Monday, 23 May 2011

Bea's Bangers - Making my own Sausages

Ellen trying to lick Nutella off her
nose - see what I have to put up with!?
"Now, he will push his meat into the chamber, while you, Dear, can handle his sausage."

This was said by the lovely lady from Design a Sausage at Tatton Park Foodies Festival this weekend as I stood on stage with a random man, thanks to my 'friend' Ellen pushing me up to help make sausages. I truly believe the sausage woman didn't realise what she was saying, but the audience certainly engaged in a game of Innuendo Bingo (Ellen definitely did - nearly doubled over laughing)! And I fear this experience is going to start a sausage obsession at home (not the innuendo experience you understand, the sausage making one). I'll be filling my dried cow's hide casings with combinations of herbs, spices, meats and breadcrumbs, knowing exactly what's going in them and how much of it is actual meat.

You can buy really good sausages out there but they ain't cheap. The cheap ones are full of what can only be described as crap (sorry). I learnt at the fair that you need to have a base mix (rusk or breadcrumbs) and  a stabiliser so the sausage doesnt turn into mince meat when you cut it open, and it stays sausage like.  

Design a Sausage Kit Contents

Taking this at face value, I invested in a sausage making kit from Design a Sausage to get me going. Having got it home and had a good look at it, I wished I hadn't bothered. It included 30cm of sausage casing (useful), a filler bag (basically a piping bag - I have a ton of these already) and a ready mix for lincolnshire sausage, which involves stabilisers, rusk base and spices. Looking closer at the mix, I saw E numbers and chemicals that I didn't recognise listed in the ingredients. Mix thrown in the bin and spice cupboard raided. I have breadcrumbs in the freezer and the stabiliser? Well, after a little perusing on t'interweb, I found that if you mix the spices and meat until sticky, the myosin in the protein is released, making the end result stick together like a sausage should (and it worked). Ah-ha! But, my £7.95 was wasted.

So, I set about making my version of a lincolnshire pork sausage, a Cheadle Sausage, if you will. Having selected my spices and mixed my mix until sticky (the easy bit) I set to filling my casing (the not so easy bit).

I now realised that I need to invest in a fan-dangled sausage filler for the Kitchen Aid, but before I do, I need to see if this catches on or if it's yet another fad of mine.  So piping bag it is.  For now.

I filled my piping bag half full with sausage mix, wiggled the casing over the end and squeezed. The casing flew off the end of the bag and sausage mix squirted up the wall. I started again holding the casing in place as I squeezed the bag.. And I had a sausage! I squeezed and squeezed and then... it overflowed out of the top of the casing. So I sqeezed the sausage mix already in the casing further down to make room for more meat. And then the casing split. So I started again with new casing, before it squirted out of the top.  Again.  So I 
pushed the sausage mix down a little, carefully this time (live and learn), and re-instated the sqeezing.  As it came to the top, I stopped, pushed the meat down again, started squeezing again.  Split the casing... and so on   I carried on in this vain and ended up with three sausages of varying sizes. But they were sausages! So I twisted them and made seven glorious, squat, pink, fat sausages the same size as my first, to look like my mistakes were intentional.  Hurrah!

And the cost? Well, the organic pork mince was £2.99 (if you buy your meat and mince yourself it will be cheaper), spices, well I have those in so can you put a price on it? The casings are £4.95 for 18m strands, so pennies per sausage. In total, (not including my wasted £7.95 for the kit) these 90-ish% pork sausages were just over £3 for 7 (I'm sure I could eek out 8 next time).  Same as decent sausages in the supermarket.  

Would I make them again?  Yes, I would.  They were delicious, meaty, spicy, peppery (I love pepper), but most excitingly, I can develop flavours of my own.  I'm thinking fish sausages... lamb and cherry perhaps...  Now that is exciting.

And so, here you have it, my first go at my own sausages

Bea's Cheadle Bangers

  • 500g Pork Mince
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Scant 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 60g breadcrumbs
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • Sausage Casing (from Design a Sausage)

1. In a large bowl, mix the pork, herbs, spices and flour together with your hands until it is sticky.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix with your hands before adding the ice-water. Mix it all together and leave the mixture for a couple of minutes, for the breadcrumbs to hydrate.

The start of my first sausage.

3. Fill your sausage casing. Measure 1" up a disposable piping bag and chop the end off. Half fill the bag with the sausage mixture, and place the tip of the bag inside the casing. Do not un-ravel the casing (as above). Twist the top of the bag to stop the sausage meat escaping and squeeze. If the sausage meat stops moving into the casing, gently ease it down with your fingers being careful not to split the casing. Be careful not to over fill the sausages; if you do, they may burst in the oven.

4. Once all of the sausage meat is used up, twist into links and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Cook as you would with bought sausages (mine were baked at 180 for 30 minutes, served simply with lots and lots and lots of mash and onion gravy... what!? I'm Northern!)

Cooked Sausages!  I'm feeling very
pleased with myself right now

P.S.  A massive Thank You to John and Aimee for the tickets to the festival for my Birthday - see what you've started!? x


  1. Fabulous post! Lamb & cherry sound gorge! If you need any testers?!

  2. these look brilliant, clever you. I think mine would end up looking all wonky. I love your opening line to the post, made me laugh!

  3. You made your own sausages? I'm impressed! Wish I had somewhere selling the kits near me, my husband would love it if I did this!!

  4. Hello everyone, thanks for your comments.

    I'm going to have a tinkle with flavours as soon as I find myself with 5 minutes... test away!

    Chutneyandspice, I really struggled to keep a straight face on the stage!

    Hi Sarah, you can buy the cases online, give it a go! They last 2 years (the casings that is, not the sausages!)

  5. Hi Bea,
    I found you on Food Blogger Connect. You'll have to tell me everything you know about sausage making in August. I've been wanting to give that a try for so long, but I still haven't gotten around to it. You have convinced me though!
    See you in August!

  6. Hi Valerie, thank you for your comment:) Lovely, looking forward to meeting you in August!