Monday, August 26, 2013

Boerewors recipe

Braaivleis is nothing without boerewors.

Three years in the making and testing, this is the elusive boerewors (BOO-ruh-vawrs, lit. farmers sausage) recipe tweaked to perfection. It amazed me that this ubiquitous South African sausage, available in every supermarket and butchery and corner joint in South Africa had so few sources of recipe-reference, online.

This final (for now...) version was recently published in South Africa's Go (Weg) Magazine.

For our taste, this recipe made excellent wors (lit. sausage) and compares very favourably with the countless incarnations we have eaten in South Africa. After our first experiments I upped the coriander and salt, and used a lot more pepper (most recipes say 1 teaspoon).  Allspice, garam masala and cloves are also new additions. I tend to tweak the recipe every time, but this is the basic version:

Lamb chops and boerewors on the braai

I grind the and mix the spices myself and deliver them to Los Paisanos, our butchery on Smith Street in Brooklyn, where the sausages are made. Butchers Ivan Palma and Pedro Franco also discovered that marinating the meat overnight with the vinegar  and spice mix yielded a superior sausage.

The Meat:

2lbs beef
2 lbs mutton or lamb
2lbs fatty pork belly 

Spice Mix:

3 Tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2.5 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup Malt vinegar

For the spices: 

In a hot pan singe the coriander very lightly and then grind into powder. Add the other dry spices, mix, and bag. 

Hand this spice mixture to your butcher, ask him (or her) to use lamb or pork casings, and to make into continuous coils, not links. No string. This is a fine grind. Many are coarser.

Los Paisanos, will make this sausage for you, mixing the spices the spices themselves, if you commit to a minimum order of 6lbs. 

Don't overcook - this is not a very fatty sausage.

Boerewors in Cape Town 

Here is the Brooklyn Boerewors Journey, for fellow fanatics:

5 October 2010 - I Have an Idea
10 October 2010 - We Beg the Butcher Boss
12 October 2010 -  Light at the End of the Wors Tunnel

16 October 2010 - The First Brooklyn Boerewors
10 June 2011 - Oops, We get Links
20 July 2012 -  The Butchers are Taking Orders


  1. What's a traditional way to eat them?

    Bet they're nice with a cooling relish of some sort. Something to 'cut' the spice.

  2. Hi Rob - the most common way to eat them is braaied (barbecued), but pan-cooked is also acceptable. We prefer to eat them with no adornment or relish, but I'm sure that would be good, too.

  3. Any chance you remember how much they charge for this?

  4. Anonymous - It was in the realm of $10 per lb.

  5. This is not a traditional boerewors recipe. No plaasboer would dream of using garam masala or malt vinegar and the method is faulty.

  6. So, grootbek Plaasjapie - what's a better recipe?

  7. And what's a plaasjapie doing in Oz anyway? :-)

  8. Since our dream of eternal white supremacy died on us, we plaasjapies are to be found everywhere. And believe me the world is not a better place for this diaspora.

    I will supply a recipe. For the moment, let me say that the clove/coriander ratio is crucial, toasting the coriander is heretical, and boerewors is not a fatty sausage. And then there is the matter of steeping the mixture.

  9. OK, Plaasjapie - I await your recipe with baited breath.

    It was a real boer who told me to toast the coriander though, so your heresy is not his heresy! I think you'll find as many opinions on boerewors as people who make it. And I have eaten a lot of boerewors.

    Nog 'n ding - this does not yield fatty sausage. At all. If anything, it's a tad on the dry side - maybe because modern pigs have less fat?

    In the meantime, I have put in a request to Vereeniging for a very old wors recipe, and can't wait to see it.

  10. Plaasjapie is all talk it would seem ..

  11. So I can just walk in to Los Paisanos on any given day and they will have boerewors ready for me to buy? If so...dan is al my gebede verhoor. I've been in NY for 7 years and have not been able to come across boerewors.

    1. Hi Lizanne - no, you either take this spice mix to them - which is easy to make; or you order ahead.

  12. Hi Marie,

    What would you reccommend (weight) of an average piece for "first-timers" please ? I am introducing several Frencg friends to the joys of braiing.

    Baie Dankie van Jerry

    1. Hi Jerry - this makes 6lbs and one coil is roughly 1lb. I would braai one coil for two hungry people. or if there are also chops and other goeters on the braai, one coil could be split amongst four.

  13. Dear Marie

    After living in Australia for 7 years and some one making a killing from real badly manufacturer wors , which I refuse to waste my monies on , I took your recipe to my butcher who so kindly minced my meat and then sent me on my way to make my own sausages .

    Tonight I will be stuffing the sausages through my machine - I left them to marinate for 24 hours, now I might not be able to wait until tomorrow to taste the wors and taste testing will have to happen tonight between making rolls and frying (Braai'ing)

    But as I am happy to eat wors raw , the taste was as I remeber from RSA and I was never a big eaters.

    So maybe after tonight there will be a bunch of happy South Africans in my suburb. I already supply them with Biltong on demand.


    Happy Wors maker


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