The Great Sausage Review!

As we are now approaching Summer and the sun is starting to shine, now seemed to be a good time to review some of the gluten free sausages available on the market, just in time for the BBQ season!

After realising quite how many different brands of gluten free sausages are now available on the market, I thought I’d see if any of them would be interested in me carrying out a review of some of their range.

To my delight there was lots of interest and I soon received some samples from companies I’d never come across in my local supermarkets, but I also purchased some packs from brands that had been recommended on Twitter.

I’d managed to accumulate sausages from seven different brands (that’s a lot of sausages!) and as a result the review later became labelled the #greatsausagereview 🙂 Thanks Julie (@TalkingGoodFood)!

It took quite a while to work out the best way of comparing the different brands at the same time, but the easiest way seemed to be to individually cook one sausage from each pack and then compare various elements such as texture, size, appearance, pork percentage and of course, taste.

This proved to be quite a time consuming process as I made sure that the frying pan was cleaned between each use to ensure fairness. This resulted in it taking well over an hour to cook just seven sausages, which meant that the sausages couldn’t be eaten hot, as I wanted to try them at the same time so that a comparison would be easier.

The Brands

Before I let you know the results, let’s find out some more about each of the brands included in the review, with information taken from their respective websites.

DSC03091The Good Little Company

The Good Little Company is a fab team of mums, dads, aunties and uncles working together with some of the finest farmers, food producers and boffins in the land to make yummy food that the whole family can enjoy. We’re a small company full to the brim with personality, enthusiasm, tastiness and goodness. We make food that’s good for you and good for others.

We hope you’ll not only taste the difference, but that you and yours will feel it too. None of our lovely foods have artificial colours or any horrible nasty stuff you normally find in food these days.

Waitrose Love Life own brandDSC03148

We believe everyone should be able to choose delicious food that supports a healthy and active lifestyle. Our LOVE life ranges are about enjoying and broadening your diet every day.  Whether it’s about eating more variety, having more of your 5 a day, controlling calories or avoiding gluten, LOVE life has a product for you.

DSC03150Debbie & Andrew’s

Totally dedicated to quality and flavour, our sausages contain the finest ingredients, simply added to coarse minced meat from the best cuts of British farmed lean meat. No short cuts, no cheat ingredients, no long supply chains, no risks; just great meat with great ingredients.

Rankin SelectionDSC03142

The Rankin Selection Brand was born in 2002 through a fantastic partnership with Irwin’s Bakery and a range of great tasting traditional Irish breads launched into the marketplace. The success of the bread range inspired me to develop the brand further and in 2004 we launched our Irish Sausage range, followed by our  most recent  launch into the Gourmet pie and mushroom markets.

DSC03145Black Farmer

After years of travelling the world making TV films about food and drink I learned to appreciate well made simple food that tasted great. Whenever I returned to the UK after a journey abroad I longed for a Full English breakfast – sausages, bacon and eggs (whatever the time of day or night!). Nothing in the world can beat it.

The downside was that I became aware of the very poor quality of the majority of sausages available in British supermarkets. Some had huge amounts of filler and very poor quality meat.  What’s more, as an ardent supporter of British farmers, I was appalled that there was no commitment to using British meat.

I made a promise to myself that I would create a sausage that tastes exceptional, has a high meat content and uses 100% British pork. So that’s what I did!

HeckDSC03164

We are the Keebles, a family of farmers and sausage makers. Making damn good sausages is in our blood and we have been doing it for years.

Our little factory runs 7 days a week 364 days a year. Now because we only ever use pork shoulder we take time to trim each cut and make sure we hand mix and measure every batch of sausages, most factories make huge great mixes of meat, but we only ever make a maximum of 50 kilos at a time, you can’t rush making great tasting food.

DSC03162Sally’s Sizzlers

We want to offer you the chance to experience some of those items that you wouldn’t normally be able to eat let alone enjoy.

All our products are wheat free, Soya free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free, gluten free and lactose free (except our cheeseburgers & Kebabs which contains dairy).

The Sausages Reviewed

The sausages reviewed from each brand were:

  • The Good Little Company – Great Big Sausages
  • Waitrose Love Life – Free From Pork Sausages
  • Debbie & Andrew’s – Harrogate 97% Pork Sausages
  • Rankin Selection – Outdoor Bred Pork Sausages
  • Black Farmer – Premium Pork Sausages
  • Heck – 97% Pork Sausages
  • Sally’s Sizzlers – Premium Range Pork Sausages

The categories reviewed were:

  • value for money (cost per sausage)
  • taste
  • texture
  • size
  • appearance
  • nutritional value (calories and fat per 100g)
  • packaging
  • pork percentage

I designed a lovely chart before starting my review which detailed the number relating to each brand and the different elements to be reviewed.

Once cooked, each sausage was placed on a plate next to its corresponding number and once they were all cooked the tasting began!

After tasting, each brand received a score from 1 to 5 in each category, with 5 being the best score.

Results

Value for money

The cheapest brand per sausage was the Waitrose own brand sausages costing just 29.8p! The remaining brands ranged from 46.3p to the most expensive at 49.8, so the majority of brands were all much of a muchness in terms of value for money, but was the quality reflected in the price? Find out below…

Taste

Now this is obviously a very important aspect of any review and I’m pleased to announce that the best tasting sausages were those from Sally Sizzlers. Personally I feel that this was due to the sausages being freshly made rather than mass produced and this came across in the taste. They certainly tasted fresher than any of the other brands.

