What are Bangers?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Bangers are a type of sausage common to the UK. They are often an essential part of pub food, as they are quick to prepare, but they're also often made at home. The name comes from the sausage’s tendency toward bursting or “banging” open during high frying temperatures. In fact, to avoid losing some of the sausage, they can be boiled first, and sliced lengthwise prior to frying or grilling.

Bangers.
Bangers.

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.

Bangers are traditionally served with mashed potatoes and peas.
Bangers are traditionally served with mashed potatoes and peas.

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.

Ginger is often used in bangers.
Ginger is often used in bangers.

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.

Casings are typically made from pork or sheep intestines.
Casings are typically made from pork or sheep intestines.

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.

Most sausages are flavored with sage and other herbs.
Most sausages are flavored with sage and other herbs.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon992998

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.

anon967938

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

anon319790

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.

anon309848

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.

fredt

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.

anon269131

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.

anon255624

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.

anon227427

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

anon153505

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

anon134614

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.

anon125828

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

anon53062

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

anon28168

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

anon10720

What is the difference between Scottish and British bangers?

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