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
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
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."
You will have difficulty buying GROUND thyme but the leaf flakes
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.
Place 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 180°C. 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.
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 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
Spice mix for 20kg batch.
200g Onion Powder
60g Ground White Pepper
30g Ground Coriander
40g Ground Sweet Paprika
40g Ground Nutmeg
30g Cayenne pepper (This varies in heat so go
easy at first)
20g Ground Thyme
20g Ground Sage
40g Citric acid
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
he will use about 4·5kg of meat (beef and lamb in my case). There
will be some meat left over that cannot be made into sausages see below.
of the Sodium Test
The sausages should have about the same sodium level as the meat
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
The Results from Western Food Laboratories analytical report was a
sodium level of 66·4mg/100g.
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
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 ½ a hand full of salt. These are
soaked and flushed before use. He did not change his normal practice
my sausage test.