Here at Puddledub we spend a lot of time and effort discussing, making, cooking and sampling sausages.
So we thought we'd pass on what we know so that you can go out and buy the best sausages you can.
There are 4 key things to look for or think about when you are buying sausages:
1. Meat content
2. Meat quality
3. Casings and seasonings
4. When they were made
1. Sausage Meat Content
Sausage meat content can vary from 50% right up to 96%. Which tastes better depends on your taste buds and preference. There is no right and wrong on this but meat content has been increasing in recent years making sausages leaner and leaner. The up side to this is fat content is reducing but the downside is texture. Lean sausage meat can have a tendancy to be granular and crumbly.
The meat content % should always be stated on the packaging along with all the ingredients. Meat should be listed first as the primary ingredient.
2. Sausage Meat Quality
Ideally your sausage should be made from whole cuts.
The cut used is important. Leg and shoulder are the most commonly used cuts in pork sausages. Here at Puddledub, we only use shoulder as we find this has good marbeling and a good mix of lean muscle tissue and fat with no grissle, to generate a tasty and succulent sausage.
The texture of the filling is also key. Here at Puddledub we mince the sausagemeat twice to get a really tender sausage mix.
3. Casings and seasonings
Natural casings are made from lamb or pig and make a big difference when you bite into your cooked sausage. Synthetic skins are now very common as they are cheaper and more robust, allowing sausages to be made by machines however the finished machine made sausages can be tough and chewy.
Casings also impact how full the sausage is. You want the sausage to be full but not too full as it's likely to split when cooking. This will mean juices escape and flavour will be lost.
When using natural casings, there is no need to prick or pierce the casing. Keep all the juices enclosed for flavour.
Air pockets will also cause your sausages to split so check that your sausages look firm and full.
Finally water is used in all sausages but again its a fine balance. Water is needed to bind the sausage filling together but too much will make the contents soft and soggy.
Look for natural seasonings rather than synthetic. Salt, pepper and nutmeg are all common in pork sausages.
Its worth finding out when and how often your butcher makes their own sausages. You want freshly made sausages that have had a day or 2 to settle.
Sausages should look soft, plump and with a glean.
Like most fresh meat, sausages are suitable for home freezing. The better condition they go into the freezer, the better they will be when they come out. Follow manufacturer guidelines on defrosting. Don't cook your sausages from frozen.
Cooking your sausages
Sausages can be grilled, pan fried or oven baked. Avoid using a very high heat as this may burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked. Go for a medium heat over longer time to ensure your sausages are succulent but cooked through.
Puddledub Pork Sausages
We take time and effort to make the very tastiest sausages we can. We've been making sausages with our homegrown pork for almost 20 years. Unlike other farmers, selling our homegrown pork directly to our customers gives us the chance to find out what our customers enjoy about products and hone the Puddledub taste into something that you will remember.
We only use the freshest pork made from the finest cuts of shoulder pork from our homegrown pigs, with never any trim, filler or fat cuts to ‘cheaply’ bulk them up with. For us, it’s not the percentage of meat but the meat cut is used that makes the difference.
We are proud of our homegrown pork and its natural flavour. This means we don’t need to add a lot of seasoning and ingredients to make our sausages stand out. What we do use, is carefully mixed with the meat by hand. We only use subtle flavours that compliment the meat, as the idea isn’t to overpower it. Many of our most popular sausages recipes are still the ones that we started with almost 20 years ago.
Our most popular sausages are 'Just a Plain Pork sausage' and 'Honey and Mustard'. Believe it or not Just a Plain pork sausage is seasoned simply with salt and pepper and that's it! Our Honey & Mustard is pork, real honey and mustard.