Traditional Boerewors sausage

Back to the archive >

Boerewors is a traditional sausage from South Africa. While the product itself is not in danger of going extinct, its authentic preparation method is becoming lost. This is primarily because additives are used increasingly and society does not notice these gradual changes in the product.

Boerewors dates back to 1652 when the Dutch colonists (known as Boers) were farming in the Cape of Good Hope. The name derives from the Dutch word boer for farmer and the Afrikaans word wors for sausage; hence the name "farmer’s sausage".

Dutch settlers modeled the recipe from one of their traditional sausages called verse worst but boerewors is somewhat different in terms of its ingredients — coarsely ground beef, spek (pork fat), spices and casing. It is traditionally sold in a coil as one very long piece of sausage instead of many smaller sausages. The product is generally cooked on the braai (barbecue) and served with pap (maize meal) and sous (sauce). The sausage is up to 30% fat, which runs out while cooking.

Most of the boerewors purchased today contains all sorts of additives, such as soy. With every adulteration of this traditional food item, it becomes more difficult to preserve its heritage. Traditionally, the sausage must be at least 90% fresh beef while the other 10% is spices and other flavorings. For true boerewors, fat content cannot be more than 30% and meat obtained through mechanical means cannot be used.

Over the years, local cities and chefs have specialized in recipes to safeguard this sausage. As a demonstration of its popularity, each year a Boerewors Championship is organized in Sun City, a mega-resort of 15,000 inhabitants, near the city of Rustenburg.

Back to the archive >


StateSouth Africa


Other info


Cured meats and meat products

Nominated by:Haydn Edwards