Why make your own sausages?
What do you need for sausage making?
How do I make sausages?
Electric vs Manual Sausage Making Machines
Which sausage casings or skins should I use?
What is sausage stabiliser?
Should I use rusk or breadcrumbs when making sausages?
Why do I need to use rusk or breadcrumbs for making sausages?
What meat can I use for making sausages?
What spices and herbs can I use for sausage making?
What if I want to make vegetarian sausages?
How long will the sausage last in the fridge?
Where can I get sausage making recipes from?
Why do my sausages keep bursting?
How do I link sausages?
Can I smoke sausages?
What is the best way to cook sausages?
Questions for Bertie Banger – send an email!

Why make your own sausages? Click here for sausage making supplies

Sausages are one of the most popular foods in Britain with over 266,500 tonnes being consumed every year. However there is always the worry about what goes into the sausage. Making your own is a way of controlling this. Perhaps you have a special diet such as gluten free, low fat or have allergies to certain ingredients. Sausages can be tailor made to your own specifications. Buying free range organic meat from a farmer’s market or butcher ensures that you have a good quality sausage.
When using spice mixes always check that there are no “nasties” such as Mono Sodium Glutamate in the ingredients. Remember, not all “E” numbers are harmful. As a general guide, avoid any “E” numbers that are classed as artificial colourings or artificial flavourings.

What do you need for sausage making? Click here for sausage making supplies

The first purchase is usually a mincer with a sausage filler attachment. It is possible to buy minced meat from the butcher and fill the casings using an icing bag but this can be very time consuming and messy. Along with the sausage making machine, you will need a stabiliser and some sausage casings or skins. Herbs and spices can be added to the sausage meat to give that “I made em myself” flavour.

How do I make sausages?

Electric vs Manual Sausage Making Machines Click here for machine supplies

The manual sausage making machines range from a size 5 to a size 32 and with care can last for several lifetimes as they are made from cast iron. The bigger the machine the more meat can be minced or filled at a time. With a manual sausage making machine it is easier when two people are making the sausages – one to turn the handle and one to put in the meat and control the filling of the casings.
Electric sausage making machines
are easier to use but are generally more expensive. They save the “arm ache” of turning the handle but concentration is needed as they go a little faster than the manual machine. Different sized mincer plates (the circular discs with holes in) can be purchased. Ranging from 3mm holes to 10mm holes – the larger the holes, the coarser the minced meat will be. These plates can be purchased for both manual and electric sausage making machines. Sausage filler attachments can also be bought in sets of three sizes – small, medium and large to fit most sausage making machines. Click here for mincer plate supplies

Which sausage casings or skins should I use? Click here for casing supplies

The choice ranges between collagen, which is a formeddried skin made from the hide of bovine, and the fresh casings from sheep, hog or ox. They range in size from 19mm to about 36mm. The most popular sizes are 22/23 for chipolata type sausages, and 28- 35 for the breakfast and bbq type sausage.

Fresh hog, sheep and ox casings which are made from the intestines of the animal are cleaned, bleached and preserved in salt and these must be soaked in cold water for at least two hours before use (preferably overnight). Fresh casings have a shelf life of about two months if kept in salt and kept refrigerated. The sheep casings are very delicate and require more skill. Nowadays the fresh casings come on tapes or tubes so that they are easier to thread onto the filling nozzle and avoid the arduous task of unravelling a large knotted mass.

The collagen casings do not need any preparation. They are ready to use and are not salted. They have a shelf life of about two years if kept in a cool, clean and dry environment. They do not need to be refrigerated. Once these casings have been filled, it is important that the sausages are left in the refrigerator overnight to rest. The herbs and spices marinate with the meat and the skins rehydrate. These skins look and feel just like normal skins and are often less “chewy” than fresh casings.
There are other casings on the market however these are not edible. They are used to fill and cook sausages and then need to be peeled. These are known as synthetic or artificial casings and are made from fibre or plastic.

What is sausage stabiliser? Click here for stabiliser supplies

Sausage stabiliser is made from lactose and vegetable protein and it helps the sausage meat to have good binding qualities, preventing a “crumbly” sausage. It is not essential to use but the results are definitely more consistent and juicy.

