While the concept of sausage is simple, thousands of variations can be found throughout the world. Sausages can be fresh, cured, smoked, or cooked. They are made of beef, pork, veal, chicken, and more. And they can include myriad ingredients, from spices and herbs to fruits, vegetables, and cheeses—and even liquids such as beer, whiskey, or blood. Our “Sausage in Profile” series aims to introduce you to different types of sausage—their flavor profiles, histories and uses—from familiar favorites to unique finds.
Bangers are a favorite in pubs and homes all across the British Isles. Whether enjoyed as part of the classic comfort food bangers and mash or as part of a full breakfast, bangers have found a welcoming fanbase here in the U.S. as well.
Bangers’ name dates back to World War II when small rations of pork were extended in sausage-making with additions of breadcrumbs. War-time bangers also contained a fair amount of water and tended to explode with a “Bang!” when they were cooked.
Although Bangers are often popular on St. Patrick’s Day and in Irish pubs in the U.S., don’t try telling an Irishman that they are “Irish sausages.” He will undoubtedly tell you that bangers are British. And for that matter, a number of styles and flavors of sausages in Britain are apt to be called “bangers.”
In the U.S., however, the sausages that we know as bangers are pork sausages that contain rusk (breadcrumbs). They might be labeled as British, Scottish, or Irish style.
Comfort Food from Across the Pond
Traditionally, bangers are served as one half of that paragon of comfort food: bangers and mash. That’s mashed potatoes. This dish is often served alongside a pile of peas and is always doused in a rich onion gravy. Try them with a dollop of horseradish sauce or a sprinkling of fresh parsley just before serving.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for onion gravy from scratch, you can have a savory onion drizzle in a flash. Spoon Tracklements Caramelized Onion Marmalade into a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Then drizzle away.
Rise and Shine
Bangers can also be served as the cornerstone of the traditional, full Irish breakfast that also includes thick-sliced smoked bacon or loin bacon, grilled tomatoes topped with grated cheese and herbs, eggs, soda bread, and good, strong coffee or Irish Breakfast tea.
Make Them Your Own
Bangers can really be enjoyed as most any sausage can be: grill them just enough to brown them. Serve with grilled onions and potato salad. Or try a one-pot boil of bangers, cabbage, potatoes, and pearl onions.
Have you had bangers before? Did you enjoy them overseas or stateside? What’s your favorite way to enjoy bangers?