Monday, 10 August 2020

GH Porter Provisions - Newark - Newark Sausage

Porter's butchers, or GH Porter Provisions as the are formally known, is a lovely looking shop with a very attractive dual aspect frontage, in the heart of Newark. They've been providing tasty produce since 1890. It's unique in Rate My Sausage history as it's the place where the idea was hatched, the cradle of sausage rating as we know it. Many years ago, as I took my little old Mum out on a day trip to one of her old stomping grounds, the old girl wanted some sausages, and led the way to Porters. I was impressed by the range available from this proper butcher and wondered if it would be interesting to compare different varieties...

Of course it is a very worthwhile endeavour. We began comparing butchers to supermarkets but quickly found that there is simply no comparison. These days we try to promote quality British producers of high quality products, and support British agriculture where possible. But enough of that.

Porter's Newark sausages are a unique blend of pork, cheese and apples. They are truly local, with the pork from a nearby farm, the rich Stilton cheese produced just a couple of miles away, and the Bramley apples from a Newark garden, obtained by swapping them for bacon. Quid pro quo is alive and well here. With such splendid and local ingredients the sausage just had to be christened the “Newark”, and it's unique.

This is an important business for Newark, and is run by the archetypal jolly butcher, Tom – he will happily chat with you on all things meaty and local and has a wealth of interesting facts, figures and tales to impart. For instance, did you know that Porters products are exported – via Fortnum & Masons. Yes really! There's a website for you to peruse too: PORTERS WEBSITE

Where To Find Them:

Porters are located in the market place in Newark. Turn until you are facing the church spire then head towards the right hand corner nearest the church, and the shop is prominently situated on a corner. Can't miss it. The interior has been kept old-fashioned and nostalgic, and exudes warmth and customer service.

Opening Hours (temporary due to pandemic):

Monday – 0900 to 1400

Tuesday – 0900 to 1400

Wednesday – 0900 to 1400

Thursday – 0900 to 1400

Friday – 0900 to 1400

Saturday – 0900 to 1500

Sunday - Closed


The shop is usually crewed by helpful female staff, but now and then one of the Stans makes an appearance to talk with a customer. A rare sighting, but a good one. Look out for Tom!


The flavour of the Newark sausage is almost overpowering, but not quite. They cuddle and smother and hug your taste buds providing a deeply flavoursome experience. The cheese is the most prominent taste backed up with quality sweet pork and the apple, it's unusual for a sausage but I bloody loved them. The one slight thing I would like to see is more tangy apple to slice through the super Stilton savouriness. Delicious.


On a positive note the filling is three quarters on the road to perfect, it's crumbly, quite chunky, and you can see the individual components. Just look at the sliced and the fork pictures! Feels great in the mouth too, as the sausage mixes and melds nicely. But there is a problem. At Rate My Sausage we have always used a frying pan with a little oil to prepare the bangers, we think that's the proper way to do it. The Newark sausages really struggled in the pan and several of the English hog casings split asunder, despite the pan being on the lowest heat on the smallest gas ring. Did we have some rogue bangers, or would this happen again? We will be buying these sausages again because they taste lovely, so we'll try grilling next time (much against our principles!).

Vital Statistics:

Average Weight Uncooked = 76 grams

Average Weight Cooked = 64 grams

Meat Content = I forgot to find out, sorry...

Value For Money:

£3.65 for 6 sausages weighing 457 grams. This works out as £7.99 per kg and 61p per banger.

After much consideration of all the facts we rate this as good value for money.

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:

My notes say “AMAZING aroma in pan, rich deep cheesy porkiness. Obvs.” I think that sums it up nicely.

And Finally, Esther:

Great flavour, wonderful texture, be careful how you cook them...

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Richard's Quality Meats - Newark - Pork & Black Pudding Sausage

We've lived in the attractive and historic market town of Newark for a year now and still haven't reviewed the local sausages. This obviously had to change so the plan is to tour the proper butchers in the town over the coming weeks - there are quite a few of them - and rate their bangers. First up are the pork and black pudding sausages from Richard's Quality Meats.

