Summer is sizzling and so are the snags. It's officially barbeque season and sure they're cheap and easy but have you ever wondered exactly what it is you're eating?
According to food standards code of Australia and NZ the minimum requirement of lean meat content in a sausage is 50%.
Well we're about to tell you what's good, bad and just plain yukky. We scoured Adelaide for the tastiest, cheapest and leanest sausages. From specialty stores at the Central Market to the big 3 supermarkets… Coles, Woolies and Foodland.
We chose 6 beef and 6 chicken varieties.
Sending one lot to the lab testing for fat and meat content while the rest were put to a blind taste test with some local celebrities and dinky di snag lovers.
Nova brekkie crew host Ryan "Fitzy" Fitzgerald, Sunday Mail columnist and mother of two Lainie Anderson and prominent chef from Air at David Jones, Chris Jarmer.
The panel then ranked them in order from 1 to 5 with 1 being the worst and five being the best.
Our judges ranked the Vegas chicken sausages bought from the Central Market the best tasting of the lot.
“It tasted like the bottom of a roasting tray you know when you scrape up the vegetables and you've got that caramelisation it's beautiful,” says Chris.
Second pick... the Gourmet Sausage Shop's chicken and basil. A tad pricey but worth the extra.
As for the beef snags it was another from the Central Market…. Feast's thin bbq sausages with Angus beef.
But there was a mixed response for the cheaper supermarket snags and from the local butchers.
“Interesting to see when the tests come back if it's still good quality for kids even though it doesn't necessarily taste as good as others,” says Lainie.
Rob Rentino and the team from Agrifood Technology were given the task of
separating fat from fiction ... Literally!
“In the sausages we tested 2 main components which was the fat content and also the lean meat content of the sausages,” says Rob.
In the lean meat section chicken snags were the clear winner.
Foodland's chicken and herb varieties came in at 73% while a local butcher's plain chicken sausage at 66%
Others polling well were the Coles thin beef gluten free and Slape and Son's found in Foodland and IGA stores.
But surprisingly...a quarter of our sausages failed to meet the Australian standard of at least 50% meat content, the lowest having just 36 percent meat.
In terms of fat content Coles did well again with just 9.5% fat content for their chicken sausages and the Gourmet Sausage Shop's Aussie beef variety at 13.5%
However, several failed to meet the standard of less than 30 per cent fat.
Overall the average fat content of all our 12 sausages was a low 15% but that's still a lot of fat for some.
Dietician Lisa Lucas says while sausages these days are getting leaner and healthier there's still a long way to go.
“Having 36 percent fat means that more than half of the meat component is fat. Of that fat, half would be saturated fat. Certainly eating food like that does increase your risk of heart disease and weight gain and obesity” says Lisa.
For Fitzy, Lainie and Chris, they say you have to trust your instincts when choosing the right sausage and keep a close eye on the labels.
SAUSAGE VARIETIES Judges Scores out of 15
A. Coles chicken 5
B. Woolies chicken cheese and garlic 11
C. Foodland chicken & herb 11
D. Slape and Sons beef 6
E. Gourmet Sausage Shop - Aussie beef 8
F. Gourmet Sausage Shop - chicken and basil 9
G. Vegas chicken 13.5
H. Feast thin BBQ Angus beef 10
I. Local butcher (beef) 7.5
J. Local butcher (chicken) 12
K. Coles gluten free beef 5.5
L. Woolies beef 10