Texture

This probably seems like quite a random category, but it’s surprising just how much the texture of sausages varies, with some being quite ‘bitty’. The joint winners of this category were the Waitrose own brand, Heck and Sally’s Sizzlers. I felt that these brands had a much smoother texture, which is something I prefer.

Size

You’d probably think that this category would be quite easy to judge as most sausages are the same size and yes they are, but they’re not always the same size once they’ve been cooked! This was unfortunately proven by the Debbie & Andrew’s sausages as they quite significantly shrunk during cooking! Sally’s Sizzlers were definitely the best at maintaining their size and shape and again this is probably due to them being freshly made and containing less liquid.

Appearance

This category partly goes hand in hand with the one above, however some of the sausages quite literally exploded during cooking so they were marked down on their appearance. The best looking, and therefore least flawed sausages, after cooking were Sally’s Sizzlers and Heck. Both looked very appealing after cooking whereas it’s fair to say that some of the other’s didn’t!

Nutritional Value

It is probably not a big surprise that the sausages with the best nutritional value were those from The Good Little Co (I guess the clue’s in the title!). With just 187 calories per 100g they were by far the best on the calorie front, with the highest calories coming from Waitrose with a massive jump up to 315 calories per 100g!

The same brands were at both ends of the scale with their fat per 100g. The Good Little Co sausages have 12.5g per fat, with Waitrose doubling that to 25.9g.

Packaging

For me packaging is a very important part of a product and I prefer something that will grab my attention. In this case both Heck and The Good Little Co have very bright packaging that would certainly get my interest!

Pork %

Given the names of some of the sausages, it’s probably quite easy to work out that Debbie & Andrew’s and Heck are going to win this category with their 97% pork, and indeed they do, however Sally’s Sizzlers are close with their sausages containing a minimum of 95% pork.

At the opposite end of the scale the Waitrose own brand sausages have only 81% pork and I feel that this is where the low price is derived from.

Conclusion

Following the results per category, it is probably quite easy to see that the top 2 brands from the review, Sally’s Sizzlers and Heck. From the individual points per category, the overall winner by just 1 point is…..

logo

NB: These are just my opinions of the sausages and brands sampled and you may find that you have other favourites. If you do, let me know!

What Happened Next…..

Following on from the comparison review each brand of sausage it was fair to say that I was left with a lot of sausages! The left over sausages from the review were all eaten with mash and onion gravy, which was very interesting as their individual flavours certainly came out when eating them as part of a meal all together!

DSC03201

Due to the sheer quantity of sausages remaining from each brand, they have been frozen until they are needed for a meal. As and when they are used I will include details of how they were used, along with some photos of course! 🙂

Sally’s Sizzlers

The remaining sausages from Sally’s Sizzlers were used in a Sausage Casserole recipe from Hairy Bikers. This meal tasted lovely and the texture from the combined ingredients was great.

I slightly adapted the recipe to suit my tastes, but the original recipe can be found here.

DSC03212 DSC03214-1 DSC03217

Rankin Selection

The remaining sausages from Rankin Selection were used in a Sausage and Onion Rosti recipe from Delicious Magazine. Due to the quantity of sausages remaining I reduced the quantity of ingredients to make a 2 portion meal as opposed to 4 and added some gravy, but it still tasted great. We will definitely be having that meal again!

If you’re interested in trying this for yourself, the original recipe can be found here.

DSC03612 DSC03613 DSC03616

If you would like more information about any of the brands reviewed, you can find their website and Twitter / Facebook details below:

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of these brands! What did you think? Which ones would you recommend? Please let me know by leaving a comment below! 🙂

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “The Great Sausage Review!

  1. I have managed to persuade my local butcher to make gluten free sausages. Cheaper and tastier than brands. He now tells me that he sells more of these than his “traditional” sausages!
    Mac

  2. Hi Tracy! What a great review. You have put a lot of time and effort into this and I think it really paid off! And what a lot of fun too! We always get the Black Farmer sausages, but if I can get my hands on some of Sally’s then I would be very happy! They don’t stock them in my Tesco though. Keep up the great work and look out for some sausage news on my blog in the next few weeks!!!

  3. We’ve tried a few of the above, but needing dairy free too, it’s not easy to find the right ones when you want them.
    We now get Tesco Finest outdoor bred 6 pork sausages. Sadly, they don’t flag up their free-fromness at all on the packet, so was only by chance that we discovered them. Only allergen listed is ‘metabisulphites’. I find they don’t overcompensate by adding a ton of spice/pepper and Hubby and son think they taste most like ‘normal’ sausages.

  4. We’ve carried out our own taste test on GF sausages recently, not quite as thorough as yours it must be said we loved the Heck ones too, but I’m inclined to buy Waitrose own as they are a good deal cheaper!

    • Glad you agree! Yes Waitrose runs are certainly cheaper and would be happy to use them in something like a casserole. Personally I prefer the flavour of the Heck and Sally’s Sizzlers ones, but all down to personal taste 🙂

  5. I have not tried any of these sausages, but I surely will! My own favourites are Porky Whites, and the best way I have found to cook them is to simmer them in water for ten minutes before baking in the oven (20 mins, gas4).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s