Millions of sausages are eaten every day in the UK but what makes a good frying sausage and how can operators ensure they get the best results?
An essential part of any fish and chip shop menu, sausages have been enjoyed by the masses for hundreds of years. For the consumer they offer a relatively cheap meal while for the frier they pull in excellent profit margins – around 70-80% – much more than will ever be made on fish. Sausages are also very versatile in that they can be served with chips, battered, in a bun, slathered in gravy or mushy peas or simply on their own.
So what makes a good frying sausage? Kevin McWhinney, MD of McWhinney’s Sausages
, says it comes down to quality. Making over 100 million sausages a year at its site in Bangor, Northern Ireland, McWhinney’s products range from 42% pork up to a 70% premium sausage.
“Sausages vary hugely, but what doesn’t vary whether you are at the furthest end of Scotland or in the lowest point in England, is that everyone understands quality and that’s what you have to give your customers,” Kevin explains. “A quality sausage should have great flavour, texture, a firmness when you bite into it and should fry consistently.”
Kevin recommends a sausage with no lower than 42% pork content although warns that not all meat contents are equal, some contain very low quality meat such as jowl or cheek meat and MRM which can have a detrimental effect on the consistency of the sausage.
“Different cuts cost different prices and unfortunately you only get what you pay for so be aware. If the price seems too good to be true there’s usually a catch.“
Kevin advises friers not to get too hung up on price when buying quality sausages adding: “You don’t need to double, triple or quadruple that 10 or 20p extra it costs for a better sausage, just cover your costs and you’ll be quids in because you’ll see increased footfall and more repeat business.”
Once you’ve chosen your sausages, and tasted them of course, it’s now in your hands to ensure its handled, prepped and cooked in the best possible way.
Frying from frozen
If you’re using frozen sausages, which the majority of shops will be, the best advice is to cook from frozen, after all that’s what they’re made for. It’s something Louise Marshall, marketing manager at Friars Pride
, champions in order to get the best results from its 42nd Street Sausages.
But friers also need to take care of their sausages before they reach the frier, Louise warns: “If you basket fry, frozen product should not be left in a basket over the top of the hot oil prior to cooking. The reason for this is that the heat from the hot oil causes products to start to defrost and to stick together before they enter the pan. This can have detrimental effects and result in sausages splitting where they have bonded together as they start to defrost.”
Instead, Louise recommends putting the frozen sausages into the basket just before placing them into the pan.
Frying the right quantities is also important in producing the perfect sausage. Philip Blakeman, MD at James T Blakeman
, which manufacturers the Supreme Sausages, range recommends putting no more than 15-20 sausages in a pan at any one time.
“This enables the oil to keep at a sustained and consistent temperature to provide optimum cooking results,” Philip explains. “When basket frying it is very important that smaller amounts are fried, the sausages are not touching and that there is an even distribution of oil coating all areas of the sausages. This can be done by lifting the basket up and down and gently shaking to ensure even distribution to all areas of the skin. If the sausages are in a cluster and remain touching once lowered into the oil, the product will stick together as the temperature rises and this may promote splitting.”
As with fish, frying temperature and time can also have an effect on the end product, so it’s recommended to fry at around 180-185°C for around 6-7 minutes or until a core temperature of 75°C is achieved. Frying at a higher temperature than this can promote issues such as skin splitting and skin shrinkage.
Some friers will want to defrost their sausages prior to cooking. If this is the case, product should be done so in a temperature controlled fridge until fully defrosted and the frier must ensure that the skins are completely dry with no excess moisture as this will only promote inconsistent cooking issues.
And don’t start frying sausages until they are fully thawed. Sally Voss, brand manager for Pukka Pies
, which has been manufacturing sausages alongside its popular range of pies for over 40 years, comments: “A slightly thawed sausage can expand very quickly in the fryer causing splitting. Also, the sausage meat filling will always try to escape via the weakest point which will always be the ends. Both ends of the sausage are twisted two or three times during manufacture to create the strongest seal possible, so any slight thawing will allow the twist to unravel.”
