low fat sausage how and why

Recipes for all sausages

low fat sausage how and why

Postby captain wassname » Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:57 pm

Low Fat Sausages - Why and How

This post is written in response to a PM from paul10june. Nothing in this post is new. It is a collection of facts and ideas stolen from other and a proof that if you read this forum for long enough you will learn something.


Tapioca starch came from a post way back when, from Richard (sausage maker) and I have since been told that the use of TS is confirmed by a post from ParsonsSnows, two people of impeccable credentials as far as I am concerned. Recommended use 3% of meat weight (30 gms per kilo). When TS is used it seems to help the development of myosin when mixing. (That is to say makes your mix like a sausage from the butchers, rather than a burger).

I have always found water to be a help regardless of the addition of rusk.

For added succulence gelatine made as per makers’ instructions (you could try more), from a suggestion by Dave (saucisson) and from Wal Footrot, in a fascinating thread about Oddley’s search for a long forgotten sav. Wal suggested an addition of braw for extra succulence.

And Oddley in a thread re Cumberland sausage suggesting phosphate.

I personally find gelatine a bit of a faff, but it does make a bit of a difference.

When I have run out of phosphate I am not too sure I will buy any more.

So why low fat sausage.

1. You just happen to have some meat with ‘insufficient’ fat.
2. You need to follow a reduced or low fat diet. In which case you will not be concerned about rusk.
3. You are following a low calorie diet, in which case it should be noted that rusk contains 2.5 - 3.0 times more calories than - for instance turkey breast. So you might consider a high meat content sausage.

Low fat sausage - in a particular diet.

Slimming World is a systems using so called syns (registered trademark), and unless you have access to the online database or their book, it is difficult to tell how you score, but two Tesco low fat sausages is one syn on some days and possible none on others.

Weighwatchers is a points system - so I suppose you could blow your points on an appropriate sized block of lard, or more usefully 9 bottles of beer! They give you a calculator and you enter the fat content and fiber (their spelling).

Suppliers are not accredited, merely licensed to use the WW name, logo, and number of WW points per pack. Companies like Heinz, Greencore in the UK who produce 100 million ready meals per year, and McDonalds in New Zealand. So because it is difficult to fine fiber content of self made meals, people tend to buy ready packaged stuff.
Meat to use.

Leg of Pork trimmed of all skin a visible fat. IMO makes the best all round l/f sausages at a bit less than 2% fat.
Skinless turkey breast give very similar results to pork, and is a bit lower in fat at about 1.4%.
Skinless chicken breast is very low in fat, as is chicken thigh but IMO you need a chicken specific recipe.
Leg of lamb trimmed of all visible fat is also fairly low but is expensive by the time it is trimmed.
Game is generally low in fat and usually expensive, and best used with specific recipes.

If you go into the supermarket and look at the ‘healthy options’ ‘ be good to yourself’ etc. and note the fat content, you can usually find the same thing elsewhere on the shelves a lot cheaper. Read labels and get ideas.

Recipes listed below are guides, water in particular, will vary from meat to meat and even batch to batch. All are listed as percentages because when you start the only known is the weight of meat. So if you have 527 gms of meat and this is 88.9% of sausage, then the weight of the sausage will be 592gms. So here are some suggestions -

Basic low fat sausage - my favourite.

Meat. 88.9%
Tapioca Starch 2.69%
Phosphate 0.7%
Spice Mix 2.15%
Water 5.3%

The one I make (the wife’s favourite)
Meat 77.49%
TS 2.32%
Water 12.07%
Rusk 5.26%
Spice Mix 2.32%
Phosphate 0.6%

Most of my sausages are made with a Cumberland mix. Either from this site or Weschenfelders, or Oddleys Cumberland mix. A good low calorie recipe is -

Meat 71.3%
TS 2.2%
Phosphate 0/.6%
Rusk 4.9%
Spice mix 2.3%
Apple (fresh not dried) 12.4%
Water 6.2%
(I used Weschenfelders pork and leak mix for this.)

You can vary the amount of rusk and therefore water to suite your own taste, and you can use any spice and/or herb mix you find on the forum or sold by the shop, or any other supplier. But beware mixes that are rusk included. Just remember when using TS water uptake can vary. All water quantities in my recipes are a guide. Go by feel - don’t worry if you need more or less water, but it you do overwater chuck in a bit more rusk but be careful.

I hope this is of help to those who don’t wish to give up their sausages, and for the rest of us fat buggers - low fat sausages mean to can drink more beer!

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Postby DanMcG » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:23 pm

Thanks for sharing this Jim, I was on a quest for a low fat sausage a while back but didn't have any luck at it. I will have to see if the stores have tapioca starch and give it a go again.
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Postby wheels » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:39 pm

Dan, in the UK the best source for tapioca flour seems to be Chinese supermarkets. It may be the same in the US of A.

Like Jim, I wonder whether the phosphate is essential. However, I don't know at what temp the starch in tapioca flour 'locks in' water. I know that potato flour/starch does this at well below boiling (about 70°C I believe) - I wonder whether Tapioca flour has similar characteristics. If it does, then I can't see the need for the phosphate.

Not that I'm saying that you could use potato flour as a substitute. The "making low fat taste as though it isn't" phenomenon seems peculiar to tapioca.

I'm mainly interested as the only product I use phosphate in is hot dog's - because Big Guy said it's essential and I ain't going to argue with him! If I can use an alternative it will be easier.



Oh, remiss of me, but great post Jim. :D
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Low Fat Sausages - Why and How

Postby paul10june » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:57 am


You have been brilliant in your helpfulness....I am going to try a couple of your recipes today...can I just clarify.

People seem to use Tapioca and Sago interchangeably! I think they are used in Indian cooking interchangeably....

Given I have some sago here, is that as good as tapioca do you think - or is it best to go get the tapioca - or should I give it a whirl?

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Postby captain wassname » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:40 am

Tapioca starch is used a lot in Thai cooking so should be available in oriental supermarkets or if you ask nicely your local thai restaurant.
Ive only tried tapioca starch and as I said I stole this from others.
I do recall somebody posting re a supermarket sausage (Sainsburys I think) saying that potato starch was an ingredient.
I dont see the harm in trying sago in a test batch It will only increase our combined knowledge weater it works or not.So let us know.
In the US there is this


This works well and has a much lower usage rate (under 1%) but shipping costs to the UK are very high.
Incidentaly when working out the carbs I think that rusk is about 70% and tapioca starch is 83 to 84.

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Postby NCPaul » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:02 pm

Great post, thanks. :D
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