Sausages are one of the world’s most traditional meat products and come in lots of different sizes. They are known by many names; from snags (Australia) to bangers (UK) but they are always a similar shape.
What are sausages?
What are sausages and why do we call them sausages? The word ‘sausage’ actually comes from the Latin word “salsus”, meaning salt, which refers to the process of preserving meat by adding salt to it.
What are higher-welfare sausages?
Higher welfare pork sausages can easily be identified at your local supermarket via the RSPCA Assured logo. You will find higher-welfare sausages at supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Co-op and Lidl. You’ll also find RSPCA Assured sausages like the proper porker, caramelised porker and porky black from producers like The Jolly Hog.
What part of the pig is sausage?
More expensive sausages are made using prime cuts like topside and brisket, whereas cheaper sausages are made from trimmings. To bulk them up and give them their unique flavours, sausages often contain fillers such as breadcrumbs, as well as herbs and spices.
Some cheaper sausages may also contain filler known as sausage meal, usually made of wheat or rice flour. Water is then added to the sausage and absorbed by the meal, which helps to increase the weight of the sausage. So with cheaper sausages, you're basically paying for water. However, the more water you add, the more preservatives you need to add as well.
And of course, adding water to sausages means you are also diluting the flavour so afterwards you need to add it back in.
Dextrose (a refined sweetener) and hydrolysed vegetable protein made from maize are commonly used as enhancers and fillers to make the meat go further and taste more.
What are sausage casings made of?
Natural sausages casings are the original and often considered to be the tastiest type of sausage casing. But once the demand for sausages outgrew the amount of natural casings available, alternatives like edible collagen casings derived from cow and pig hides entered the market. These are mostly used for cheaper end sausages and sausages made from other meats (such as beef or chicken).
What is the difference between a hot dog and a sausage?
While they are both made from pork, hot dog meat is much more finely ground together with the fat to form a kind of paste which is cooked and eaten with no skin on. The term hot dog is used in America to describe the traditional German food, however, in Germany, there are many different varieties such as Frankfurters and wieners.
Why is sausage bad for you?
While sausages have never been renowned for being the healthiest food we can eat, recent studies have shown that higher consumption of red meats (particularly processed meats) has been linked to a higher probability of cancer. Choosing better quality sausages cannot mitigate any health risks, the best solution is to try and cut down on your meat consumption generally and to choose better quality products when you do eat it. Our eat less, eat better campaign is aimed at helping people to swap out meat for meat-free options and to choose higher welfare options when they decide to eat meat.
How to cook sausages
The worst part about cooking sausages is finding them burned and black on the outside, yet pink and raw on the inside. This happens when the heat doesn’t penetrate all the way through; so it’s important to keep the heat medium when cooking your sausages and just cook them a bit longer instead.
Sausages can be fried, grilled or even baked in the oven if you’re trying to reduce the fat content a little. To do this, you should prick them with a skewer. Unfortunately, this will leave your sausage a little drier. But that’s what mustard’s for!
Frying your sausages
Place your pan over a medium heat and add your sausages without any oil. As the pan warms up, a little oil will seep out from the sausages, turn them over to coat them and keep them going over a medium heat. When the outsides go a nice golden brown colour, the insides are white, and any juices running out are clear, your sausages are ready to eat.
Tip for barbecuing your sausages
It may sound terrible to barbecue purists but if you pop your sausages into boiling water for about eight to ten minutes beforehand, they will cook through on the inside. Then you can finish them off over the coals to give them that smokey delicious flavour without running the risk of undercooked sausages (which could potentially make you very ill).
Sausage and apple rolls - perfect for picnics and lunchboxes, give our quick and easy recipe a try.
Pasta with sausage and fennel ragu - Turn your RSPCA Assured sausages into a delicious and filling Mediterranean meal for the whole family.
Halloween sausages - Feel like having fun with your sausages? Even if it’s not Halloween, you can give this scary recipe a try.
Pigs in Blankets - A traditional Christmas treat but delicious all year round.
Buying RSPCA Assured sausages
Millions of people in the UK and around the world have made the switch to higher welfare animal products. Opting for higher welfare when you shop is simple and as well as being the right choice for you, it also helps the environment and farm animal welfare.
If you’re trying to make the switch to higher welfare products when you do eat meat, just look for the RSPCA Assured logo in your local supermarket.
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