The Far-Famed Cambridge Sausage

Cambridge SausageWhen I came across a sausage called the "Far-Famed Cambridge Sausage" in a 1938 'Handy Guide for Pork Butchers', I couldn't resist making it? But what type of sausage was it?

I'm guessing that it was far better known in those days: I'd only ever heard of it in passing. A quick online search told me that the best know brand was Palethorpe's 'Royal Cambridge sausages', though they were made in Shropshire, and that there were 2,500lbs of them were aboard the Titanic when she sailed on her maiden voyage!

Looking to my books: Anthony and Araminata Hippisley Coxe in the 'Book of Sausages', say "This is probably the most popular sausage in England". Not now it's not: not one of the 'big three' supermarkets sell them!

The 'Book of Sausages' goes on to say that the distinctive flavour is from sage, cayenne, mace, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Other sources omit or have sage as optional. The few places that make it nowadays all seem to include it. Some recipes include ginger and pimento and less commonly mustard. Two recipes, including a butcher's handbook, and a respected traditional curer and sausage-maker, have levels of white pepper of around 1%; a massive amount, similar to a very spicy Cumberland sausage. I think that both must be from the same source, and that there was an error in the original because I can find no reference to the taste being very peppery.

What all have in common is the use of scalded (cooked) rice as a 'filler'. This interested me, as on the sausage-making forum, we are asked for gluten free recipes quite often. Now, before anyone tells me, I know that the rusk that I've included in the recipe contains gluten. However, I'm sure that it could be left out with no problem.

As I already make a Lincolnshire Sausage with sage, and as the Cumberland Sausage that I'm working on also contains it, I've chosen to make a version without sage. My recipe is based on 5 recipes from trade handbooks from the 1930's, 40's and 50's.

Scalded Rice

Firstly, prepare some rice: Frank Gerrard, in his book 'Sausage and Small Goods', advises that: "...the chief consideration is the swelling of the rice granules before the mass coagulates". He says to boil rice in 3½ times its volume of water stirring vigorously during cooking, and after the mass has thickened, continue cooking for about 25 minutes. He advises to cool it in shallow trays and then refrigerate. I followed his instructions adding a little paprika in lieu of the food colouring that he says to add. I cooled the rice quickly by spreading it around the perimeter of a bowl that I then placed in another bowl containing iced water.

Cambridge Sausage

Pork with 20% fat 780gm
Scalded rice 150gm
Rusk 50gm
Seasoning mix (below) 18gm

Seasoning Mix (Makes double)
Salt 27.5gm
Ground White Pepper 5gm
Ground Mace 1gm
Ground Nutmeg 1gm
Ground Ginger 0.6gm
Ground Cayenne Pepper 0.3gm
Ground Pimento Berries (Allspice) 0.6gm

1. Mince (grind) the meats. I minced it twice through a 6mm mincer plate.
2. Put the meats in to a bowl and add the scalded rice, rusk and seasoning.
3. Mix well. It is the mixing that turns to ground meat in to sausage-meat. Mix until the mixture is 'sticky'. (This is myosin developing, the protein that sticks the sausage together & gives texture, rather like the gluten in bread).
4. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water to loosen it.
5. Fill into sheep's casings.
6. Put into the fridge for 6 - 8 hours to 'bloom' for flavour development.

For other amounts, it's easy if you use the Ingredient Calculator below:

Cambridge Sausage
Weight of Meat in grams gm
Scalded Rice gm
Rusk gm
Seasoning Mix - see above gm
Total Amount of Sausage gm
Individual Seasoning Weights
Salt gm
Ground White Pepper gm
Ground Mace gm
Ground Nutmeg gm
Ground Ginger gm
Ground Pimento (Allspice) gm
Cayenne Pepper gm
Total Amount of Seasoning gm

My thanks to Robert of Goodricks Meats for supplying me with a recipe from Hammet and Nevell's 1949 book 'A Handbook on Meat and Textbook for Butchers'.

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There are sixteen comments


Hello Phil, Nice recipe I will give it a try when you report back with you thoughts on the flavor.
You recipe calls for 18g of spice mix but the calculator comes up with 13.38g. Not sure if it’s me, but thought I’d mention it.
Thanks for the great blog, love reading your adventures.

DanMcG, - 20-01-’13 00:17

Thanks Dan.

The calculator’s correct – I’d got a typo in my recipe: the meat should be 780gm (not 580gm).
Many thanks for noticing this.


Phil, - 20-01-’13 15:26

A lot less rice than Maynard Davies called for, but his was “Royal”. What did you think of the taste; does it deserve to make a comeback in popularity?

