Making Boerewors

One of the first things that many South Africans look for when arriving in a new country, is boerewors. The problem is that, except for one exception that I know of, boerewors isn’t for sale at the local meat market.

To help those who have no choice but to make their own boerewors, I want to dedicate an article to that honored tradition.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article describing how we make boerewors. Here it is: How To Make Boerewors

On the website we also have a boerewors recipe.

The recipe and the article ought to get you started with making your own decent boerewors.

However, we all learn little tips and tricks along the way to make things better. Let’s use this page for sharing those tips with one another. If you have learned something about making boerewors that might help others, post it as a comment below.

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  • After we spoke this morning I had a chat with my dad and he also suggested using pork belly. Once again I had to explain to him that this is not easily accessible, but I did find a place in Dallas that sells it. Rudolph’s meat market, but your comment on the brisket is well noted. I often wondered if I could use that, but was unsure if it would do. Next batch definately going to try it.
    I did read somewhere that one should not rinse the meat with water as it can cause it to become tough and rancid.

  • I made a ‘mock’ boerewors to put into our sausage rolls the other night. I used an old recipe I had as the base, but had to cut the pork into tiny bits by hand, as we have no mincer. I had no bacon on hand, but made a paste of bacon stock that I mixed in along with the usual spices. Turned out quite well. The fat is fairly essential or you get a very dry boerewors.

  • Some recipes limit the fat, probably for health reasons, but I believe the accepted norm is that the fat content should be anywhere from 10 – 20%.

  • The only thing that we do differently when making droëwors (dried sausage) is to leave the pork out and make it all beef. The pork fat apparently tends to go rancid and then gives the droëwors an odd taste.

  • Hi, There is no bacon in wors pork belly is sometimes refered to as bacon in some regions.You need 20 to 30% fat. Seperate the fat brisket and or back fat (spek).Cut the fat in small blocks or freeze then course grind it.You need to cool the cubes of meat to about 0-3 Deg. C and the fat must be frozen.Mix fat and cubes and grind through a precooled grinder.The meat must be cold at all times or the fat will smear even when you are stuffing the casings.Wors is not as high in fat as imagined because a lot of the fat is expelled during cooking,using too little fat will give you a dry crumbly texture.You are looking at about 6 Deg. C when you are stuffing.

  • Thanks for your boerewors recipe. I first tried it at home and made sausage rolls. Wow ! were they a hit at my husband's 50th . I took note of your tips about using brisket. I found a butcher in the area and decided to leave out the bacon and increase the coriander. The butcher did such a great job and we are just loving the Boerewors with pap en sous. I now put a monthly order in and then everyone gets it from my home and we are all loving Boeries here in The Woodlands TX. Thanks for being so kind to share your recipe, it really helped and it is awesome having a taste of home.
    If you ever pop down to The Woodlands any of the SA's from Austin please look me up. Regards

    • Hi Lesley-Carron
      We also live in The Woodlands and have been wanting to find a butcher who can make us the wors. We have bags of the spice mix, so just need someone to mince and make the wors with our spice mix. Who does it for you ? Would love to contact them and ask them to make us a batch.
      Yetta and Greg (Facebook: Jette McGavin)

  • Why would it bother any of you chicken runners what happens in South Africa. You all left out of fear, and those who remain must fix it so that you can sneak back to paradise. You left your home land. Just forget about it and get your accent right.

    • Donner, I'm not quite sure why you would make that statement in a post about making boerewors…

      You can call me a "chicken runner" all day long… I couldn't give a damn. I know that my kids won't be subjected to South Africa's crime nor BEE. Good luck living in the paradise that Malema is about to create for you. Contact us when you need tips on chicken running…

      • chicken runner ….not nice, we left because we had the insight to foresee that South Africa will not get better……it was the hardest thing to leave our comfort zone , to start a new life overseas…….ps we make our dry wors with boerewors spice , added vinegar ,and fresh crushed garlic , and synthetic thin casings….dried in our homemade drier using a heater fan on the lowest heat…..

    • I left South Africa, because my wife and daughter were brutally raped and I was left to die. I was lucky. Would you not leave too?

  • Donner, has it occurred to you that a) many weren't running but have other reasons for leaving? or b) that your very own ancestors left their country to settle in South Africa? We are all descendants of pioneers and Voortrekkers. This is no more than just another Great Trek.

