As a boerewors maker/seller there as 2 questions that I often get from my customers.
- Why is the sausage so thin compared to what we get in South Africa
- Why is it so expensive to ship fresh boerewors
So I thought to write a blog to help our customers understand what goes into making and shipping meat products in the USA. So here you go.
- We do not live in SA and often we struggle to find the same ingredients to make our favorite boerewors. Here in the USA, Americans eat a lot more beef than lamb. Most of the lamb you buy in grocery stores gets imported from New Zeeland or Australia. In some states, like Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, we are fortunate to find more lamb, but re rest of the country not so much. In the most restaurant, I find that people think imported lamb is more superior, just because it's imported. This is probably personal taste, but I think South Africans are used to the lamb that grows up in arid areas in our country. Sheep that grows up in New Zeeland, grows up on green grass and that affects the taste of the meat. Because America does not have as many sheep, we also don't have the lamb intestine that is used to make boerewors. So where do the lamb casings come from that we use to make boerewors? It gets imported. The sellers of casings in the USA only import casings that vary in sizes from about 18mm to 28+mm. That's not to say that sheep do not have a bigger intestine, it's just that it's not imported. So the question is, why do we use sheep casings. 3 types of casings can be used to make sausage. The first is synthetic casings. Synthetic casings are tough and chewy and making boerewors with them will make you feel like chewing bubble gum. Hog casings are the second and some people use them as you can find a nice big 32mm casing like used to get in South Africa. They are not as tough as synthetic casings but they are still too tough for my taste. On request, I will make boerewors from hog casings. Lastly, lamb casings are nice and tender and when eating boerewors made from lamb casings you don't taste the casing, just the boerewors. The drawback is that it tends to also break when you grill them on a too hot fire. For them not to break while grilling, you should grill it nice and slow and not handle them too much. One way of ensuring they don't break, use a toeslaan rooster like we use to get in South Africa. So there you go.
- Why is shipping so expensive? America is a big country and summertime especially can get pretty hot. You want your boerie to arrive in a fresh condition to enjoy the braai on a hot summer day. To get the boerewors to you as fresh as possible, we need to buy a polystyrene cooler box and ice bricks to make sure the product arrives in an edible condition. This cooler box is not cheap. They can cost anything from $10-$30 apiece, depending on the size required to ship the product. These cooler boxes also add to the weight and size of the shipment, all of which add to the cost of the shipment. The second important fact is that the cooler box only keeps the fresh product in good condition for so long. Depending on the ambient temperature this span is different. Shipping costs can vary drastically depending on the number of days that it takes to ship a product. To keep the cost down, we try to take 2 to 3-day shipping which is perfect for keeping boerewors in good condition. It may not arrive frozen but will still be good to consume.
I hope this gives you some insight into the process and help you appreciate enjoy your favorite boerie a little more