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Back to my page on finding low sodium products
The one thing you may miss on a low salt diet is the humble sausage.
I hope this page can help.

Note. Brenahan's Butchery in Mortdale NSW stocks low salt sausages.  Ph 02 95708188

The Sausages range in sodium from about 450mg/100g for chicken to about 1000mg/100g for the spicy type. I could not find a single recipe for the common type of sausage that you find in the butchers. Butchers in almost all cases use meat and a ready made spice/filler mix that unfortunately contains salt.

Caution normal sausages contain salt and other preservatives the ones described below do not. Your salt free beef & lamb sausages should be frozen immediately after manufacture and thawed in the refrigerator just before being thoroughly cooked. Use within 3 months preferably 2.

I found a local butcher that makes sausages and asked if he was willing to have a go at producing some low salt ones. The deal was that I would provide the spices and he would make up his minimum sized batch of 5 kg. It has been said that salted skins might be a big contributor to the sodium in a sausage. There are special skins available but my butcher preferred his standard ones so it was these we used.  I decided that the butchers usual beef and lamb mixture was to be used as it could be kept frozen for about twice as long as pork.

A mixture of beef and lamb has a sodium level of about 60mg/100g. The aim is a low sodium sausage ie. 120mg/100g or less. I tasted some raw sausage skin and could not detect salt so I feel fairly comfortable that these sausages which will only contain meat, spices, and skins should make the grade as low salt.
The weight of the skin is only about 1% of the weight of the body so it is hard to see that even a salty skin would make much overall difference to the sodium level.

I wanted to have the sausages tested for sodium and after many phone calls I discovered that I could have a sodium analysis at a cost of  $32.45 at George Weston Technology which was within walking distance of the butcher and my house.

The next step was to work out the spices and some sort of test was in order. I often make a sort of hot sausage by cooking a flat sheet of  spiced minced meat on a baking sheet in the oven. It is later sliced, frozen and used as a pizza topping. One problem with this method is that a lot of juice comes out of the meat and carries away the flavour. When you see this happen you can understand how the idea of a sausage was invented to hold the taste in. As an alternative to the flat sheet I experimented with a patty tin with shallow depressions. This at least kept the juice in contact with the meat for a while.
This is the definitive site for home sausage making.    http://lpoli.50webs.com/
I can only advise you to read everything on the site relative to fresh sausage including the tips.
I contacted the author Len Poli and he gave me this advice.
"The salt should not be lowered more than recommended in the recipes for fermented or dry cured sausages because its necessary to keep the harmful bacteria under control.  
As for fresh sausages that will be grilled or cooked right away, you can play with lowering the salt....don't keep them under refrigeration for more than a few days however, because bacteria will
begin to grow."

If you are looking for some inspiration here is another heap of sausage recipes

A test that you may like to try.  Sausage Patties

Sausage patties

     t = teaspoon 5ml

You will have difficulty buying GROUND thyme but the leaf flakes are readily available. I used an electric coffee grinder to produce a supply for these tests but ground thyme is available from outlets that cater to the food trade.

Sausage mince in food processorPlace the meat in a food processor with the spice and water and process the standard mince into a sausage consistency. This only takes only about 20 seconds. Do not process it to a fine paste.

Divide it into 12 or so patties in some sort of tin and bake for 20 minutes at 180C. Let stand to re-absorb some of the juice.  Frying patties also works well as a test and to eat.
I now make these often and freeze them and use for the meat part of a quick microwaved meal. Please experiment with spices and if you get closer to that Australian sausage taste please share the recipe with me.

Sausages boiled in cling filmSausage on bbq

Mike Busby tipped me off about par boiling the mince wrapped in cling film so I gave it a go. After boiling gently for 5 minutes I had to use scissors to cut them free but they looked the part on the barbecue.

The Butcher's Test.

The above test tasted good enough for the first butchers test so I prepared a slightly stronger version for a 5kg sausage batch. The butcher will add water as necessary but only about 100ml per kg should be used. I placed 120g of the spice mix in a jar handed it to the butcher and am now waiting  to get the word that they are ready.

It is not much of a bother for the butcher to make you some sausages if you can provide the spice mix ready weighed for his batch size. If you have a friendly local butcher have a chat to him.

I can not accurately weigh small amounts so I had to mix enough spice for a 20kg batch and then divide it.
Update. I purchased a DigiWeigh DW-100AX Jewelry sacle on Ebay that weighs to 100g at .01g increments for a total including delivery of $28.75 this will make it possible to do individual batches of spice for 500g tests.

       Spice mix for 20kg batch.
USE 24g of the above mix per kg.
Note. The butcher will be adding perhaps 100mL of water per kg of finished sausage. So for a 5kg batch of sausages (about 4 kg actual sausages) he will use about 45kg of meat (beef and lamb in my case).  There will be some meat left over that cannot be made into sausages see below.

The Result of the Sodium Test

The sausages should have about the same sodium level as the meat ie. about  60mg/100g. The spices are low in sodium so a test is not really necessary but because natural salt packed casings are being used, the butcher made snags they are going in for testing.

The Results from Western Food Laboratories analytical report was a sodium level of  664mg/100g.

Made up Sausages

I just cooked the sausages on the bbq. They were to my wifes taste but I would prefer a little spicier and perhaps a little garlic. They were quite dry and I think this is because there is no filler to trap the fat.  I think I will stick with dry and no filler for personal use but may add some filler to the next batch as an experiment. The butcher said he could reduce his batch to 3kg and he is happy to make up batches for other people who bring in their own spice mixes ready weighed.  Because he must keep special spice mixes separate from his other meat there is about 900g of spiced meat half fine and half coarse that can not be stuffed into the sausage (It is what is left in the machines). You will have to pay for it so you may as well take it. I will make it into patties or a meatloaf. If you are thinking of trying this keep in mind that with the smaller batch of 3 kg of spiced meat you would only end up with 2.1kg of sausages and 900g of left overs. After getting the good sodium result I questioned the butcher and he reports that a new batch of  salted skins are soaked in 3 changes of water and flushed through before being fitted to the extruder. Unused skins are kept in 3L of water with a hand full of salt. These are soaked and flushed before use. He did not change his normal practice for my sausage test.