Fresh, or Frozen. Which way is the best way?

Our heritage in making sausages has come from the back of a butcher’s shop.

These sausages were made from the trim coming from cutting and preparing joints and cuts that could be sold in the shop. When you had enough trim so you could make a batch of sausages. However, over the years the pig has changed, today’s pigs are leaner with less trim, and butchers are looking to cut the labour cost they need to run their shop and put on a counter.

The art of making a consistent sausage is to eliminate the variables. It is only when you look at the detail do you realise just how many variables there are. It is not just the visual lean of the pork, certain cuts will behave in very different ways when they are cooked, the wrong cut can cook and result in a puddle of fat in the pan and a sausage that has lost its shape and succulence. Pork trim will quickly age and lose its freshness, these sausages will be grey rather having a pale red hue and can also have a wild or gamey taint. Freshness is vital.

At Westaways we only use fresh pork with deliveries every two days. This means our pork is as fresh as possible, it also means we can deep clean our storage and production areas regularly. Visitors often remark how clean everything looks but also how there is no smell of meat. As a business our original set-up and focus was to produce fresh sausages, but we landed a contract to supply 180 restaurants within a nationwide department store (now closed). They wanted frozen sausages. This gave us the volume to look at how we might produce the best quality frozen sausages and build on our expertise that we had in making fresh sausages.

We did a complete process review; how could we use the attributes of fresh meat and ensure that the Individually Quick-Frozen sausages were every bit as good as our fresh sausages? Control of temperature was key in maintaining freshness. To help this we used flake ice rather than chilled water, we cut mixing times and we even chose rusk that had a low heat of hydration. Having made the sausage, we then looked at how quickly we could get the individual sausage thoroughly frozen. We used the electron microscope at a local university to examine the interstitial ice within the sausage, we found that by careful process control we could ensure the water molecules froze in flakes rather than in blocks. This meant when cooking from frozen the ice did not transition directly to steam and so even our premium high meat content sausages in natural casing could be cooked from frozen. We still recommend collagen casing for deep fat cooking from frozen as this casing is stronger, and we under fill the casing to allow for expansion.

Now we believe no one can offer fresher frozen sausages.

Sustainability is a game changer today and we need to all make changes. At Westaways we have added a couple of other features to our frozen sausages to add further value. On the packaging we have ensured our outer cases are recyclable and made from recycled materials and we have changed to using brown paper tape rather than vinyl tape. In an industry first, our polythene bag inside the outer box is now made from certified home compostable potato starch. It is 21 microns thick and tough, ideal to also use as a food caddy waste liner. On logistics as well as fitting nearly 820kg on a single pallet, we offer a “click and collect” service from our factory for local distributors to collect mixed consignments of any of our 15 best selling frozen lines with no minimum order. This saves our distributors holding stock of slower moving lines and in doing so wasting freezer space and cost.

We would suggest our frozen sausages offer our distributors and professional caterers many advantages, and they will be normally cheaper than fresh.

Maybe you should upgrade to using Westaways frozen sausages?