What is the best sausage butty? It is a question I hear a lot. Most recently fromof this parish who is often at the forefront of discourse on this esteemed site. So I thought as it was of such importance that I would write an article for your consumption.
First, we need to understand the different types of sausage. I would need to write several parts to this article to cover the very wide range that are available world-wide, but I will not, as the vast majority of them are disgusting foreign muck. I make an exception for a Bratwurst. I will instead concentrate on the UK’s most favourite sausages, before dealing with the tricky topic of layout of the finished product.
Your sausage will come in all shapes and sizes, small ones, average sized ones and big ones. Smaller sized ones, such as a chipolata can still be tasty and more than a mouthful , as it is not the size that matters, as I am sure you will be pleased to know.
The most important thing to bear in mind is that you must not buy cheap sausages. Even the best ones are only a pound or two more than cheap ones. I do like a firm to the touch, well filled, quality sausage. You can try all the different fillings, such as beef, venison, boar etc, but for me there is nothing better than having a pork sausage in my hand. A Cumberland sausage is usually very nice, but far from ideal for a sandwich as once you cut it in half, or even worse, diagonally, it falls to bits on the first bite, which causes not only bits of sausage all over the place, but the butter and sauce to drip over you. You do not want your sausage dribbling, so in my view, best to stick with the standard sausage shape.
You will all have your favourites, my two are Walls sausages and Korkers, though I am partial to the occasional M&S British Outdoor-bred pork sausage, and I do occasionally purchase local made varieties during my travels. Also, you may have your local butchers that tend to make some of the finest sausages. My most favourite sausages of all time were the ones we had in the Army in Compo rations, but I cannot find them to buy anywhere. When I stay in hotels and B&B’s, I will only stay there long term if the sausage at breakfast is nice. If their sausage is cheap and nasty, I ask myself what else are they skimping on.
Cooking your Sausage
Firstly, you want to savior the taste, so none of that putting mushrooms, tomatoes or onions in with them, we are not not doing a Full English today, so keep it simple. Do not prick your sausage. There is nothing worse than a burnt sausage, especially when barbecued and dangerously pink on the inside. When frying your sausages, just a small drop of oil (about 1/2 tablespoon) to stop them sticking to the pan whilst you wait for the natural fat to be released. Once the sausages have started to brown, after around 3 minutes, turn the heat down and continue to cook them for around 12 minutes, turning frequently otherwise your sausage will look like a zebra. Obviously the cooking time will depend upon the size of your sausage, if you are blessed with a large one, then it will need more time to come to perfection.
Sausage in a roll
Not all foreign sausages are bad, I do make an exception for a German Bratwurst, I actually recommend those from Lidl, which go nicely with Heinz or Branston tomato sauce that is liberally sprinkled and mixed with a hot curry powder, making a curry-wurst. Not much good for a butty, but very nice in a baguette, either sliced length-ways, or, and my preferred method, in a larger type baguette, then use a sharp knife to dig out a hole starting from one end though the length of the sausage, or, improvise a sausage-holer as in the picture below:
Once you have a suitable hole for your sausage, you can insert it. Top tip: Use lubricant to help slide your sausage in.
My lubricant preference is HP Brown sauce (I know, it’s made in EU land now, but I like the taste). a well lubricated hole will really help the sausage slide in nicely, and the big advantage of this method is that there is seldom any spillage, or danger of it slipping out.
So, just to be clear, the my preference is a well lubricated hole, with the sausage being gently guided into that moist hole of the warm and inviting roll.
It’s a trap:
Sausages in a roll/bun/barm/cob/bap or whatever you call your bread can be deadly, in terms of dribbling. This example below should be avoided, unless you are alone, and wearing a bib.
Another common trap is the double, triple or even quadruple sausage butty. See example below:
They look nice, but unless you want to be like “Ed Miliband and the bacon sandwich”, avoid at all costs, especially in public. No one likes to see your sausage hanging out.
There will no doubt be some here that would actually put tomato sauce rather than brown sauce on their sausage, and do not get me started on those the would put mustard on it. We will never all agree which is the best sauce for a sausage butty, it is clearly brown sauce though. Tomato sauce or mustard can be used on “hot-dogs”. Though as I have said, Tomato sauce with hot curry powder is nice on a Bratwurst which is particularly unsuitable for brown sauce.
There are times when all we have is sliced bread. This is nice too of course. If you are very hungry, then use four slices of bread rather than two slices, and make 2 butties, do not put your sausage in a trap by using three slices.
Cook your sausages to perfection. Take your slices of your favourite bread then butter them (yes you can use margarine if you have to, or prefer it). Take your brown sauce and spread it evenly over both slices of bread. Now, if you are blessed with a large sausage, slice it on half length-ways, and place it down on the bottom slice in a row, to fit the whole slice. Add pepper if required. Place the top bread slice on then cut in half along the narrowest side of the bread, avoiding slicing your sausage. Do not cut diagonally as this is a recipe for disaster.
When eating a butty like this, it is best to grab the the bread and hold your sausage firmly in your hand, this will avoid it from slipping out and creating an unwanted wet patch.
© Phil the test manager 2018