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.
What Makes a Good Sausage?
A good British sausage should be made with at least 70 percent high-quality meat, usually beef or pork or a mixture of both. The remaining content is seasoning, breadcrumbs, and fat (yes, fat). Across the UK, there are many regional varieties of sausages and 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, and preferably one who makes its sausages, as they will be made on a regular basis and require less of the preservatives used in mass-produced ones. Buying your sausages locally means you have a better say in the quality, and possibly can 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—but 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, when cooking sausages, they must be cooked slowly or they will burst. Hence the name bangers—the habit of sausages bursting with a bang when fried too quickly.