From Cumberland to Bratwurst, a Brief Summary of Sausages
Sausages are one of human history’s finest inventions. Some scientists claim that it was eating meat that allowed humans to evolve from our ape-like ancestors. The meat was nutritious and fed us with vitamins and minerals needed to fuel higher brain functions and make the most of our world.
Sausages are the product of human genius. Once we evolved from hunter-gatherer societies and learned to domesticate animals, we had to reconcile our meat-eating habits with the fact that meat does not keep for long after the animal dies. Humans learned that covering them in a natural animal casing, adding spices and smoking them allowed the meat to remain edible for a long time. Thus, the sausage was born.
There are many varieties of sausage, which we are sure you already know. Listed here are some of the best-known types!
The name comes from High German. It is a combination of two words: brat – finely chopped and wurst – sausage. Bratwurst is a major classification, similar to how hotdog means any of a wide variety of American style sausages. There are at least 40 varieties of Bratwurst.
The most common varietals use pork or beef as the main ingredient. Like most sausages, Bratwurst uses the less appealing cuts of the animal. After all, when ground up, spiced, smoked and pan-fried, even tri-tip or hanger meat makes for an excellent meal.
Most Bratwursts, as with most varieties of sausage, use a casing made of plant cellulose. However, for the authentic Bratwurst experience, look for the ones that use pig intestine casings. After all, if it was good enough for Medieval Germans, it is good enough for us today.
The Lorne is an odd one. While most sausages are cylindrical because of their casing, this Scottish entry to the sausage world is square and is ‘caseless.’
Butchers mix the pork or beef protein with rusk, twice-baked bread and spices. They then get packed into a square tin. In this way, Lorne resembles spam. For cooking, the square-ish Lorne is cut into 1 cm thick slices and then fried like any sausage. When eaten with baked beans and fried bread, Lorne evokes memories of the Scottish Highlands.
Saveloys are probably the ancestors of the hotdog. Following the policy of not wasting any part of the pig, the original Saveloy consists of finely chopped pig brains. If you are adventurous, perhaps you can still experience one of these sausages.
However, today’s common Saveloy is about 58% pork meat with rusk, spices, emulsifiers and preservatives. As mentioned earlier, the ingredients are very similar to hot dogs. But while most hot dogs use plant cellulose for their casings, Saveloy uses beef collagen. You will have to taste it to see the difference.
Some of you history buffs might have heard this name before. Cumberland is a county in Ancient England and is home to this unique sausage. Traditional Cumberland Sausage is a Protected Geographical Indication; this means you can’t just whip up some Cumberlands and call it Traditional Cumberland Sausage.
The distinction is subtle but essential. It is similar to the difference between Wagyu and Kobe Beef. Wagyu and varietals claiming to be Wagyu are now all over the world, but only Wagyu raised in Japan can call itself Kobe Beef. Thus, we might be able to make Cumberlands in our kitchen, but it is not the Traditional Cumberland Sausage.
Cumberlands have a spicy flavour profile and are distinguished because it is a long continuous coil. This is unlike other traditional sausages that are broken up into shorter, more manageable links. These coils can be up to 50cm long.