, the traditional Cumberland sausage is flavoured with mace, white pepper & cayenne & contains a minimum of 80% pork.
  2. Lincolnshire sausage - a coarse ground sausage seasoned with a mix of sage, nutmeg, allspice and ginger.
  3. Pork and Leek- originates from Wales, the balance of sweet leeks & well-seasoned pork works so well it's a firm favourite throughout Britain.
  4. Beef Sausage - Rich, meaty sausage highly spiced, this has a strong meaty flavour. Popular in Scotland.
  5. Black Pudding - pork blood sausage, flavoured with onion, barley and diced fat, scented with herbs & pepper. The most famous black pudding comes from Bury, where there shaped into horseshoes & cooked to this day on the market. Eaten hot or cold.
  6. Lorne sausage - a square sausage, made from pork & beef & traditionally served at breakfast in Scotland.
  7. Faggot / Savoury Ducks - an old fashioned sausage made from minced pigs offal & wrapped in caul fat, stomach limning of the pig then flavoured with sage & nutmeg. Cooked in a rich onion gravy a favourite in the Black Country.

What makes a Great British Sausage?

A great British sausage is made with a high content of meat, minimum 80% & there needs to be a good fat to lean meat ratio, around the 20% of that total. Grinding the meat through a mincer twice will create a really great texture, meaty with a soft, rounded mouth feel with the seasoning balanced throughout. Piped into natural hog or sheep casings, thin sausages go into sheep casings & thicker more traditional sausages into hog casing. These natural casing cook the best & form a tender, unobtrusive case around the meat once cooked. Use high quality spices & fresh herbs make all the difference.

To grill/BBQ

Placing the sausage flat onto the grill over medium heat & turning regularly for 12 to 15 minutes, this is a good way to cook those meaty sausages.

Oven Bake

Lay the sausages onto a parchment paper lined baking tray & pop into a preheated oven, 200°C & cook for 20 to 25 minutes, turning the sausages half way through cooking, regarded as the most convenient & healthy option.

Hot Smoke

Set up you bbq kettle for smoking around 180°C to 200°C, grill the sausages over direct heat for a couple of minutes then transfer to the cool zone, non direct method & smoke for 15 to 20 minutes, this will give a deep Smokey flavour, one of my favourite methods.

Fry

Gently frying the sausages in a non stick pan with a small amount of oil over a long period of time will give you a rich, juicy sausage that in my opinion cant be bettered.

Poach & fry

A method used in the catering industry, gently simmer the sausages in water or light broth for 8 to 10 minutes, remove from the liquid, pat dry then fry in a non stick pan until rich & golden, this method locks in juices creating a great end result.

  1. Remove the sausage from the chiller 20 minutes before cooking, this will enable the sausage to cook evenly & stop the skin from splitting on contact with the heat
  2. Use a heavy based non stick frying pan, place on a low to medium heat
  3. Add a tsp. of duck or goose fat to the pan, then swirl around until the base is fully coated then tip away any excess fat.
  4. Place the sausages in the pan, making sure there not touching each other & keep on a constant heat, turn regularly so the sausages get a light golden colour, 10 to 12 minutes for a traditional thick sausage.
  5. At this point turn the heat up a little to create a rich dark caramel colour, this will only take a few more minutes turning the sausages regularly.
  6. Once cooked the sausage will be firm to touch, with a internal temperature of 70°C, the secret now is to let the sausages rest for a few minutes, just like you would a steak allowing the expanded protein cells to relax, giving you a tender, juicy sausage.