Homemade Sausages

HOMEMADE SAUSAGES

It’s probably not worth making less than 10lb of sausages at a time.  The cuts of meat you use will depend on the fat content of the pork.  Traditional breeds with a very good covering of fat, such as Tamworths, are probably best made from the shoulder.  Less fatty pigs will be better if you use half shoulder and half fat belly pork.  Modern, very lean pigs will need to be mixed with pure back fat, which is not easy to come by nowadays, or use just the belly.  If the meat is too lean the sausage will be dry, whilst a fatter sausage can be cooked in a way that renders much of its fat.

To 10lb of boned pork add:

3 oz salt (2%)

1½ lb (15%) white day-old sourdough bread.

20 metres Hogs casings, soaked in cold water

Herbs, spices and flavourings to taste (see below)

 

The meat should be kept as cold as possible, so work in a cool room and return the meat to the fridge until it is needed.

Begin by roughly cutting the meat so that is easy to feed through the mincer.

Fit a coarse disk into the mincer and mince the meat into a large mixing bowl (for very coarse sausages dice by hand).   When you have minced all of the meat, follow with the bread.  Sprinkle over the salt, fresh herbs, spices and other flavourings as required.  Mix thoroughly, then put through the mincer a second time.  It is a good idea to cook up a teaspoon of the mixture to check the flavourings before making the whole batch.

Remove the mincing blades and fit a stuffing nozzle onto the mincer. Take about a metre length of hogs casing from its soaking water, tie a knot in one end of the casing, place the open end over the nozzle and then feed the casing on until you reach the knotted end.

The next stage is much easier with two people, one to keep feeding the stuffing into the machine, and the other to control how tightly stuffed the casing becomes.  This is done by holding the casing firmly in place on the nozzle and releasing more only as the casing becomes full.  If you overfill the casing it will burst and you will have to feed the stuffing back through into a fresh casing.  Remember also that you will need some room for the filling to move when you form the sausages.  Hogs casings should however give you nice plump sausages, about 6 to a pound of meat.  These will cook better than small thin sausages.  Stop filling when you get close to the end of the casing, but leaving enough room for tying the sausages before knotting off the end.

To form the links hold the entire casing up by its middle and twist it to form the first link.  Then twist at the required intervals going in opposite directions for each sausage to prevent the links unravelling.

Flavourings:  Below are some traditional regional recipes, but essentially chose what you like.  Parsley, black pepper, mace and lemon rind are a favourite combination of mine.  Sage is very traditional.  A proportion of bacon in the meat is also very interesting.

Cambridge Sausage

Effectively the Cambridge Sausage is the standard British sausage, flavoured with sage, thyme, cayenne, ground mace, nutmeg, pepper and salt.

To 2½ lb minced pork add 6 oz of fresh breadcrumbs and ¾ oz salt plus:

1 tsp fresh sage

½ tsp fresh thyme

¼ tsp ground mace

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

¼ tsp freshly milled pepper

Lincolnshire Sausage

The only seasoning used (apart from salt and pepper) in a Lincolnshire Sausage is sage – they should be quite a vivid green colour.  To the above basic mixture add 4 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage.  These sausages should be left for 2-3 days to mature before eating.

Cumberland Sausage

Cumberland Sausage uses no breadcrumbs, only meat.  It is also formed as one coiled, continuous sausage.

To 3½ lb meat add:

1 oz salt

½ tsp sage

½ tsp rosemary

½ tsp thyme

a good pinch of Cayenne pepper

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

½ tsp freshly milled white pepper

Oxford Sausage

These are unusual for a variety of reasons.  Firstly they are made with equal parts of lean pork and veal together with beef suet.  Old recipes suggest that this should be in the same proportion as each of the meats, but modern tastes will probably prefer half this.  Secondly there is always the addition of grated lemon rind and thirdly they are never put into skins.

8 oz lean pork

8 oz lean veal

4 oz beef suet

4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs

grated rind of 1 small lemon

1 tsp. chopped sage

1 tsp. Chopped thyme

1 tsp. Chopped marjoram

1 tsp. Salt

freshly milled black pepper

Mince the pork and veal together.  Coarsely grate the beef suet and mix with the meat and remaining ingredients.  Form into sausages with your hands on a lightly floured surface.  Leave overnight to firm up and develop their flavour before cooking.