Richard's is a small but attractive shop, kept spotless as you would hope. They carry a huge variety of sausages so pretty much any palate can be accommodated. During the summer months they also offer a good range of BBQ packs, and judging by the reviews already online these are good quality and a good price. One thing not included in these special packs are their Vesuvius sausages, made with Indian fire chillies, specially developed by Richard to shoot down in flames (literally) those “I can eat any amount of spice” annoying kind of BBQ show-offs. Wow, they are hot, I was fortunate enough to try a couple and they are not for the faint hearted. If you like a spicy banger but one that won't set your eyebrows on fire, try the Three Amigos variety, made with three different chillies and peppers.

But those sausages are for another day. How did we rate the Pork & Black Pudding variety? Read on sausage fans...

Where To Find Them:
Tucked away up a small back passage in the middle of Newark is where you'll locate Richard's Quality Meats. The actual alley is called Clinton Arms Court, but if you can find Wilko's you're in the right place. Or if you're in the market place look for Barclays bank and head to its left.

Opening Hours:
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 0800 to 1600
Wednesday – 0800 to 1600
Thursday – 0800 to 1600
Friday – 0800 to 1600
Saturday – 0800 to 1530
Sunday - Closed

There are always a few Stans and Stanettes busily beavering in the background in this shop, properly turned out in whites, and all friendly and welcoming.

The pleasantly savoury flavour is well balanced between the two main ingredients. The pork is obviously good cuts, the opposite end of the quality spectrum to the pork we found in last week's Co-op review. You can see the nuggets of black pudding in the filling and it's a traditional accompaniment to sausages on the Full English plate. They go together like Mork and Mindy. Or salt and vinegar. Or Colleen Rooney and Rebecca Vardy. Oh, hold on....not that last one. This is a tasty sausage.

Very good. Take a look at the “sliced” picture. Here at RMS we like our sausage fillings chunky and lumpy and these bangers are a pretty good attempt. Again, look at the Co-op variety from last week, there's really no comparison. It's like parking a Lotus next to a Datsun, one is hand-made by an individual who really knows and understands what they're doing, the other mass-produced on a production line. The skins are natural, as they should be. A proper casing really adds something to a sausage, the snap/crack when you cut them, and the effect of the frying pan heat tends to bend and bow them in interesting and unique ways. Ever wondered why low quality products like Richmonds sausages retain their perfect straight shape? It's because the collagen skins don't react in any way, except maybe disappearing completely. You can't say the same for this particular sausage.

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 73 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 58 grams
Meat Content = 75 %

Value For Money:
We got a special deal here but going by the book the cost would be £5.21 for 8 sausages weighing 582 grams. This works out as £8.95 per kg and 65p per banger.
We rate this as good value for money.

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
Wonderful aroma as these were frying in the pan, filled the house and made me feel impatient to eat them, always a good sign. I do feel sorry for people who cook sausages in the oven, they're missing out on the great, traditional smell of frying bangers...

And Finally, Esther:
To paraphrase the great John Motson's iconic commentary on a Tony Currie goal, this is “A quality sausage from a quality butcher.” Buy some!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Co-op - Nationwide - Pork Sausage

Everyone's heard of the Co-op right? Mostly you will picture a small-ish, local convenience store, but they also offer funeral services, insurance and legal services. Not bad for an organisation that traces its roots back to The Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. The Pioneers were a group of 28 people, mostly weavers, who saw the mechanisation of their industries coming, and decided to co-operate to open food shops to sell goods that were often too expensive otherwise. This has grown hugely over the years and now the Co-op has 4.6 million members across the UK. I am a member too, and find Co-op to be convenient but slightly over-priced.

To do your own research here's a link to their website: CO-OP

So how would their lowest price bangers turn out? Another Richmonds/Walls/Iceland offering of extremely low quality? Or a rare supermarket gem, a good product at a low price? Three of our Twitter readers awarded them 6.5, 6 and 5, an average of 5.8 – cheers Paul, Andy and David. Would our opinion match the boys'? There's only one way to find on...

