How To: Sausages
Sausages are undoubtedly a British favourite and, as such, we have a number of unique varieties across the country. We’ve searched all over to create an illustrated guide on all you need to know about sausages.
Types Of Sausages
The Cumberland sausage is a British classic, dating back over 500 years. Known for its distinctive coiled shape, (but can also be sold in the standard sausage shape!) the Cumberland, as of 2011, has been granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
Typically, it is made with meat content ranging between 85%-98% pork. This is the optimum balance for creating a succulent sausage. Finish off your Cumberland Sausage by seasoning it with black pepper and your choice of herbs and spices.
The Newmarket sausage is a traditional pork sausage, originating from the charming market town of Newmarket in Suffolk. There are three variants of the Newmarket sausage, all of which have won major awards. They are renowned for their distinctive spicy flavour. In 2012, the European Union acknowledged the Newmarket sausage as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
One of the best-loved British sausages is the Lincolnshire, made distinctive with its inclusion of sage - perfect for all occasions. The Lincolnshire sausage originated in the 19th century and continues to be an extremely popular sausage, widely available all over the country. It is not yet of protected status; it does, however, have its own annual festival held to honour the great sausage in its birthplace Lincoln.
The Oxford sausage is a unique blend of pork and veal meat, seasoned with various spices, lemon and herbs. Unsurprisingly, the sausage was created in the city of Oxford, during the 18th century. The Oxford sausage was later popularised by Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management in 1861.
The Lorne sausage is particularly unusual. Rather than the more traditional tubular shape it adopts a square form, hence why the Lorne sausage is widely known as the square or flat sausage. A mixture of ground pork and beef, rusks and seasoning, this delicious recipe hails from West Scotland. Traditionally it is served as part of a classic cooked breakfast. After all, what would a British breakfast be without the sausage?
Black and White Pudding
As far as traditional sausages go, black and white puddings are some of the more unusual delicacies on offer. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but trust us, they’re delicious! Originally, they were concocted as a means of using every last part of the animal, wasting nothing; now, there are several different types of pudding sausages.
One of the oldest, and most popular, is black pudding. Made with a mixture of pork blood and fat, oatmeal and seasonings, black pudding has a hallmark/distinctive taste.
During the Middle Ages, white pudding emerged, with the key difference being that it doesn’t include any blood. Additional to white pudding, there is also hog’s pudding, which shares many of the same ingredients, but with an added spicy flavour and smoother texture. Today, they are often served as part of a full English breakfast.
How To Make Sausages
Pick Your Cut
We recommend Pork Shoulder for a rich, flavoursome sausage. Pork shoulder is also a really good choice if you are watching your calories. It’s worth spending a little more on good quality meat from your local butcher.
Undoubtedly, natural sausage skins make the best, juiciest sausages by far. You’ll need to soak the skins to remove excess salt for a couple of hours beforehand, so remember to allow enough time for this.
Select Your Spices
The next step is to select your spices and seasonings, you can be as creative as you like with your flavour pairings. If you’re looking for a traditional sausage, a combination of sage, allspice and black and white pepper is a classic. Grind your spices together with a pestle and mortar or an electric blender and put to one side, along with some salt, but be sure to keep the two separated.
We recommend passing the meat through your mincer twice in order to achieve a finer, smoother mixture. However, if you’d rather a chunkier, coarser sausage, pass the meat through your mincer just the once. This is all down to personal preference, there is no right or wrong method.
The next stage is to combine your ingredients together, so add in half of your ground spices and breadcrumbs, then mix thoroughly with your hands. Add some chilled water and continue to mix until you have a stiff dropping consistency. As a rough rule of thumb, if you weigh your meat, you should then add about 10% breadcrumb weight in your mix to ensure it binds together. Take a teaspoonful of the mixture and fry it off in a hot pan to check the flavour and seasoning, you can make adjustments to the mixture accordingly.
Stuffing Your Sausages
Next, remove the blades from the mincer, attach the stuffing funnel and press through the sausage mix. Making sure the machine is on its slowest setting, take your sausage skins out of the water and slip them over the nozzle of your mincer.
It’s a good idea to leave a good length of casing empty before you start filling it, you can do this by keeping your fingers around the rolled casing, feeding through enough length as required. When feeding the meat through into the skin, try not to allow the meat to pack in too tightly, but also avoid too much air space - it’s all about balance.
A good tip for beginners is to limit themselves to making about a metre of sausage at a time, ensuring there’s enough empty skin at either end, which will make it much easier to handle.
Once you’re happy with the length of the sausage, tie off each end of the empty casing, then gently squeeze the skin at the desired length intervals. There should be enough space between the sausages to make a few twists, creating individual links.
All that’s left to do now is to decide how you wish to cook your sausages.
How To Cook Pork Sausages
The simplest and easiest way to cook sausages is to grill them. You can do this with a grill pan over medium heat or, perfect for a summer’s day, you can barbecue them. Ensure to keep turning them to achieve an even cook – and always check they are cooked through at 75°C before tucking in.
For the culinary novices who may be concerned whether they have cooked the sausage through correctly, this is the easiest option. Simply add the sausages to a baking tray with a teaspoon of vegetable oil, cook in a moderate oven, turning the sausages throughout. When they achieve a golden brown colour, they’re good to go.
Braising your pork sausages is a perfect way to inject some extra flavour into your masterpiece. Lightly crisp the outside of the sausage in a pan, then slow cook them in a tasty sauce either in the oven or in the slow cooker for a soft and yummy dish.
Skip the chip shop on a Friday, you can make battered sausages at home just as easy! This method is the perfect substitute for a weekend treat, plus it’s super simple too. All you need are some quality sausages and a homemade beer batter, then dip the sausages in the batter and pop them in the deep fryer. It couldn’t be easier (or tastier).
Discover more of our delicious sausage recipes here.