Gloucester Sausage

This is similar to an Oxford sausage in that beef suet is added rather than pork fat, however the seasonings are more like that of a Cambridge Sausage and they are always put into their skins.

NB I have specified fresh herbs in all of the above recipes.  If you must substitute dried, halve the quantities.

32 thoughts on “Homemade Sausages

  1. I was under the impression sausage recipes require some liquid in them, this is not included in these recipes. How will it effect the sausage?

    1. Liquid is only needed to reconstitute dried ingredients, such as rusk. It is not necessary with fresh or semi-dry breadcrumbs. Many sausages for sale do include beer, cider or wine but the quantities are usually so small that it is difficult to detect the taste – more a marketing ploy. If I wanted to add cider, I would use it to re-hydrate dried apple and add it this way. Too much liquid (rather than fat) in the sausage can cause leakage or bursting during cooking.

  2. What is the percentage of bread crumbs to meat.I made a pork and chive sausage with 250gms of crumbs and found this to much it made it stoggy.

  3. I am making sausage for the first time, and must make it Gluten Free. I know that I may use cooked rice in lieu of breadcrums, but what else may I use; and is it necessary to even use a “filler”?

    1. You could use 100% meat Beth, and most Gluten Free sausages do. They will be more dense than with a filler and make sure you use meat with a good amount of fat to prevent them being too dry.

  4. I’m going to make the Cambridge recipe but it needs to be gluten free. I have potato starch instead of breadcrumbs but not sure what quantity to add to 2 k of meat. Would 200g be about right?

  5. Thank you for the advice and recipes. I live in Spain and started making sausages for my Mother in law (God rest her). She was on dialysis for three years before her death and we had to be very careful with her diet (very low to no salt) and we struggled to find any off the shelf sausages. Ten years later and I still make my own, varying the ingredients to suit my family.
    This is a very interesting site and well worth reading through. Once again thank you.

  6. Sausages need approx 160 ml water per Kg of meat to ease stuffing of the skins. Good sausage meat mixtures using crumb or rusk is sticky and smells sour and water aids this transformation. Traditionally, dried herbs are used because fresh herbs ferment which is undesirable. Sausages are a means of storing meat and would be kept through the colder months immersed in pork fat before the age of refrigeration or freezing.

    1. I haven’t used rusk myself, and of course it will be drier than fresh breadcrumbs. I would try 10% first, but fry up small balls of the mixture to test it before going on to stuff the casings. It is difficult to give a definitive recipe anyway because the fat content of the meat will always vary. Let me know how it goes! Suzanne

      1. Hi
        Use rusk at a proportion of 10% of your fat and meat content and then add 20% of very cold or iced water ( ie. 30% of the total meat and fat content in total ). Leave to rest in fridge for 2 hours before stuffing skins.
        If you dry your own breadcrumbs ( until the bread snaps ), these can be substituted for rusk, I use cheap white bread and chop finely in a food processor before using. I prefer this, and it’s cheaper, but sausage has better texture I think.
        Regards
        Kev

        1. Thanks for your suggestions Kevin. I’m not sure I want to add water to my sausages, but in what way do you think it improves them? Bread definitely has to be good quality as far as I’m concerned – not much point in making your own sausages if you include the additives in cheap bread!

    1. Glad you like the article Jenny. We are having Oxford Sandy and Black pigs this year (as part of a group – one will be mine) so I am looking forward to making sausages and other cured meats later this year.

  7. Came across this whilst researching Cumberland Sausage recipes for my new mincer. Some great tips. Please put me on your mailing list.

