/ Food & Drink

How do you like to serve sausages?

Bangers and mash

Picking up a prime pork sausage is simple thanks to our recent taste test. But selecting your premium banger isn’t the only decision you’ll need to make. Fry up? In a casserole? Just how are you going to serve yours up?

Supermarket own-brands were generally tastier than branded ones in our recent taste test of widely available Premium Pork Sausages.

Our expert panel put 13 products through their paces and our three Best Buys came from supermarkets: Morrisons M Signature Thick Outdoor Bred Sausages, M&S British Outdoor Bred 97% Pork Sausages and Asda Extra Special Sausages. You can see how some of the other bangers on test did on our food and drinks testing page.

Top sausage dishes

But how to serve them? When we asked Which? members about their favourite ways to eat sausages earlier this year, over a third plumped for bangers and mash. It’s not only an all year round British pub grub classic, but it’s also a great winter warmer too. Another classic British meal was second favourite – the cooked breakfast, where a good sausage takes pride of place in the Full Monty. Sausage casserole and toad-in-the-hole were next favourite, with sausage sandwich and sausage and chips hot on their heels.

While summer’s here, sausages are a perfect addition to a family barbecue on a warm sunny evening. Around one in ten Which? members ranked bangers at a barbeque as their favourite way to have a sausage. Perhaps this would be higher if our weather was more reliably dry and sunny?

I was surprised to see how many different ways people preferred to have their sausages, showing just how versatile sausages are. They can be an ingredient for recipes or act as star turn in breakfasts, lunches and suppers. What’s your favourite way to tuck into a top-notch sausage?

What’s your favourite sausage dish?

Bangers and mash (28%, 304 Votes)

Cooked breakfast (18%, 196 Votes)

Toad in the hole (15%, 162 Votes)

I don’t like sausages (11%, 121 Votes)

Sausage casserole (9%, 94 Votes)

Sandwich (6%, 69 Votes)

Barbecue (6%, 61 Votes)

With chips (5%, 52 Votes)

Hotdog (3%, 29 Votes)

Battered (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,094

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Comments
Guest
Kess says:
21 June 2014

A really good alternative way to eat sausages is in a stew BUT with a twist. It’s warming but solid and can be made quite cheap. Serve with pasta or bread instead. Personally I don’t like too much pasta or bread so tend to have this with very little of either. The first way is what you will find online or in books the 2nd is my own version.
2 ways I do it:
Herby sausage and bean stew:
Onions, chopped tomatoes
Kidney beans mixed beans any beans)
Lots of Italian herbs (Oregano, Basil etc) and lots of black pepper with Chorizo sausages and cumberland sausages or if I can’t find Chorizo sausages I just chop up ready to eat Chorizo and bung in right at the end just to warm through. (the cheap version is with cheaper sausages/bog standard pork ones, basic chopped tomatoes and mixed herbs)
OR
A more chilli type Sausage stew. As above without the Italian herbs.
Chipotle sauce (a warm smoked Jalapeno rather than the a typical a mind blowing nothing but hot one) or paste OR if I can get get hold of the actual chillies (though you can make your own in advance)
Some hot paprika powder and some mild chilli powder.
The trick is and the mistake most make as I did when using spices, it that anyone can do hot and spicy (you just whack in a ton of it) but you want it warm and all round so hold off on just chucking the spices in. Build it up slowly with different spices and chillies to give it depth. Hence why Chipotle is very nice.
This is our favourite way to make a long lasting Sausage evening meal.
I put in about 12 sausages and with the Chorizo cubes it gives it another texture.
Great for using up mixed beans too. If I only have Kidney beans I’ll use those and it works out ok.
I love the 2nd way as it’s a sort of Mexican/English/Italian fusion way to do it!!!
A great twist on the banger.

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Guest

Yum, these sound great! Thanks Kess.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Guest

We are fussy about food – particularly when you can’t see the actual content, as in sausages and burgers, so don’t buy cheap but from trusted sources. We can vouch for M&S 97% pork, and in response to a previous banger discussion had this assurance “To ensure a consistent, high quality product we only use cuts of boneless, rindless pork meat from the shoulder, loin, legs & forend. Rindless pork cutting fat will also be present. Connective tissue is not used in any of the sausage products we sell.” We also like their Venison sausage – a bit more flavour.
But back to topic, a favourite way of eating is pretty conventional – fried, grilled or oven-cooked but with onion gravy (caramalised onions, stock, slightly thickened, a little red wine if you like) and mash. Accompanied by mustard.
In the early 1950s Davys in Sheffield made tomato sausage – I presume lowish-meat content but flavoured with tomato puree – a great family favourite when food was not so great. We particularly liked the contents that burst out of the end of the sausages and browned a little more – not good for us I’m sure, but tasty. They left prodigious amounts of fat in the frying pan – the best place for it. Only ever seen those again once in recent times – at Waitrose I think. I expect if we did find them they would be a big disappointment.

