A long time ago, on my first business trip to the UK, I stumbled down the hotel stairs that first morning still suffering from jet lag. Fortunately the breakfast buffet was wel stocked. That was my first introduction to British Bangers. I'd never tasted a sausage quite like them before. Instant addiction.
Since that day, I've eaten bangers every time the opportunity arose. Unfortunately, here is Phoeniz, AZ that opportunity does not often arise. We havce a couple restaurants that server great bangers and mash. We have a specialty supermarket and some specialty sausage-makers that claim to offer bangers. Unfortunately they are bangers in name only and taste nothing like authentic bangers. I did manage to find a company on the Internet who offers real authentic bangers. But at $9 per pound they are just to expensive to eat on a regular basis.
I decided to learn to make my own. With some searching, I found this article from The Paupered Chef and this video by Heston Blumenthal to be very helpful. Essentially everything I know about making bangers comes from these two sources. I bought a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer, and made a bunch of traditional American pork breakfast sausage links in order to learn how to make sausage. Finally, last weekend I felt I was ready to make Bangers.
A Few Words About Rusk
Normally, you want sausage with no filler. Not true with bangers. A ground bread product called Rusk is an essentiall ingredient to bangers. Rusk is a dry cracker-like thing normally given to toddlers when they are teething. If you google 'rusk' you'll see lot's of references and even several recipes. The Indian and South African variations of rusk use buttermilk as the liquid. British rusk uses water. I made the rusk using The Paupered Chef's recipe:
- 1 pound flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 7+ ounces of water
A few quick words about the amount of water:
If you are already a breadmaker then you already know this. If not I'm about to save you some frustration. The amount of water in any recipe is just a starting point. The actual amount required depends upon temperature, humidity, and a bunch of other factors. Start out with the recommended amount. If the ingredients remain dry and crumbly then add a little water. I live in Arizona. It's really dry here. When I added water to this rusk recipe, I did so a tablespoon at a time.
I rolled the dough out to about a half-inch thick and placed it on a non-stick baking pan and baked it at 450F for ten minutes. I pulled it out of the oven, cut it into half-inch thick strips, put each strip on it's side and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. After that I flipped each strip over and gave it another 5 minutes in the oven. Then pull it out of the oven, let the strips cool, and then let them sit on the counter for a day. Yes, you want them to be stale. The next step was to run the rusk strips through the food processor until they are the consistency of course meal.
After grinding the pork shoulder, I added the rusk, chicken stock, salt, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and sage according to The Paupered Chef's recipe. Into the sausage stuffer it went and out came these beautiful links:
My Sweet Lady WIfe thinks they are fantastic. I think they are good but need a little tweaking of the ingredients. In a few weeks I'll make another batch and report back.