Where To Find Them:
Co-op has 3,700 locations all over Britain, covering all their business arms. Some people say that you're never more than five metres away from a Co-op, but they are very silly people. You can find your nearest outlet with this link: STORE FINDER

Opening Hours:
These vary depending on the location, my local shop in Barnbygate, Newark, is open thus:
Monday – 0700 to 2100
Tuesday – 0700 to 2100
Wednesday – 0700 to 2100
Thursday – 0700 to 2100
Friday – 0700 to 2100
Saturday – 0700 to 2100
Sunday - 0700 to 2100

I can't recall ever seeing a butcher at work inside a Co-op, but it may happen in some places? If you've spotted a Stan in a Co-op please take a photo and send it in!

My notes simply read “Bland. Uninspiring. Letdown.” That just about says it all here. Very little porky loveliness, not enough herbs to make the slightest impression on your taste buds. There's added sugars in them too, to produce an artificial browning, attempting to fool us consumers that the ingredients are of a higher quality. Children would probably love them though as they're completely unchallenging, virtually flavourless and easy to eat. I sooo wanted these to be at the very least “average” because I respect the Co-op and what it does. But they're not.

As you can see from the sliced picture, there's not a lot good to report. Slightly – just slightly – better than your standard greasy spoon wholesale banger, but still soft and squishy. If the filling was terrible the skins were even worse. Described on the packaging as “made using pork” I am assuming they are collagen not natural casings, as there was no “snap” when cutting and they virtually disappeared in the pan. One of the sausages even broke in two simply by turning gently with tongs.

Value For Money:
£1.90 for 8 sausages weighing 454 grams. This works out as £4.19 per kg and 24p per banger. Extremely cheap...does cheap mean the same as value for money?
We rate this product as poor value for money.

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 57 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 51 grams
Meat Content = 72 %
You have to wonder which cuts of pork are used if this figure is accurate, for 24p per item.

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
Not unpleasant during cooking but very faint. Not a lot of aromatic ingredients inside.

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Yes I saved some of these sausages in the fridge for the next day. I wish I hadn't. A lot of high quality sausages can taste even better the day after, having firmed up overnight. Not these things. One bite was spat out seconds later, and the rest dispatched straight into the bin.

And Finally, Esther:
Not the worst sausage we've ever reviewed, but definitely in the relegation zone. Don't go out of your way to buy them.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

The Decent Company - Abergavenny - Pork Sausage

Is it too soon to mention Christmas? In my humble opinion it definitely is. Having said that, is it too soon to mention Sausage Of The Year? Weeelll....maybe. But you might well be looking at it right here...

Do the names Tom and Barbara mean anything to you? They were the main characters in the classic sitcom The Good Life, in which a couple left the rat race behind and tried to live a self sufficient life. The story of The Decent Company has echoes of this story, in that the founder, Martha Roberts, also quit a life of spreadsheets and meetings to become, in her own words “A former suburban, corporate woman, gone rogue!” They share values and beliefs but the difference between the two is that Martha shares her vision, and the meat that it creates, with a loyal following of extremely satisfied customers. The most common way to purchase the end product is via the half pig, quarter pig or taster boxes. I'd love to describe Martha's life and her smallholding to you but it's done much better on her own website (a link can be found further down the page).

Before ordering my quarter of a pig I did a little research online, and asked people for their opinion on the sausages – here are some of those views:
We like them so much we bought a year's supply!”
I highly recommend them (and Martha's pig-keeping skills/high welfare standards).”
Oh yes, loved them. And reordered.”
Previous customers seem happy enough eh?