Should I use Rusk or breadcrumbs when making sausages?

Rusk is used mainly when large amounts of sausages are being made. It is relatively cheap but has to be purchased in large quantities. The nutritional value is quite low. Breadcrumbs on the other hand are easily made from left over dried bread – white, wholewheat or rye by blitzing in a blender or grating. There are other alternatives that can be used as fillers if you do have special dietary needs and they are polenta, gluten free bread, rice, cous cous or bulgar wheat. Cream crackers make an excellent filler. The key is – the drier the filler, the better!

Why do I need to use Rusk or Breadcrumbs for making sausages?

Rusk or breadcrumbs help with moisture and succulence. i.e. so that the sausage doesn’t become too dry.

What meat can I use for making sausages?

Beef, Pork, Chicken, Lamb, Turkey, Venison, Partridge, Duck, Fish and vegetables all make good sausages. Meats and vegetables can also be combined in the sausage mixture. Think of Lobster sausages or left over Sunday roast sausages – the list goes as far as the imagination!

What spices and herbs can I use for sausage making?

Fresh or dried herbs can be used in sausage making. You can also buy specially prepared spice blends for traditional and speciality sausages, such as English Cumberland, Lincolnshire, Pork and Leek, Pork and Sage, Beef and Horseradish, Venison, South African Boerewors, Droewors, German Bratwurst, Spanish Chorizo and Thai.

What if I want to make vegetarian sausages? Click here for vegetarian sausage supplies

Vegetarian sausage can be made without the use of a mincer – however a food processor does make the blending easier. Chickpeas. Polenta, Quorn and Quinoa make excellent bases to which you can add other vegetables, herbs and spices. Unfortunately there does not appear to be a casing which is truly vegetarian but the sausages can be rolled in a coating to give a crisp finish. The sausages should be left in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm before baking or frying.

How long will the sausage last in the fridge?

No more than two to three days. If the meat has not been previously frozen then the sausages can be put in the freezer. If the meat has been frozen, you could always cook the sausages and then freeze them. Of course it goes without saying – ensure all food is cooked thoroughly before eating.

Where can I get sausage recipes from? Click here for recipe book

Recipes are available on the internet at:
There are also books available but most are by American authors. Bertie is on the lookout for a good British sausage making book. You can get some recipes to get you started with Sausage Making Starter packs – enough to give you the confidence to experiment and explore different ingredients.

Why do my sausages keep bursting?

Sausages burst because they are either overfilled in the skins/casings, or they have too many air bubbles when making the sausages. When using collagen casings they must be left to rest in the fridge overnight. Too much liquid in the sausage can also cause bursting – hence the name bangers (from the war years when water was added to make them cheaper – they had a tendency to explode! BANG!!).
Cooking too quickly or putting in a very hot pan can also make the skins burst.

How do I link sausages?

Decide on the length of sausage that you want. At that point pinch the sausage with your thumb and forefinger and twist the sausage to the right. Move your fingers along the same length and repeat the process twisting the opposite way.

Can I smoke sausages? Click here for smoking equipment and wood chips

Yes. The sausages can be hot or cold smoked on either a barbeque with a cover, in an electric smoker or a hob top smoker. This gives them a delicious taste. Cold smoking will preserve the sausages and hot smoking cooks the sausages giving them another delicious flavour. Different flavours can be achieved by using flavoured wood pellets or chips such as Oak, Alder, Orange, Jack Daniels, Maple, Sassafrass and many more.

What is the best way to cook sausages?

Sausages should never be pricked as this releases the juiciness of the sausage and can cause splitting. Always start to cook from a cold oven, cold pan, cold grill or a low heat barbeque so that the skins do not split. Cook at a low heat (150 deg C in the oven). The general rule is cook on a low heat for longer. Make sure that they are cooked through in the middle.

Questions for Bertie Bangersend an email!

Is there something that you would like to know about sausage making? Send an email to: and he will do his best to answer your questions.


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