Sausage making is an important part of nose to tail butchery; in getting the most from an animal and ensuring nothing valuable is wasted. In the days before refrigeration – when the whole pig needed to be cooked or set to cure in a day or so – sausages would be quite strongly flavoured with plenty of herbs and seasoning, and either eaten that day or hung above the fire to dry so that they would keep a while. As refrigeration became possible we moved towards a fresher sausage, with just a little salt and flavouring, intended for eating within a couple of days.
We’ve been making sausages since The Ginger Pig first began, and although we must have made hundreds of varieties since then, the core range described below are still our most popular. We might have five or six additional varieties on display in the counter, depending on what the butchers in our shops are making that week – including recipes such as classic Italian, venison and juniper, pork and apple or beef and chilli.
We use a blend of pork belly and shoulder to ensure a good fat content, which bastes the sausages from the inside as they cook. With the exception of our Old Spot and Toulouse/Garlic Toulouse sausages, which are pure meat and intended for stewing, we use around 20% breadcrumbs in the mix. This helps to retain succulence as they cook – the ‘juice’ stays in the sausage rather than escaping into the pan.
The first recipe we developed in the farmhouse kitchen back in the mid-nineties, and still our most popular sausage today. It comprises pork, salt, pepper, nutmeg, mace, which is mixed with breadcrumbs, which have been blended with dried sage, rosemary and thyme. Available in chipolata size too.
Best for: a good all-rounder, makes unbeatable toad-in-the-hole.
Historically a highly spiced sausage due to the 18th century spice trade into Whitehaven, however the Cumberland has now mellowed into a fairly subtle recipe. Our Cumberland sausages are among our simplest – no herbs, just pork, breadcrumbs, and a little salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace.
Best for: breakfast, baps and barbecues.
An uncomplicated but meaty sausage, made with no breadcrumbs. Coarsely ground pork belly and shoulder with just a little salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Best for: casseroling or cooking in gravy, and makes a good, robust toad-in-the-hole. A little on the meaty side for breakfast.
Pork and Black Pepper
Exactly what it says on the tin: a finely ground sausage of pork belly and shoulder, loosened with a few breadcrumbs, pepped up with coarsely ground black pepper.
Best for: both breakfast and dinner, for anyone who loves pepper.
Toulouse and Garlic Toulouse
Made to an authentic French recipe, and the only sausage for a proper cassoulet. There were two books that inspired Tim to start the Ginger Pig; Self-sufficiency by John Seymour, and Elizabeth David’s French Pork and Charcuterie, and our Toulouse sausage is definitely influenced by the latter. Coarsely ground pork with plenty of little pieces of back fat (which render during cooking), generously seasoned with salt, white pepper and a little saltpetre, with added garlic for that variety. No breadcrumbs are used – a meaty and coarse sausage.
Best for: cassoulet and any slow-cooking sausage casserole or braise. Not for grilling and definitely not for breakfast!
Not to be confused with a dry-aged chorizo which can be eaten raw, our cooking chorizo is made from coarsely minced pork shoulder, smoked and hot paprika, salt, white pepper and minced garlic, which is fed into natural casings before being smoked over oak chippings.
Best for: soups and stews, serving with scallops or grilling on the barbecue.
Our take on the classic fiery, Moorish lamb sausage. We often use mutton here for real depth of flavour, teamed with a warming harissa, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. A chipolata-sized sausage.
Best for: grills and barbecues – brilliant in a bun with lots of roasted peppers and onions.