It may not look like much in the pan or on the butchers counter but kids favourite, the humble sausage is a sales phenomenon.
Over the past year the UK has eaten over 191,000 tonnes of sausages worth a staggering £664.7million to the UK economy. Today alone over 5 million people will tuck into sausage as a dish that’s more people than the entire Saturday night audience of Match of the Day!
Closer to home the Ulster Pork & Bacon Forum celebrate the best in local sausages every year during National Sausage Week. This year the Forum will be tasking local butchers to come up with innovative, tasty and unique recipes using only locally farmed Northern Ireland Pork. The humble sausage plays an important role in Northern Ireland with 90% of sausages made using pork.
National Sausage Week runs from 31st October with in store demonstrations and culminating in a glitzy awards ceremony for the butchery trade during the first week in November.
Andrew Hollywood Brand Manager for the Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum notes that the “awards night is always well attended. It gives the butchery trade something to celebrate and even spurs innovation.” Many of the past innovation winners have gone on to stock their winning entry in-store.
Butchers are tested in a number of categories including product innovation, technical excellence, the chef’s choice and above all taste.
Sausages have come along way. The earliest recorded sausage was made in the Middle East over 5,000 years ago. Once banned by the Roman Empire the sausage made a comeback in and around 400 AD when they first entered the UK. By the middle ages sausages had spread throughout Northern Europe with each region utilising different ingredients to compliment the pork.
Nicknamed the “banger” during World War Two when a scarcity of ingredients lead to a higher water content. Additional water was used to help bulk up the product. However this made the sausages explode when the heated water inside the sausage turned to steam.
The sausage is now eaten by 87% of UK households. Sean Owens, recipe development chef for the Forum notes that “There are a few golden rules when cooking sausages. Cook slowly over a medium heat making sure it is cooked thoroughly. But above all never prick the sausage with a fork.”
Sean explains that although tempting, pricking the sausages lets out all the juices and flavour into the pan. Take time as they will only burst when cooked too quickly! Also Sean adds “giving thought to what else is on the plate is a must. Recipes that encapsulate Northern Ireland food heritage such as a good quality mashed potato, locally sourced vegetables along with seasonal ingredients bring any dish to life”.
Sean has helped to develop several sausage recipes for the Forum, all of which will be sampled throughout out two week cookery road show from the 31st October. Look out for the team at a store near you. For great taste, it’s simple, Northern Ireland Pork.
For further information on National Sausage Week please contact:
Andrew Hollywood, Ulster Pork & Bacon Forum, 475 Antrim Road, Belfast, BT15 3DA
Tel: 028 90 370222