NCPaul, - 22-01-’13 16:05

Hi Paul

I think that there may be an error in Maynard’s recipe. He says that it makes 60lb, but it only adds up to 46lb – the seasoning at 1/2 oz per lb is enough for 60lb though.


Phil, - 22-01-’13 21:33

Phil, we have literally made tonnes of this in the last few years. Slight variation in spicing, no rusk and, like you, a correction to Maynard Davies calculations! ( he was our original source for this).

We found it as good a seller now as it was then for people looking for a good traditional banger (with the added bonus of being able to offer it as a gluten free option next to our own ‘classic banger’ which has rusk).

It was shamelessly marketed here as the ‘Jubilee’ then the ‘Olympic’ and laterly as the ‘empire’ :)

great sausage and well worth a try.

quietwaters , - 12-08-’13 17:31

Interested to know what rice you use though…

quietwaters, - 12-08-’13 17:33

Hi John

Do you add sage to yours?

I used a plain Patna type rice in this one; I do wonder whether a shorter grained rice would swell better though. A Basmati would be interesting from a flavour point of view.

Pauline, my wife, really likes these .

Phil, (URL) - 12-08-’13 19:49
Ken Kansco

I just have to say what a great site! Do you have the recipes and calculators in a spreadsheet for download?

Again thanks for the great information. Ken

Ken Kansco, - 23-02-’16 20:39

Sorry Ken, I missed your comment.

I don’t have stand alone files at present. Was there a particular one you wanted. If there is, I’ll see what I can do.

Phil, - 03-03-’16 16:59

I just wanted to check before I recreated the calculators. I’ve made your bacon ant it has come out very nice. Thanks for your great site. Ken

Ken, - 05-04-’16 02:13

Hi phil was wondering if you had any thoughts on bacteria and using cooked rice? quite fancy trying this recipe.

Andy, - 02-11-’16 20:01

Hi Andy, I had initial concerns about bacillus cereus, but this is a product that needs to be kept refrigerated and has a short shelf life. It’s interesting to note that pre-WW1 rice was a common filler in sausage. It was only supply difficulties during the war that led to the, more or less, universal use of bread/rusk. Given that very few homes had refrigerators, it surprises me that it wasn’t an issue. But, then, thinking about it, people bought things fresh and ate them that day; they shopped daily. Palethorpe’s version of this sausage, which used rice, was ‘probably the most popular sausage in the country’ which gives me some confidence in its safety.

I assume that when you say cooked rice, you mean rice cooked as above? I would not use leftover rice in this for the obvious reasons.

Hope this helps

Phil, - 02-11-’16 23:33
Andy Rosd

Hi Phil yes I intend to use your cooking method. I intend to use basmati cook it overall for 45 minutes then cool as fast as possible I may try use the freezer to get temperature down as I understand this is crucial to avoid bacteria growth. I am worried the rice will turn to rice pudding though. Great website

Andy Rosd, - 03-11-’16 09:41


It will be like stiff rice pud. That’s what it’s meant to be like. The liquid absorbed by the rice is the only liquid in the sausage.


Phil, - 03-11-’16 15:22

As a novice sausage maker I have been searching high and low for sausage that uses rice as a filler. Although I am British I live in the Philippines where rice is everywhere, and rusk, nowhere to be seen.
Just by chance happened to stuble across this site last night and made a batch of these today and even went as far as to make some rusk from your recipe too. Been at it all day but well worth the effort!
Interesting flavour, although there does seem to be a little something missing.
I didnt have the white pepper so used black but just to 75% of the quoted measurement.
What I did like about it though was that it binded together magnificently and also I could taste the pork!!
My first attempt at making sausage was smoked Andouille from Stanley Marianskis book/course, and whilst the layers of flavour were phenomenal, there was no taste of pig present!
Maybe a little sage next time in this one for me or cooking up the rice in a nice stock maybe?
Having done the math with the excellent calculator tool, I took it upon myself to make enough spice mix for 10kg so have plenty left to play around with.
Coming from Cambridge originally I had to try these. Definately the closest thing to resemble a British Banger I have had in 7 years of being here. Good effort and thanks for sharing.
Will give another variety a blast tomorrow :)

Zak, - 22-06-’17 16:08

As you’ve already found out, the flavour of black pepper is completely different from that of white. Hence why you’ve found “a little something missing”.
The addition of sage is common in about half the recipes I found.
Sage is the dominant flavour of Lincolnshire sausage. You may enjoy this recipe: which uses breadcrumbs instead of rusk.

Phil, - 09-07-’17 13:20

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the forum.

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