Boerewors [South African Sausage]

Delicious boerewors made with ground beef and spice, wrapped in hog casings before seared over flames. This classic South African sausage is easy to make and a must-have at any braai or grill cook-off.

boerewors

Boerewors is a South African classic that is on the menu at every braai get-together.

This iconic sausage blends ground beef with spices before being cooked on a braai or grill. This isn’t your usual sausage fare, however: The coarse texture gives the sausage a unique mouthfeel, while its use of coriander seeds and nutmeg gives the meat a deep flavor that’s enhanced beautifully by flame cooking.

Make grilled boerewors part of your next party platter. From perfecting the meat mixture to choosing the best casings, discover how to make boerewors today.

boerewors

What is Boerewors?

Boerwors (pronounced boo-re-vors) is a beef and pork sausage packed full of spices and flavor. It’s traditionally cooked on a South African braai and is the perfect grill recipe for when you’ve got friends and family visiting.

Boerewors is a very traditional South African recipe and you’ll see it appear at almost every braai. This hearty sausage is cooked over flames and often served in a roll (a boerie roll as it’s known) with a traditional sauce called chakalaka.

Whilst a famous fixture in South African culinary culture, boerewors is popular in many countries in Southern Africa and is believed to have originated in Namibia (locals in South Africa might fight you on that one though). This would however make sense as Namibia was originally a German colony and if there’s one thing the Germans are known for, it’s their wurst. The name however is Dutch and comes from the words Boer ‘farmer’ and wors ‘sausage’: So, a ‘farmer’s sausage’.

It’s thought that people in Southern Africa have been making boerewors as far back as the 17th century – perhaps now you can understand why it’s so ingrained in the local culture! At that time there wouldn’t have been access to the meat grinding and sausage filling machinery we have now so the filling would have been chopped and pummeled by hand. Even today boerewors has a slightly coarser consistency (similar to traditional French sausage), harking back to those early recipes. 

Rather than being separated into individual sausage links, boerewors is usually kept as one long sausage and either shaped into a spiral (like British Cumberland sausage) or folded back on itself multiple times in a rectangular shape. 

Ingredients 

Upon biting into a boerewors, you could think the filling is purely beef as the flavor is quite dominant but it is usually, in fact, a blend of beef, pork, and pork fat to get the right consistency.

Now, these consistencies will change depending on what recipe you use and some even include meats such as lamb or ostrich. In South Africa, competitions are regularly held to ascertain the best boerie so it’s unsurprising that people are very secretive about their ingredients and ratios!

Usually, the meat will be ground especially for the recipe but ours uses ground beef and pork for ease. 

The meat isn’t the only important part of this sausage though and the thing that really sets it apart is the spices that are used. Most people will be accustomed to pork sausages with mild flavorings but boerewors packs a real punch with a whole medley of spice blended through the mix.

The outstanding flavor in the sausage is coriander (or cilantro), as well as cloves, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and pepper, it’s anything but bland! South Africa was a key part of the spice trading route, so it’s unsurprising that flavors from all across the world have made it into local recipes. Malt vinegar and Worcestershire sauce are also often used to balance out the flavor with sharpness and sweetness. 

How to Make Boerewors 

  1. Toast and grind the spices in a skillet
  2. Mix the meat, spices, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce together until well combined
  3. Refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours to let the flavors mingle 
  4. Fill the hog casing with the filling and shape it into a spiral 
  5. Grill on a braai or charcoal grill at approximately 350°F (180°C) until cooked through to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C)
boerewors

Serving Suggestions 

The most popular way to eat boerewors in South Africa is to cook it on the braai until perfectly charred and then enjoy it in a roll with chakalaka (a local sauce made from tomato, onion, beans, and spices) or ketchup. You could also chop it into pieces and place it on a serving platter with a pot of mustard for people to help themselves, or even skewer it onto cocktail sticks and serve it as a canape. 

Times & Temperatures 

Boerie will traditionally be cooked on a braai (you just a charcoal grill) and this is really where it has the best flavor. The coals gently char the outside of the meat and render the fat until you have yourself the perfect wors. If you want to cook it this way, bring your braai or grill to a heat of around 350°F (180°C). Cooking it gently means that the casing is less likely to split or burn before the filling is fully cooked.

Cook for approximately 5 minutes per side, so 10 minutes total. However, always aim for an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) before pulling from the grill.

Quick Tips

  1. Be sure to rest your boerewors filling in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using it to stuff the casings, this ensures that all the flavors permeate and will result in a better tasting wors.
boerewors
Pin
5 from 1 vote

Boerewors

Delicious boerewors made with ground beef and spice, wrapped in hog casings before seared over flames. This classic South African sausage is easy to make and a must-have at any braai or grill cook-off.
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Prep Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 lbs ground pork fat
  • 10 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup malt vinegar
  • cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 7 oz natural sausage casings

Instructions

Meat Mixture

  • Add the coriander to a dry frying pan set over medium heat and toast until aromatic. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Tip the toasted coriander seeds into a spice grinder, or pestle and mortar, and grind into a fine powder. Mix the other spices, salt and pepper into the ground coriander.
  • In a large bowl, use your hands to work together the ground beef, pork, pork fat, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and then mix the spices in until well combined.
  • Cover the meat and spice mixture with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours

Sausage Stuffing

  • Once the meat has rested, pipe the mixture into the casing, making sure not to overstuff. If using a sausage stuffer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • You can either shape the sausage the traditional way, keeping it long and wrapping into a spiral, or you can form individual sausage links.

Grilling

  • When ready to cook, fire up your grill to 350°F (180°C)
  • Insert 12” wood skewer through the center of boerewors. This will help make it easier to flip over during cooking. Alternatively, you can just place the sausage in a grill basket.
  • Once the grill is at temperature, place boerewors on grill grates. Grill for 5-8 minutes per side, until sausage internal temperature is 160°F (71°C)
  • Remove boerewors from grill. Slice to serve and enjoy immediately.

Still hungry? Check out more BBQ posts

braai flame cooked meat What is Braai? [South African Barbecue Explained] - South African braai is a spin on outdoor meat cooking that needs to be seen to be believed. Best when… ...
braaibroodjies Braaibroodjies [Easy South African Grilled Cheese Sandwich] - Grilled braaibroodjies loaded with melted cheese and chutney, before seared over high heat. Discover how to make this South African… ...
smoked mettwurst recipe Smoked Mettwurst [Barbecue German Sausage] - Smoked mettwurst is the best way to enjoy this classic German sausage. Made from minced pork and lean beef, this… ...
grilled italian sausage sandwich onions peppers Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwich [Recipe & Topping Ideas] - This grilled Italian sausage sandwich recipe is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Stuffed into a French baguette and flooded with vibrant toppings,… ...
how to smoke sausage How to BBQ Smoke Sausage - Barbecue sausage is easy to make, while still boasting that unmistakable wood and smoke flavor. Find out everything you need… ...

Sign Up

Get recipes, BBQ tips & regular discounts straight to your inbox!