A short while ago, Westin Gourmet - you may recall - sent us a pack of meat products to try. Amongst the goodies were some of their Cumberland sausages and some very juicy looking 100% beef burgers.
The first of these that we put to the test were the Cumberland sausages.
Now I've got a pet peeve with sausages at the moment. Very often it seems that flavour is forfeited for being "healthy". Now the only thing I can deduce from this is that the majority of the flavour in a sausage, i.e. the "porky" flavour, comes from the fat. It has to be. So-called "healthy" sausages have the majority of their fat removed - and they are dry, tasteless and boring as all heck. They also have a nasty hardness to them, quite unlike the soft, yielding, juicily porky mouthful of sausages of yore.
However, because (well, I assume this is the reason) of the public's predilection for "healthy" food (which is admirable, of course), even the good old sausage of yore has had its fat content reduced. I hate this! It has become almost impossible to find a sausage that tastes like a sausage should, or that even has the texture of a good old fashioned sausage. A sausage, when bitten into, should burst in your mouth with a sudden rush of porky flavour carried on a small tide of meat juices, not be dry and chewy, or even worse taste like hot sawdust.
In my opinion, it is far better to have a good old unhealthy flavoursome sausage that you don't eat as often, than have one of these nasty dry old things and try eating them twice a week. In fact, because of the parlous state of sausages these days, we've actually stopped eating them completely.
That is, until these Cumberlands hove into view from Westin Gourmet. Hallelujah - a sausage that tastes like I remember sausages tasting when my Mum used to serve them up with a rich gravy, mashed potato and mixed vegetables, way back in the seventies. They are soft, flavoursome and porky with that lovely "crack" of a crispy skin and the mouthwatering onrush of peppery flavour.
At £7.23 for 24 sausages - which equates to around £2.41 for a pack of 8, they aren't devastatingly expensive either. Long may it continue, Westin Gourmet - you're onto a winner!
Thanks to the success of the sausages, we were by now fairly hopeful about the burgers.
The price made our eyes water a little at £36.53 for 10 x 4oz burgers, which equates to around £3.65 per burger. I reckoned that at that price, they had to be good. Because of the way in which they are packaged, however, they start off life not looking so good at all. They appear grey and unappealing - that is until you tear back the covering and let some air into them. Very quickly they plump up and return back to the very appealing lush red that a good burger should be.
Cheered by that, we placed them on the grill (it was raining again - so we ate them indoors) and set to with the cooking. Each burger was very definitely a good size, so we were watching closely to see if they shrank significantly during the cooking process. Never has a humble burger been more observed.
Because of the beef content, we were happy to leave the burgers a little pink (not bloody, just a little blush of pink) in the middle, for added flavour and juiciness. My goodness, but these burgers are great!
I'm not sure I'd be able to afford to buy enough to supply a whole barbecue for friends, but as a special barbecue for the family they are just perfect.
The flavour is just wonderful, as the beef is 100% steak mince that caramelises beautifully and gives that genuine burger flavour. There are no great hunks of onion to otherwise spoil the flavour and the seasoning is harmonious and unobtrusive. The shrinkage is minimal and for all that they reduced in circumference, they seemed to gain in depth! Put into a normal sized burger bun, they did the job beautifully.
We treated the burgers absolutely classically, with a small amount of lettuce, some tomato and a good helping of cheese, along with some French's hotdog mustard and a great tomato relish. Oh boy, but they were good.
As a "special" burger for a special occasion, I'd very definitely come back for more.