Tuesday 22 January 2013

Hubbards - Bury St Edmunds - Old English Sausage

So, on to our second part of the Bury St Edmunds series, a visit to a butcher we have reviewed before but have never stepped inside their shop.  It’s Hubbards Traditional Butchers of St Olaves Precinct, and we last met them at their mobile stall at beautiful down town Docking Market.  The label sticking into Hubbard’s Old English sausages when I visited them read “A sprinkle of herbs and lemon zest helps this one to be a favourite with bangers and mash.”  Does their strap-line bear out?  We’ll see later on.  First a little background information.

David Hubbard is a most interesting chap who will happily hold a meat-based conversation with you for as long as you have to spare.  He’s had a long apprenticeship in the art of butcherism and really knows his stuff.  He was a little disgruntled (in a nice, friendly way, I hasten to add) about our preference for a chunky-cut sausage filling, having been educated in a Germanic sausage style, thus leaning to finer fillings.  More recently he’s taken an interest in the Mennonite culture of North America, who took their style of sausage making with them from Friesland in the seventeenth century.  It’s thanks to this fascinating background, via Nossack Fine Meats in Alberta, that David Hubbard lives and breathes a passion for pork sausages, and may explain why you’re sure to get a good product if you put Hubbards’ bangers on your plate.

Their new shop is slightly out of Bury town centre but please, please, please do NOT let that deter you in the slightest.  A super-warm welcome is guaranteed, and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with any bangers you buy.  Trust me, I’m a doctor.  Did “a sprinkle of herbs and lemon zest” prove a winning combination?  Read on to find out....

Meat Content:
That’s more like it Bury!  Between 85% and 90% is the official figure and it tastes that way too.  Not just any old pork though, “good” quality pork, which makes a real difference to the sausage, from Dingley Dell pork near Woodbridge (as previously mentioned when we reviewed their  Hubbards Traditional Pork Sausage last year.  A great foundation for a (hopefully) great sausage.

Oh, on a complete tangent, on my perambulations around deepest, darkest, delightful Bury St Edmunds I happened upon the scene of some personal sporting highlights (see above).  It's been upgraded somewhat since that summer evening in 1987, and now boasts a snazzy tartan running track instead of the cinders track upon which I clocked personal best times for the 3000m and 400m.  The 3000m I finished in 8 minutes 51 seconds, which was bloody good let me tell you!  The 400m took place about half an hour later, hence the rather pedestrian 58.7 seconds.  And bugger me, I just realised that those two races happened 26 years ago.  Oh dear.

Still on Tangent Street, I imbibed the traditional post sausage-hunting beers in Bury town centre, opposite the corn exchange in The World's Smallest Public House".  It's called The Nutshell and is one of the quirkiest places it's possible to visit.  There's enough room for maybe a dozen people inside, including the barman, and the toilets are off a tiny hallway up some narrow rickety stairs.  In the picture above you may be able to make out the almost-as-famous-as-the-pub-itself mummified cat which hangs from the ceiling, in the company of many, many more strange and varied artefacts.  It's a fascinating little place which would make it worthwhile visiting Bury for in itself, and I commend it to you!

The brown-painted part of this facade is the entire frontage of The Nutshell.

First impression was a simple “meaty and tasty”.  Not a bad start.  The pork really shines through, backed up by delicate, well-judged seasoning and a hint of herbs, which become more noticeable after you’ve swallowed a couple of pieces (couldn’t make out any lemon zest though).  I don’t know about bangers and mash, but I do know that these sausages are perfect for a “naughty” Friday”let’s start the weekend” tea with eggs, chips and peas.

Bearing in mind David’s background and Hubbard’s Traditional Pork sausages I was expecting a fairly smooth and fine texture.  The filling is indeed quite fine but grainy and bitty, and falls enjoyably apart when pushed.  So much so that it was not easy to take the six slices picture.  Push your fork flatly through and the filling falls apart but grips the tines brilliantly.  Dry-ish, which is good – no excessive sloppy plop going on – and the skins are good too (natural).

Average weight uncooked – 62g
Average weight cooked - 50g

Shrinkage - 20%

Average for the year so far.

Value For Money:
£1.73 for four sausages, weighing 248g - this works out as a price of £6.99 per kg, or 43p per snorker.

Hubbard’s Old English sausages are rated as very good value for money - you really should seek some out as soon as possible.

Opening Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 0900 - 1700
Wednesday: 0900 - 1700
Thursday: 0900 - 1700
Friday: 0900 - 1700
Saturday: 0800 - 1500
Sunday: Closed

And Finally, Esther:
This sausage scored the highest of any so far in 2013, will any of the remaining three specimens from Bury match up?  I really enjoyed eating these, the others definitely have their work cut out....these Old English sausages are a substantial step up from Hubbard’s Traditional Pork variety and I can hardly wait to try their “Satan’s” sausages which are currently resting in the Sausage Storage Facility (freezer) gaining heat day by day.

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