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

I didn’t see it on the ballot paper above, so has ‘deep fried in batter’ lost its favour [or flavour]?

Supermarkets seem to misdescribe some bigger-than-usual sausages as ‘Cumberland Sausages’ – perhaps because they contain special ingredients. I thought a real Cumberland Sausage had to be quite long and coiled [or at least curved]. Perhaps there is no Protected Geographical Status for Cumberland Sausages. Sainsbury’s ‘Cumberland Sausages’ are still very nice though.

We occasionally have beef sausages for the sake of variety. They don’t have, by law, to contain so much meat as pork sausages so it’s worth checking the ingredients list to check the percentage meat content – some still come in quite high.

We rarely have a cooked breakfast at home but frequently on holiday. After breakfasting abroad we always look forward to British sausages on our return.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Guest

Good call, I think it’s still early enough to edit the poll so I have done so 🙂

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

Thank you Patrick . . . I’m still not voting for it though!

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Guest

What did you vote for?

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

The nation’s favourite . . . bangers & mash. I especialy like it with a fried egg on top of the mashed potato.

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Guest

I loved the Tesco finest pork and stilton sausages but they don’t seem to do them any more 🙁

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Guest

I, too, can recommend the M&S 97% pork sausages, they are quite excellent. Another good source is Donald Russell, a Scottish butcher which supplies mail order via the internet. It was from this company that I learnt an interesting way of cooking sausages. The method is to boil them for 10 minutes from defrost or 20 minutes from frozen then dry them and either fry or BBQ for 5 to 8 minutes. I was rather taken aback at the idea of boiling sausages but tried it and found the method to be an excellent way of cooking them.

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Guest

Having just read the Sausage Review in the July Which? magazine I was wondering how non-supermarket national brands – like Wall’s and Richmond – compare with those tested. The Test Lab tried nine retailers’ own-label bangers plus four from small independent producers [which to my surprise didn’t score particularly highly]. But where on the scale are the bigger national brands that are not only sold by the supermarkets but also heavily through the franchised convenience stores [like Londis, Premier, Budgens, Happy Shopper, Spar and similar]? Not everyone can shop at a big supermarket and although there’s probably a Tesco in every postcode area, unfortunately their Finest British Outdoor-Bred 97% Pork Sausages only came seventh out of thirteen tested. I guess that a lot of the sausages served in cafés and B&B’s are not from the top of the tasting table either I can only asssume that the national brands are towards the bottom of the scale but a significant proportion of the population is condemned to eating them. In the interests of a better breakfast and putting a decent toad in the hole it’s time for the big names to improve their product. Living in a major Outdoor Sausage Breeding area as we do, we want to see these fine animals turned into something nicer than a tube of gristle.

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Guest

Interesting question, John. We were looking at premium sausages which have a high meat content with over 84% pork, and as our taste tests compare products on a like for like basis, we couldn’t include ones with lower meat content. Richmond sausages contain 42% pork and Wall’s 61% pork, so if you like a really meaty sausage these may not suit you so well.

We try very hard to taste test products that most people can buy, though I do appreciate that not everyone lives within reach of a big supermarket. If there’s a Co-operative near you, their Truly Irresistible Pork Sausages scored 71%, just missing being a Best Buy.

Though we couldn’t include sausages from Wall’s and Richmond in our tasting, I bet that some of you tuck into these as well as splashing out on premium bangers from time to time. How do you think they compare?

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Guest

Chris, it is not only about % meat content, it is about what parts of the pig the meat has come from. Do we know what Walls and Richmond use?

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Guest

Thank you, Chris, for your response. I think Which? collectively suffers from what I called in a previous Conversation “Balsamic Vinegar Anxiety”. I think it should address the needs and affordability of the entire nation not just those who usually look for the best products. I hadn’t realised that the big national brand sausages had such a low pork content – but there’s no doubt people like them [or have to put up with them because they can’t get anything better]. As I said in my previous post “it’s time for the big names to improve their product”; always focussing on the premium foodstuffs doesn’t do much to spur the manufacturers on to better quality or to help the population at large to get better value. Bearing in mind that inferior sausages from the big brands can cost a lot more per kilo than similar supermarket own-label products, and that each kilo has a deplorably low meat content and a lot of filler [10% pork fat in Richmond’s case – in order to get the “meat” content above 50% presumably], there is clear evidence that a very large number of consumers are paying way over the odds for a miserable offering. Just because it sizzles in the pan and splits its sides with laughing doesn’t mean it’s a good sausage, and if it burns a hole in your pocket that only adds injury to the basic insult.

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Guest

I think the point made by Malcolm r is highly pertinent. There are times when I believe that it would be more accurate for the ingredients to say x% pig rather than x% pork!