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If you were looking for the typical English sausage then the Lincolnshire sausage would be your ideal candidate.
Traditionally, they come as an uncooked sausage of coarsely chopped pork, cased in a skin made of pig intestines known as "hog casings" and with about 8 sausages to the pound. Ingredients will include chopped pork, breadcrumbs or rusk, salt, spices and herbs. In the case of the Lincolnshire sausage the dominant herb is always sage.
Many supermarkets sell a version of the Lincolnshire sausage but the pork meat will be mixed with offal and minced rather than chopped and the casings will be made with reconstituted animal protein. That doesn't necessarily make them bad to eat just not as traditional as the supermarkets would have you believe from their packaging.
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Cumberland sausages are easy to identify as they are made as one long sausage formed into a spiral rather than the normal type of English sausage which is divided into "links" where the sausage is twisted at intervals to make a string of individual sausages.
The Cumberland sausage is a meaty sausage with less rusk than other English sausages and is heavily flavoured with black pepper. Each sausage can be up to 6 feet (approx. 2 metres) long.
Because the sausage is sold in a continuous length it is usually shaped into a spiral and either baked in the oven or fried or grilled first on one side and then the other.
picture from Wikipedia
Oxford sausages are made with pork and veal flavoured with lemon and herbs.
Laura Mason and Catherine Brown tell us in their book Traditional Foods Of Britain that the original name for the sausages was Oxford Skates and refer to a recipe by John Nott from 1726 using highly seasoned pork, veal and beef suet formed into patties, floured and fried.
Oxford sausages were popular enough to be included in Mrs Beeton 's Book Of Household Management of 1861. Her recipe is entitled "To Make Sausages (Author's Oxford recipe)" and contains the following ingredients:
1 lb of pork, fat and lean, without skin or gristle
1 lb of lean veal
1 lb beef suet
½ lb bread crumbs
the rind of ½ a lemon (well minced)
1 small nutmeg
6 sage leaves
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of savoury
½ teaspoon marjoram
The pork, veal and suet ware chopped finely and then mixed with the other ingredients to form little cakes or patties. Oxford sausages were not traditionally piped into skins. However, modern day Oxford sausages which I have bought in Oxford's Covered Market are encased in skins and look like regular sausages.
My finest experience of Oxford sausages was eating a plateful served with redcurrant sauce and crusty bread in a cosy pub in the Cotswold village of Burford. Washed down, of course, with some real English ale. Hard to beat really.
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