The tasting teams are full up, 90 chipolatas wrapped in streaky bacon have been tried and tested, and the results are now in for Newark's Best Pigs Blankets 2020.
We'll reveal the winners in a moment but first how did we decide? To begin with a testing panel was recruited, five sets of people with enthusiasm and a big appetite. The next step was to collect samples of chipolatas and streaky bacon from nine sources in and around Newark. These were divided into bags with just one letter written on so that the testers would have no idea which product was which. The teams assembled and cooked their PIBs and judged them on three criteria, Flavour, Appearance & Aroma, and Texture, with scores awarded from 1 to 5 in each category. And now the results are in...
Particularly interesting is that the pigs in blankets from “proper” butchers occupy the top seven positions, and the two supermarket bought samples trailed in eighth and last. Surely that must tell you something – shop local, buy meat from a butcher and not a multi-national corporation!
And the winner is – Sibleys of Newark, 59.75 points out of 75. Cost £1.25 each.
A fantastic score for Sibleys. Testers said:
The sausage looked a bit ‘coarse’ and meaty which we liked; it was nice and filling.
When the family tried them this was their favourite.
Nice Lincolnshire-style sausage.
Too big, massive!
Coarse, knobbly, crispy sausage skin, perfect.
Well balanced, best one by a country mile.
Second – Robbs Newark, 53.25 out of 75, £1.10 each
Firm, good coarse texture.
Smells smoky and bacon-y, smells amazing.
Probably the best bacon that we sampled. Good size sausage that you want for a pig in blanket so you can have a few.
Plump out a lot in cooking.
Fantastic and amazing taste, for me they were superior in every way, amazing smell, incredible taste and an appropriate and nice size as well.
Third – GH Porters Provisions, Newark, 49.5 out of 75, £1.57 each
Cut really nicely, really firm.
Herby, sausage was gamey.
Large, imposing, looked the part.
Fourth to Seventh, all with similar scores came Richards Quality Meats (Newark), Cottiers (Balderton), Porters (Newark) and Doncasters (Claypole). Just outside the podium places this year but still really nice products, and much, much better than the supermarket. Some sample comments:
Richards Quality Meats £0.81
Well balanced sausage and bacon, perfect saltiness.
Smells like breakfast!
Nicest looking, good size, crisped up nicely.
Sausage is lovely and flavoursome.
Evenly cooked with a nice texture.
These were my favourites and I'd definitely go out of my way to purchase both the chipolata and the streaky bacon.
Sagey, lovely sausage.
So there you have unbiased opinions on seven pigs in blankets from seven butchers (sounds like a terrible title for a Broadway musical). The final two places were as follows:
Eighth – Richmonds thin sausages and supermarket value bacon, 29.75 out of 75, £0.38 each
It was very thin so easy to wrap and crisp up and this made it look deceivingly more appealing. The sausage was quite bland and didn’t change colour much from being raw to being cooked.
Mushy, awful cheap sausage, lots of bread filling in sausage.
Bit slimy on eating.
Last – Supermarket own-brand pigs in blankets, 27.75 out of 75, £0.19 each
Tiny, completely underwhelming.
Surprised me as I would call it a cocktail sausage not a chipolata.
So tiny, these are what I'd imagine you'd get in a ready meal Christmas Dinner.
Would look better on a stick on a buffet.
Greasy, too smooth.
Not enough seasoning, bland.
Wouldn’t have these again, a bit nondescript. Younger samplers described them as a bit gooey.
They think it's all over....it is now. Buy your meat from a quality local butcher and not the supermarket!