What do you think makes the perfect banger?
As anyone who sits with me on the Subs desk at Which? will attest, I’m a big fan of sausages. In fact, there’s a few of us Subs with a predilection for them. Between us, we’re helping the nation chomp through 175,000 tonnes of sausages a year.
A tribute to sausages
So how much do I love them? Well, let me count the ways…
Served with creamy mash and lashings of gravy; smothered in brown sauce in a sandwich; forming a dam between the ‘dry’ (the bread, egg and bacon – black pudding and mushrooms, too, if it’s on offer) and ‘wet’ (the baked beans or tinned tomatoes) elements of a Full English; bobbing on the top of a beany casserole or in a toad-in-the-hole; or simply wrapped in crumbly pastry (aka sausage roll) with some piccalilli on the side. British, Turkish, Polish, pork, beef or lamb… I’ll eat one in any permutation.
And if I’m at a BBQ (which hasn’t been often this summer, perhaps we’ll be lucky this bank holiday), the sausages are the first thing I’ll put on my plate.
But I’m also pretty picky about them. They can’t be just any old sausage. For me, there’s a fine balance between the meat to breadcrumbs, herbs and seasoning ratio. Too much meat and they’re just, well, too meaty. Too little and the texture’s all gooey. They can’t be too fatty or full of gristle, either. And the salt, pepper and herbs shouldn’t be overwhelming.
It seems that our taste testing panel agrees with me, in some part.
Of the 14 supermarket premium pork sausages rated by our experts, all had a meat content of at least 85%. When they tasted a 42%-pork sausage, they were disappointed with its ‘puréed’ texture, which one member of the panel described as being like ‘paste in a skin’. Another that contained 70% meat left a pool of fat in the pan when cooked.
The panel also agreed that a high meat content isn’t necessarily a guarantee of quality. In fact, the best and worst premium sausages both contained 97% pork.
But you might not agree – so what makes the perfect banger? And how do you like to serve your sausages?