Sausages are one of the cheapest sources of protein in the supermarket, but they are also rather high in fat and calories, so could not be recommended for eating every day.
It really is best not to think about what cut of meat goes into your average sausage and concentrate on the flavours we all grew up with. Sausages for breakfast on a Sunday, or with a plate of home-cooked chips at teatime really are a treat, and are perfectly healthy as long as you don't indulge too often.
In general, a higher pork content should make the sausage a little bit healthier (if not necessarily tastier). There were dozens of brands I could have tested at all price levels, and many more if I had included butcher shops.
I decided to stick to those available in the supermarkets and exclude any costing more than €8 per kilo. After this I chose the supermarket own brands and then other random samples that seemed widely available.
Surprisingly, having a high meat content did not indicate a better-tasting sausage, nor did it decrease the calories. The more meat in the sausage, however, did seem to reduce the amount of fat left in the pan after the sausage was cooked.
The sausages were tasted blind by myself and my 10-year-old son -- they were tasted on their own, and as part of a sausage sandwich (the boy's preference).
SUPERVALU SUPREME, 63PC PORK, 297KCAL, €2.99 PER 380G
Large fat sausages, good flavours of sweet pork, measured use of spices and a rich taste. Liked by both testers equally. The extra thickness is not always a good thing in a sausage but it works for these. Excellent. 8.5/10
MRS HICK’S 78PC PORK (NO KCAL GIVEN), €2.10 PER 254G
Very little fat came from these (a sign of the high pork content) -- sweet, meaty pork flavours with a salty edge. High quality and very tasty. 8/10
LIDL GLENSALLAGH 57PC PORK, 333 KCAL, €0.79 PER 227G
The cheapest sausages in the survey. Some light spice flavours and a little salty with a slight bready taste, but not bad at all. Best value. 7/10
SUPERQUINN 80PC PORK, 320 KCAL €2.99 PER 405G
The sausage with the highest pork content. Good meaty flavour, quite low on spices, good pork taste but a tiny bit bland. 7/10
KEARNS 52PC PORK (NO KCAL GIVEN), €1.55 PER 227G
Lowest pork content in the test but great taste -- a spicy, strong white pepper flavour and a good crisp skin. Perhaps a more adult taste given the high spice flavour, but still acceptable to my assistant. 6.5/10
DUNNES 57PC PORK, 321 KCAL, €0.85 PER 227G
Salt and mild spice, including pepper and some herb elements ("makes me think of a garden centre!" said the boy). Good. 6/10
ALDI BRANNANS 70PC PORK, 297 KCAL, €0.89 PER 227G
Good meaty flavours, solid taste of pork meat, not too much fat, a little bland but still tasty. Good value -- especially given the high pork content. 6/10
DENNY GOLD MEDAL 56PC PORK, 292 KCAL, €1.55 PER 227G
Pink colour (a little too pink for my comfort), but good solid meaty flavour with a slight bread taste. Good, but not really good enough. 5.5/10
CLONAKILTY 53PC PORK, 336 KCAL, €2.80 PER 454G
Peppery spicy flavours but a little too salty and fatty with not enough pork taste. 5/10
TESCO FINEST 70PC PORK, 260 KCAL, €2.50 PER 227G
Low amount of fat from this, light, sweetish pork taste but very bland and tasteless. 4.5/10