The Great British Sausages

Bangers and Mash

The Spruce 

In the UK, millions of sausages are eaten every day and in many ways; grilled, fried, baked, barbecued, in sauces, with gravy, mashed potatoes, as bangers and mash, in a sandwich, as part of an English full breakfast, and more.

different types of british sausages
Illustration: Emily Mendoza. © The Spruce, 2019

What Makes a Good Sausage?

A good British sausage should be made with at least 70 percent high-quality meat, usually beef, pork, or a mixture of both. The remaining contents include seasoning, breadcrumbs, and fat. Across the UK, there are many regional varieties of sausages. These are just a few of the most easily found.

  • Cumberland sausage: This is a hefty, chunky sausage that's easily identified, as it comes in a continuous spiral that is usually bought by length, not by weight. Spiced with pepper, this a flavorsome sausage, and an excellent all-around choice.
  • Gloucester sausage: As the name implies, it is made with Gloucester Old Spot Pork, nicely flavored with sage.
  • Lincolnshire sausage: It's all herby and meaty, often heady with sage and sometimes a little thyme.
  • Manchester sausage: This herby sausage contains cloves, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and white pepper.
  • Marylebone sausage: Expect mace, sage, and ginger in this traditional London butcher's sausage.
  • Oxford sausage: Savory with sage, a touch of marjoram, lemon, pork, and veal, this is a nicely refined sausage.
  • Pork and apple sausage: The apple in this pork sausage opens itself up to using cider in the mix, thus creating a lovely moist sausage much loved in the West Country.
  • Square slicing sausage: Also known as Lorne, it's made from a mixture of pork and beef. Conveniently, this sausage sits very well in a sandwich and is often found on the breakfast plate.
  • Suffolk sausage: This coarse sausage is similar to Lincolnshire.
  • Tomato sausage: with its distinctive red color and light tomato flavor, it's always a favorite with children.
  • Yorkshire sausage: Expect a sausage spiced with cayenne, a pinch of nutmeg, white pepper, and mace.

Where to Buy British Sausages

If possible, buy your sausages from your local butcher, preferably one who makes their own sausages. Chances are they will sell fast and be made on a regular basis, requiring less preservatives used in mass-produced ones. Buying sausages locally means the quality is better and that you may be able to request specific ingredients to your liking. Many online companies sell authentic British sausage if you live outside the UK.

How to Cook Sausages

As sausages are so versatile, there are many ways to cook them. Bake, barbecue, poach; whichever way you choose, cook them slowly. Should you cook them too fast, they will not only burst, but the skin will also burn before the middle is cooked.

Why Sausages Are Called Bangers

As mentioned above, sausages must be cooked slowly or they will burst. Hence the name bangers—the habit of sausages bursting with a bang when fried too quickly.