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What Is Red Pudding?

By Cynde Gregory
Updated May 16, 2024
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Nothing makes a Scotsman’s heart more joyous than the prince among sausage-ish foods, red pudding. A basic list of ingredients is enough to make anyone who knows what cholesterol is cringe, but perhaps it can be said that any food that makes the diner exorbitantly happy has to be good for the heart. Those who have ever had a hankering for this type of meat pudding knows what a buried treasure it is. It is virtually unobtainable except in some of Scotland’s coastal fish and chip shops, although other types of blood sausage are available in cuisines across Europe and the Mediterranean.

A true Scottish red pudding is a festival of meat, meat, and a little more meat. Beef, bacon, and other cuts of pork hold down the fort, while suet, beef fat, and pork rind protect the diner against the remote possibility of sudden weight loss. A range of spices rounds out the recipe, which is then either deep-fried after battering or sliced and fried.

Another sausage that bears the same name but has some differences is a popular Scottish breakfast food. This type of red pudding was the marvelous creation of German immigrants who brought with them a love of very well-seasoned, very highly ground pork. It wears a red casing and is best friends with an egg or two on a breakfast platter.

Red pudding made from multiple meats isn’t given a yummy sausage casing like its more genteel cousin, the other red sausage. If it’s encased at all, it is dressed in a thick batter after it has been patted into a long, narrow sausage-like shape and deep-fried. The inedible batter casing not only protects the pudding in the fryer, but it keeps the meat warm and protected as it is transported home.

Scots in the know looking for a snack will request a single red, which simply means the pudding without any sides. Those with rumbling bellies or the urge for a truly delicious cardiac arrest order a red pudding supper. This will come with a wonderfully greasy sack of what Americans call French fries and everyone else calls chips.

Almost everyone likes a good red pudding, although vampires and heartier Scots also enjoy black pudding and aren’t kidding when they announce it is bloody good. Black pudding is composed of blood, and a lot of it, in combination with fillers such as onion, meat, and oatmeal or bread to hold all that blood together. Unlike its redder relative, black pudding is rather dry.

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