Celebrating British Food & Cooking
Go into any British cafe or restaurant between 7:00 and 8:00 on a weekday morning and a fair proportion of the tradesmen there will be tucking into a sausage sandwich.
Nothing too fancy, just plain old medium-sliced white supermarket bread, buttered, two pan-fried pork sausages sliced in half lengthways and red or brown sauce on top. You then press down firmly slice in half and serve with a mug of builders-grade tea.
Basic but brilliant! Just what you need to keep you going through a busy morning until lunchtime. I can’t tell you how many of these I have devoured over the last 50 years and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single one.
However, across the nation, on Saturday and Sunday mornings the smell of sausages cooking in the pan or under the grill fills the air. This gives us the opportunity to mix things up a bit.
After all, who can resist the allure of soft pan-fried hot sausages between slices of fresh bread or a crusty roll?
Choose Your Sausage
One of the foods that we are really good at producing in this country is the great British sausage.
Because of our climate, we don’t produce dry or air-cured sausage like Spanish chorizo or whole legs like Parma Ham. Our sausages are uncooked and designed to be pan-fried or baked as individual servings, served hot. Continental sausages like salami are made for slicing to be served cold.
For my idea of the best sausage sandwich, you can’t beat either the Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages. Cumberlands are a simple mixture of prime pork and ground black pepper. Lincolnshire’s are like Cumberlands but also have sage added.
Which Bread For Your Sandwich?
Do you like that crunch as you bite through your perfectly toasted bread, the sensation of fresh crusty bread with that light and fluffy centre, or even the standard bulk-produced sliced white loaf?
Regardless of your choice of bread, be aware that it will affect your perception of the bit in the middle. Do you want the bread to stand out or to complement the filling? It can even be relegated to the role of a means of getting the filling from the plate to the mouth rather like a pitta or a wrap.
There are so many high-quality artisan breads available on the high street and in markets now we are spoilt for choice. With modern home bread makers, baking your own is easier than ever.
So choose your bread with care, after all, it’s two-thirds of your sandwich.
To Toast or Not to Toast?
Some sandwiches are definitely suited to toast, the Scandinavian open sandwich being a good example. Some like egg and mayonnaise or any filling that would make the toast soggy are, in my opinion definitely not.
In our house opinion is divided. Me, I’m for fresh crusty bread, my wife definitely prefers toast.
Touting for opinions around the family, it seems that in general toast is preferred for hot fillings like sausages or bacon and untoasted for cold fillings.
The reason for my preference is really quite simple; I like sauces in my sandwiches and bread soaks up the sauce better than toast. QED.
Sauce It Up a Bit
When I was young (in the 1960s) you really only had two choices, red or brown sauce ie ketchup and HP sauce.
For an authentic British sausage sandwich, you need to stick to either of these two classic sauces.
But when you walk down the supermarket aisle now the shelves are full of sauces from all over the world. It goes to show just how much our tastes have changed especially our adoption of chilli!
I like the Portuguese Nando’s peri-peri sauces for a lively kick to a bacon or sausage sandwich.
At the weekend when you have the time, a fantastic addition to your sausage sandwich is some slow-cooked caramelised onions.
They complement the peppery Cumberland sausages perfectly. Don’t rush them, they need to cook very very slowly to gently brown, and caramelise releasing all those sweet flavours.
Use white or red onions, whichever you prefer. They will elevate your sandwich to the next level.
And there you have it, my take on the best sausage sandwich using the best bread and sausages that Britain has to offer.
Take One to Work
👨🍳 Recipe Tips
Do what I do and cook a couple of extra sausages, this way you can make a cold sausage sandwich to take to work!
🌱 Vegetarian Options
Our vegetarian friends and family can also enjoy an alternative to the traditional pork or beef sausage sandwich. There are some fabulously tasty meat-free alternatives, I like the Richmond Irish ones.
If you cooking for vegetarians don’t forget to use a separate pan for their sausages! And for vegans omit the butter.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
Here’s the Recipe …
The Best British Sausage Sandwich
For the Onions:
- 1 Large Onion sliced
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Rape Seed Oil
For the Sausages:
- 4 Cumberland or Lincolnshire Sausages
- 4 slices Your Favourite Bread toasted if preferred
- 2 tbsp Ketchup or Brown Sauce
- 1 tbsp Butter for spreading
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To Cook the Onions:
- In a frying pan over a low heat add the butter and oil and when the butter has melted stir well.
- Add the sliced onions, stir well to coat with oil/butter and cook over very low heat for approx 1 hour torning occaisionally until they caramelise.
- Remove from the pan and set aside while you cook the sausages.
To Cook the Sausages:
- Add the sausages to the pan with a little extra oil if necessary. Cook for 12 minutes turning regularly until browned all over.
- Remove the sausages from the pan and carefully slice them lengthways nearly all the way through so they fold open but stay attached.
- Return the sausages to the pan cut side down for a further 3 minutes. This browns the centre making sure it is cooked thoroughly.
To Assemble the Sandwich:
- Lay two slices of the bread or toast on your board and lay the sausages flat side down on top. Add your red or brown sauce in the channels between the sausage halves.
- Spread the onions on top, cover with the remaining bread slices, and cut in half to serve.