    But as John has said, why on earth leave your bitter and possibly jealous diatribe on a boerewors recipe page?

  • Back to boerewors. Been makings wors in UK for about 8 months.
    I use topside or silverside and pork belly with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio.
    All the meat is cut into cubes and spiced, usually for 24 hours
    I get my spice from a sausage suplier in UK because it tastes really nice and saves me the hassle of mixing up spices myself. If I do droewors, I may replace the pork with lamb or just leave out the pork altogether.
    I use natural hog casings for the boerie and collagen for droewors.

  • There are many things I miss during my years in South Africa, but boerwors is number one. Many happy memories of cooking boerewors in the bush velt. Over twenty years ago I ran across a boererwors recipe and have been a happy man ever since. Of course my sausage repertoire has grown emmensely since then, but boerwors will always be the King of Sausages.

  • I have followed your recipe, also taking note of your changes. I actually just bought beef and pork that was already ground from the supermarket, and the process was very quick. We found the most obliging source of pig intestines was a local organic butcher- others were too worried about red-tape issues. Then through the sausage stuffer on my mixer and into the pan! I was born in New Zealand but my Mum is South African, having emigrated 50 years ago. She is thrilled to see the best of her cultures culinary traditions being propagated in the next generations. So I'm not a chicken runner but rather a coat tails hanger on!! We all stand rather in awe of Mums heritage, except maybe the post-war alcoholism, but perhaps that was just the men in her family…

  • My hubby and i have just bought ourselves a sausage making machine, because i miss my boerewors on a braai here in the north. I’ve read all the tips and tricks and i brought some Grabouw spices home with me in May. I am a Capetonion and imigrated to cold north Norway after meeting my hubby who is norwegian. Now its boerwors making time in my house and he’s just as enthusiastic as me! We are going to use our local butchers tip and fry a small piece as we go along, just to taste and be certain its the taste we like and want, before stuffing the casings. Next is hot cross buns, chocolate logs, crunchies, bar ones etc etc……lol… But none of these can replace the feeling in my heart when i land at CT airport and see Table Mountain!!

  • Hi
    I made my first batch of wors today and decided before i stuff the whole batch i would do a tester….. the casing split open and was a bit dry….so going to get some spek or pork fat tomorrow….why is it spliting? Packed to tight?

    • Hi Steven. Yes, if the casing is splitting, the wors is packed a bit too tight. That happens to most of us when we first make wors. You’ll soon get the hang out it.

  • my husband and i have also just started making our own I bought myself a pasta maker and a mincer the pasta make is also a sausage maker but me found it takes a bit long so we start using the mincer we where putting onion in it and was told that it makes the taste change and ends up tasting as if it is off is that right need some ideas

  • Hi John,
    I’ve decided it’s time for me to make my own boerewors as I’ve found that the wors I’ve tried is either too dry or the casings “snap” more like russians than wors. Going through the above comments it seems like brisket is the best cut of beef and pork belly. Is a 3:1 ratio the best option for this combination. Would this combination have enough fat content to eliminate the the “dryness” or would I have to add another source of fat. I will be using HOG casings from a reputable supplier here in the UK. As you can see I am a novice so any advice will be greatly appreciated. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thx Craig.

    • Hi Craig. If the casings burst easily, it is more than likely that it has been stuffed too tightly. If you stuff the wors and discover that you’re stuffing it too tightly, turn off the stuffer, pull some casing off the stuffer, and redistribute the meat by hand over a longer piece of casing. Your brisket/pork ratio is about right. Some people go with 75% beef / 25% pork, but 67/33 will work too. Like brisket, pork belly also has quite a bit of fat, so I’m thinking you’ll have enough fat for your wors to be moist. I believe a fat content of about 15% is ideal. Just don’t over-braai it, of course. Hog casing works well. That’s what we use too.

  • Hi guys. I’m trying to find out why ice cold water is added to the minced meat before the casing is done. Can someone please enlighten me. Tks!

    • I’m wondering if people add the cold water to make stuffing easier? We add a water/vinegar mixture along with the spices to the meat before grinding, but don’t add additional cold water to the ground meat before stuffing, and have no problems with the stuffing.

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