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What Are Bangers? Unveiling the Savory Secrets of Traditional Sausages

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Updated May 16, 2024
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What are Bangers?

Bangers, a quintessential British sausage, are not only a staple in the UK's culinary scene but also a beloved feature of pub menus, with the average British meat-eater consuming over 2,700 sausages during their adult lifetime. These savory delights, often synonymous with comfort food, owe their nickname to their propensity for bursting—hence "banging"—when cooked at high temperatures. To preserve their succulent flavors and prevent splitting, culinary experts suggest a gentle pre-boil before searing or grilling. For those wondering, “What are bangers?” and how to best enjoy them, incorporating this method ensures a perfectly cooked sausage that's both traditional and satisfying.

These sausages are white or pink and are made primarily of pork butt, a small amount of breadcrumbs, and water. They are normally pleasantly spiced with both sweet and savory spices. The average banger will have both salt and pepper, as well as sage, ginger and mace or allspice. Spices differ depending upon the brand.

The ingredients are well mixed, and then stuffed into casings, as is usual with most sausages. Casings are usually made from pork or sheep intestines, and look like long translucent ropes.

Some bangers are pre-cooked, which makes them easy to cook and helps ensure that the interior of the sausage will be cooked through. Sausages that are not pre-cooked often should be boiled before they are fried so the interior meat, which is not cooked, has a chance to come to a high temperature before they are finished in a hot pan. This way, they're well cooked and have a crisp skin.

In the UK, bangers may be served with breakfast, and they make part of one of the most traditional of English dishes, bangers and mash. This is actually a quite simple dish, usually made up of two sausages served over mashed potatoes. They may also be served in sandwiches with grilled onions.

It is quite easy to find bangers in the US. Most chain grocery stores carry them, and they can also sometimes be found freshly prepared by local butchers. English and Irish-inspired pubs frequently offer bangers and mash or sandwiches on their menus. They may also be sold at country fairs and are particularly popular at Renaissance fairs.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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By Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team, made up of seasoned professionals, prioritizes accuracy and quality in every piece of content. With years of experience in journalism and publishing, we work diligently to deliver reliable and well-researched content to our readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon992998 — On Oct 16, 2015

The only way to get bangers in the US is fresh made from a butcher and they are wonderful. They are different from any other sausages for a welcome tasty change and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

By anon967938 — On Aug 30, 2014

I can't say that the Brits make good food, but if you want great bangers, try Myers of Keswick.

By anon319790 — On Feb 14, 2013

The difference between bangers and sausage is sausages are pretty much made from meat while a banger has a high cereal content with about 20 percent meat. Still, I do love bangers and mash.

By anon309848 — On Dec 19, 2012

I had some today made fresh at a local store. They were a bit sourish. Don't know what they are supposed to taste like, but didn't like these particularly much.

By fredt — On Jul 16, 2012

In the US the USDA will not allow wholesale makers to call them "sausages" because they do not contain 96% meat so the markets call them "bangers". British and Irish sausages/bangers usually contain about 3% spices, commonly salt, pepper, sage etc. and 10% rusk or breadcrumbs and 10% water. The latter are not added as filler but are used to add moisture and texture.

Even in the UK some brands of banger/sausage are not very good but in the US none are very good but Jolly Good are OK. I too make my own.

By anon269131 — On May 16, 2012

You won't get the same taste with bangers in spaghetti sauce as you would Italian sausage. Bangers are relatively bland compared to Italian sausage.

By anon255624 — On Mar 18, 2012

I had bangers and mash for the first time yesterday. All I can say is the mash was good and the bangers tasted like crap.

By anon227427 — On Nov 04, 2011

Nothing like Italian sausage. Would never put with Italian food. Completely different flavorings.

By anon153505 — On Feb 17, 2011

The ones sold in Western Canada, except the Fairway Market are dreadful and bear no resemblance to what we get back home.

By anon134614 — On Dec 15, 2010

Bangers are usually about the size of italian sausage, but shorter than a hot dog. I'm english and I make my bangers because the ones sold in the US are horrible, especially the widely sold Picadilly brand. I have never heard of anyone pre-boiling bangers.

By anon125828 — On Nov 10, 2010

For God's sake, its not an Italian sausage! A proper British banger has filler called rusk and actually ends up having a much leaner and less greasy taste. It's quite delicious - we cook em up in a pan with hot oil with diced red onions, and then put this on top of mashed potatoes. Try some today

By anon53062 — On Nov 18, 2009

i am going to try it tonight, putting it in spaghetti sauce.

By anon28168 — On Mar 12, 2009

Can you use bangers in a spaghetti sauce? Like italian sausage?

By anon10720 — On Apr 01, 2008

What is the difference between Scottish and British bangers?

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Our Editorial Team, made up of seasoned professionals, prioritizes accuracy and quality in every piece of content. With years of experience in journalism and publishing, we work diligently to deliver reliable and well-researched content to our readers.
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