It’s important to remember too that you should note for your records the date and time that you defrost sausages and bear in mind that they should be used within 24 hours or thrown away. Defrosted sausages should never be re-frozen mainly for health and safety reasons but also a sausage that has been re-frozen may fry darker than usual.
One other tip offered by Philip Blakeman is to note that sausages do continue to increase in temperature by approximately 5-8°C once removed from the fryer. “Bearing this in mind will prevent overcooking that will in turn affect how the product displays in the heated cabinet. And remember, any longer than an hour in the hot box and the product will begin to dry out,” adds Philip
As popular as the classic sausage in fish and chip shops is the battered sausage and to ensure you achieve an even coverage of batter it’s best to pre dust sausages with a rice cone or rice flour. This will help the batter adhere, particularly useful if cooking from frozen and ice glaze is present on the product.
Alan Pearce of batter supplier Goldensheaf and Henry Jones
offers a final tip, saying: “If you’re frying from frozen then make the batter slightly thicker than you would for fish as the sausages take slightly longer to cook. And unlike fish, which has a standing time of about 25-30 minutes, battered sausages will stay crispy in the hot box for hours as there is virtually no water content in a sausage.”
FREE - 150 boxes of 42nd Street Classic Sausages
New users can try the 42nd Street Classic Sausages in this unique FRY reader promotion.
42nd Street Classic Sausages is proud to offer 50* customers per Q Partnership Company (Henry Colbeck, Friars Pride & V A Whitley), the opportunity to try one box of 42nd Street Classic Sausages for free!
Please register online with your nearest supplier (www.colbeck.co.uk/contact-us
) quoting “FRY Offer”. Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
*Terms & Conditions: This offer is limited to 50 shops per Q Partnership Company and is available to new users only. There is only one box of product per shop. There is no cash alternative. While promotional stocks last.
ALL VEG BANGERS
With the vegetarian market growing, Simply Meat Free sausages from Daloon offer an alternative to the traditional banger.
Available in two varieties, the Glamorgan Sausage is made with onion, leek and mature cheddar cheese, while the Vegetable Sausage is made with onion, carrot and broccoli mixed with white rice. Both are packed 30 x 56g.
Daloon 01636 701000 www.daloonuk.com
SAUSAGES YOU CAN PING
If you want to free up the fryer altogether you could try the new Gourmet range of microwaveable sausages from Snowbird Foods.
With a minimum of 75% single source, breed specific pork from outdoor bred Red Tractor Assured British pigs, the sausages are available in a range of varieties including pork, Lincolnshire and Cumberland and can be taken straight from the freezer and heated in seconds in a microwave.
Snowbird Foods 020 8805 9222 www.snowbirdfoods.co.uk
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY - British Sausage Week 2nd-8th November 2015
MEATY NEW EATS
Snowbird Foods has launched a street food-style range of products that can be microwaved in seconds straight from the freezer. It includes meatballs, 8g meat bites such as Pork & Spiced Chorizo and Beef, Pork & Manchego Cheese, a gluten-free 20g Lamb Kofte and 20g Mini Beef Burgers.
Snowbird Foods 020 8805 922 www.snowbirdfoods.co.uk
Burgers in minutes
Ideal for outlets with limited time, staff and equipment is the Big Al’s range of burgers. Pre cooked over an open flame, they can be microwaved from frozen in under two minutes or, alternatively,can be fried, oven cooked, griddled, or barbecued. The range is backed by posters, menus and price cards.
Big Al’s Foodservice 01772 688 300 www.bigalsflamecooked.co.uk
Guinness beefs up steak pies
Holland’s has joined forces with Irish stout brewer Guinness to launch the Steak & Guinness Pie. The chilled 247g, deep-filled pie combines slow cooked prime steak in a rich dark gravy infused with Guinness beer all wrapped in Holland’s classic golden shortcrust pastry.
Holland’s Pies 01706 213591www.hollandspies.co.uk
Pick of the chicks
Flagship Europe has launched two new products under its Harvest Brand – a Tempura Battered Chicken Steak and a Hot ‘n’ Spicy Chicken Steak. Ideal for burgers, the 110g steaks are ready to cook and are supplied frozen in packs of 36.
Flagship Europe 01252 846500 www.flagshipeurope.eu