Tuesday 3 July 2012

Tesco Finest - British Pork & Red Leicester Sausage

Yes, I know, another review of a Tesco’s sausage.  After trashing their abysmal Butcher’s Choice range recently I thought it would be fair to give their premium range a go – hence I’ve been frying some Tesco Finest British Pork & Red Leicester sausages.  I chose this particular variety because A – they’re new, and B – I was intrigued as to how cheese would work in a sausage.  I suppose that in the sake of fairness it’s only right to try their Top Of The Shop stuff as well as their mass-market pap.

Meat Content:
78% says the packaging.  Well the meat here is lighter and more tender than I expect from a supermarket sausage.  Do they use the “finest” cuts of pork in their Finest range, and the....less good....bits in their others?  I don’t know the answer to that one, but I do know that this meat is not too bad, verging on the quite good!  Did I just faintly praise them?

Pork and red Leicester, so you’d hope they would taste cheesy, right?  Well they’re cheesy, no doubt about that.  The rather better than expected, succulent meat is your first flavour, then the super-savoury cheesiness appears.  I’d sum up these bangers as tasting like “cheese on toast, in sausage form” – and what the hell is wrong with THAT combo?  Unusually for a typical premium supermarket sausage, the “headline” ingredients don’t completely take over, they just combine perfectly well, and the result is....wait for it, wait for it....delicious!

As much as the meat is not bad, and the flavour is rather good, the texture is still too fine for my liking.  But in this instance I will forgive them.  There’s plenty of evidence of the Red Leicester cheese in the photos, from large, orange chunks in the uncooked picture, through to the oozing yumminess in the sliced photos.  But my favourite is the one showing the sausage sliced lengthways.  Now, this is the “official” way that sausages are judged according to the National Approved Standards for Competition Organisers (NASCO), and I will freely admit that I’ve been doing it wrong all along!  Wrong but unique, that’s my excuse.  Anyway, expect more of the lengthways shots in future.  In this case this particular photo shows the cheese spreading it’s tastiness throughout the pork filling, giving a kind of “marbling” effect, beloved of meat-lovers everywhere.  The filling is quite resistant to the knife and fork when you try to pull it apart, but it eventually gives in in waves.  Not crumbly enough, but the Tesco Sausage Designer has done a very good job here.

Average weight uncooked - 66g
Average weight cooked - 53g

Shrinkage - 20%

Still searching for a genuine way to “pan” these sausages, and I can’t even blame excessive shrinking.  What’s going on?  Not a low figure but far from among the highest.

Value For Money:
£2.50 for six sausages, weighing 393g - this works out as a price of £6.36 per kg, or 42p per snorker.

Grudgingly, considering how much I enjoyed these sausages, I’m giving Tesco a “very good value for money” rating.

Through A Child’s Eyes:
Junior Sidekick wasn’t around when I cooked these sausages.

Opening Hours:
All day, every day.  It’s Tesco!

The Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
When we tried the Skinny Lizzie bangers a while ago my son suggested that sausages sometimes taste really nice after spending a night in the fridge.  The teeny genius was, of course, correct.  So here is the imaginatively named Next Day Cold Sausage Test section.  I sliced up the leftover bangers and tried them on their own, and also with English mustard, tomato ketchup and HP sauce, with differing and interesting results!

Brown sauce:  One slice dived headlong into the HP sauce, so was the first to be eaten.  Tangy, sweet, sour, savoury and saucy, this would blow a child’s head off but is a taste sensation – for Adults Only!

Mustard:  Two slices took too much mustard, giving a nosebleed blinding blast of heat.  Not good.  Even a slight dab of the Colman’s was too much, the flavours didn’t really go together.

Red sauce:  The sweetness of the ketchup was a good match with the savouriness of the sausage.  Good, but not great.

Cold and Naked:  (That’s the sausage, not me)  It’s still a not-bad banger but the gooey cheesiness has gone.  Again, good, not great.

So we heartily recommend that when you use the Tesco Finest British Pork & Red Leicester sausages in your butties for work, use HP Sauce, it’s a love/hate match made in heaven!

And here’s how these cold sausages made the plate feel!

And Finally, Esther:
Overall I loved these sausages.  But they came from Tesco.  If nothing else I suppose this review proves the objectivity of this blog as a whole.  I feel a little violated and uncomfortable writing so effusively about this product, but that’s my honest opinion. You really should try some for yourself.  Now and again a mass-produced sausage (remember Jamie Oliver’s?) proves itself to be of a decent standard, DAMMIT, and these Pork & Red Leicester bangers are one of those.  To the extent that I’m going to buy some more!


Sausage King said...

Be interesting to know if they come from one producer or multiple producers. Be interested to know about their consistency.

Rate My Sausage said...

You mean consistency between makers? Trust me, Your Highness, I am not proud that I liked these sausages!

Vinogirl said...

Love this review. Love the sauce pairing, stroke of genius. Love red leicester (have an imported block in the fridge right now).

Unknown said...

Just had Tesco finest carmaelised onion sausages. First time I've ever left all but one sausage on a plate. Had to go online to give them the worst review possible, super greasy, fatty, taste odd and unlike pork. Disgusting. I really like Co-op finest similar sausages so it's not the onion.