We investigate what’s really in our favourite Aussie BBQ meat.
What are sausages made out of? While traditionally sausages were created with parts of animal that wouldn’t be particularly palatable on their own (e.g. hooves, snouts, liver and off-cuts), our snags today are far more gourmet. Here, we break down every ingredient you’ll likely find on the back of the pack, including the meat, fats, fillers, additives and casing.
Cheaper varieties of sausages also contain sausage meal (aka, fillers) that are usually made from wheat (or rice flour if labelled gluten-free). Water is then added to bind the meat and fillers and add bulk to the weight of the produce.
As water affects the shelf-life of food, most bulk-buy sausages are packed with preservatives to stop the growth of bacteria and delay oxidation of the meat. However, these are tested by Food Standards Australia New Zealand to ensure they are safe for consumption. The preservatives most likely to be included in sausages are mineral salts, preservative (223), sulphur dioxide (220), sodium and potassium sulphites (221-225 and 228). These are limited to 500mg per kilogram. Note: some sulphites can cause allergy-like intolerances, so are best avoided by those who are particularly sensitive to preservatives.
In addition, as water dilutes the natural taste of the sausage, flavour enhancers are often added. Dextrose (a refined sweetener) and hydrolysed vegetable protein made from maize are the most common.
Sausages are usually stuffed into one of two types of casings: a natural casing made from animal intestines or a synthetic casing. The latter are made from industrially-processed collagen protein, which is derived from beef or pig hides. Synthetic casings are usually cheaper and come in a variety of sizes.
What are the different varieties of sausages?
The most common types of sausages available on the market are vegetarian, pork, lamb, Italian, beef and chicken. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite recipes to satisfy all your sausage cravings:
Lottie DalzielLottie Dalziel is a 4AM riser and coffee-addict who lives and breathes the Better Homes and Gardens brand. When she isn't reading up on the latest trends in sustainability or discovering ways to upcycle almost anything, you can find her by the beach, cooking up a storm or adding to her abundant (some would say out of control) plant collection.