Where To Find Them:
The Decent Company is of course a real-life smallholding, but you can only purchase their piggy products online. The website is beautifully designed and gives a great insight into the high welfare standards employed. As it's such a small scale operation the meat is not available all day every day, and becomes available only when the current broods are ready. For this reason I would seriously advise contacting Martha via the order form on the website, or via Twitter (@MarthaRoberts). The online form also let's you know when the next batch of pork will be available.
If for no other reason, visit this website for lots of lovely pictures of piglets doing what piglets love to do: THE DECENT COMPANY

Opening Hours:
The internet is open 24 hours a day, every day, except Easter Sunday. Early closing Thursday afternoons.

The pork from the mostly Gloucester Old Spot pigs is so sweet, it provides a prominent yet delicate flavour here. My notes say “Absolutely bloody lovely”. There's seasoning here but it's subtle, just enough to give the taste a boost but not so that the meat is overpowered. It's a smooth, old-fashioned deliciousness that I loved, and frankly can hardly wait to get the next lot in the frying pan!

The filling is quite fine but beautifully firm at the same time, you're hard pushed to squish these through your fork (unlike poor quality offerings from the likes of Richmonds, Iceland, etc). In the mouth the sausage breaks apart allowing thousands of tasty bobbles of flavoursome pork to run riot. The skins snap just perfectly when cut, and squeak in the mouth. Near perfection...

Vital Statistics:
Average Weight Uncooked = 59 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 48 grams
Meat Content = 85 %

Value For Money:
Our sausages came as part of our “quarter pig” box so it's impossible to separate their price. The webite though lists a kilogram of sausages for £10, so I'll use that. We ordered the quarter pig box, at £90 which iis a good price for the large amount and variety of meat that you receive.
£3.51 for 6 sausages weighing 351 grams. This works out as £10.00 per kg and 58p per banger. Far from extortionate for such a quality item.
We rate this as fabulous value for money.

The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
We've always fried sausages for our reviews, and this time was no different. As I've recently moved house I am still trying to get the hang of using a gas hob (had a couple of disasters so far too), so these sausages were fried very slowly. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness....the whole house was filled with the most mouth-watering aroma, which just got better as the bangers browned. Lovely.

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Yeah, right. You think any of these beauties would survive overnight? No chance.

And Finally, Esther:
From start to finish there is nothing not to like about The Decent Company and its products. Sausage Of The Year? Maybe. Martha Roberts is a food heroine.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Player Profile - Lee Horsley Frost

Welcome to the second of our "player profiles" in which we find out more about sausage fans and producers, in the style of Shoot football magazine in the seventies. This time we've been speaking to that gobby butcher from Manchester, Lee Horsley Frost, read on to have a look inside his head...

Full name? Lee Frost, you daft ****

How old are you? 46

What was your first car? Cavalier

Where were you born? Manchester

What pets do you have? Labradors, black

What’s your favourite type of sausage? Pork & sage or a Lincolnshire. Must use British large white pigs, the meat is nice and fatty. Texture should be fine.

Which shop do you buy sausages from most often? Never bought a sausage in my life! 

Should sausages be dirt cheap or reassuringly expensive? Reassuringly expensive.

Invent a new type of sausage: We’re working on a chilli and chocolate sausage at the moment, but it needs some more work...

Which non-politician should be the UK Prime Minister? Alan Sugar.

Which 3 people, alive or dead, would you like to cook sausages for on your BBQ? Elvis, Lady Gaga, Sophie Raworth.

Would you prefer to be a billionaire or live to 103? Billionaire.

In what profession would you like to be the world’s best? Something to do with sports shooting

Blackjack or Fruit Salad? Fruit Salad.

Beatles or Stones? **** the Beatles, bunch of ******* scallies.

Clouseau or Poirot? Clouseau.

Tiswas or Swap Shop? Tiswas.

Alan Titchmarsh or Charlie Dimmock? Alan Titchmarsh, top man.

Frosty is a good sport and a self-proclaimed legend on Twitter - @FrostyButcher - but he does find some time to produce seriously good meat products including SUPERB sausages. Check our review then phone him up to order some:

If you would like to feature in a future edition please get in touch!