  8. Brilliant site for my first foray into the art of sausage making. Appreciate the recipes put up here. I will get the standard British sorted out first and then progress

  9. Been making sausage for a while now after attending a one day course at a local farm. This article is good and there needs to be more regarding using meat direct from the farm. In this competitive age and the government very rarely teaching school children how to cook articles like this are an excellent way to promote British Farming. Maybe the amount of meat mix to the length and diameter of skins would be a big help to beginners also salt and water ratios. Loved it and well done.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article David, and especially that you think it an excellent way to promote British Farming.
      I have updated the article to show the length of Hogs casings (20 metres, which is plenty even for an inexperienced maker like me!). The salt ratio is given (2%) and there is no water because I use fresh rather than dried ingredients (see comments above).
      Two other small updates – I now find that passing the mixture through the mincer a second time helps blend the ingredients as well as improving the texture plus I have now specified that the breadcrumbs should be sourdough. Real sourdough bread contains no artificial preservatives but its slight acidity naturally preserves it.

      2021 Update – I have now had the opportunity to find out exactly how much filling 20 metres of hogs casing will take as this year my 8.4 kg of meat (with additions as per the main recipe) ran out of casing just as the last of the meat went through!

  10. I used to get quite crumbly sausages after cooking until I found out that minced meat needs to develop myocin and actin, (proteins) that makes a sticky “meat paste”. This is done either by hand or by using a mixer, but must be done in order to have proper texture in sausage. You will be able to tell when the sausage is sticky enough by holding some in the palm of your hand and turning your hand upside down. If the sausage stays on your hand, job done! Then its on with stuffing the casings,

      1. No problem Suzanne! I do like some of your sausage recipes above! I will try them soon.

        There is a great recipe for ‘saucisse de Toulouse’ that I have made several times over the years as it reminds me of all the times I was able to go on hoilday to France before lockdown. You will be able to find the recipe at the following website:

        http://www.hertzmann.com/articles/2001/pork/

        Another sausage maker worth looking at is on youtube. Scott Rea on The ScottReaProject. Some really good recipes and videos.

  11. Hello Suzanne, my wife and I are fairly new to sausage making. Our first attempts have been making Boerewors. These turned out extremely well. Having success with that I thought how great it would be to make Cumberland sausage so we had a go. One variation though is we don’t use rusks or any sort of wheat. Instead we use the same quantity of mashed/creamed potato which helps bind it together. The reason for this change is that my wife, who is a Nutrition therapist, has an intolerance towards wheat. I must say the flavour was great and we certainly will make this again. Hope it may encourage others to tweek the recipe as necessary.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Peter, I might try it next time. Chestnuts are also mealy, and they go beautifully with venison or boar, so that might be an alternative that would suit your wife?

  12. Hi Suzanne

    I’m trying to track down “the” traditional Cumberland sausage recipe, and I’m just wondering where the one you list came from.
    It’s the first one I’ve seen so far that says no rusk/breadcrumbs, and also the only one that uses rosemary.

    Do you happen to know the history of this recipe please?

    Many thanks,
    Paul

    1. Hi Paul,
      I guess that what has prompted your enquiry is that Cumberland Sausages have just been awarded Protected Food Name status. I have included the link to the document that defines the sausage for this purpose at the end of my reply.
      The recipe I gave came from Jennie Reekie in British Charcuterie. The bibliography in this book includes many well respected food writers. However, I cannot find anything to back up the inclusion of rosemary, and I note that it is not a permitted flavouring in the new PGI.
      In 1999, Laura Mason and Catherine Brown compiled a directory Traditional Food of Britain as an EU funded project. This book has subsequently been republished as The Taste of Britain. There is no one definitive recipe but a number of defining features are mentioned, the most famous of which is its presentation as a continuous coiled sausage. But another important characteristic is its very high meat content. Jennie Reekie states that it is the only traditional 100% meat sausage in the British Isles (although now a demand for gluten free makes this more common).
      My personal view is that allowing a minimum of 80% meat in the protected status is just a reflection of what has become modern practice, but for me this is too low.
      Hope this helps!
      Suzanne

  13. Hi there, made these sausages as per the recipe, and they were very good. The only thing I felt was that the amount of salt was very high and they tasted very salt6 for our tastes. I appreciate that salt preserves the meat. Do you have any views on lowering the salt level? Thanks for sharing

    1. Hello Andrew,

      You can lower the salt content to 1.5% without affecting the preserving qualities. Try that and hopefully it will be to your taste.
      It is possible to make fresh sausages with even less salt than that but take great care to store them in the fridge for no more than a day. Once pork is minced it is a real breeding ground for botulism.

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