This is a unique preserved meat product that is made fresh from one Shetland Kye on Shetland, when it is butchered, so it is only from one beast and that beast is also on Ark of Taste. To the uninitiated it may look like ordinary sausage meat but there the similarity ends! It is the meat dish ex-pat Shetlanders crave. The smell and sizzle of sassermaet brunnies frying in a pan at teatime is sheer nostalgia. This all in one creation was eaten with fried eggs and floury bannocks by generations of youngsters keen to get back outside to play on long Summer nights.
Kye would be slaughtered during the colder winter months to ensure the fresh meat could be kept as long as possible. In olden days the only means of preservation of meats was air-drying in skeos, salting in barrels and lightly salting the trimmings. This is where sassermaet was important as this dealt with all the meat trimmings, which otherwise have been lost as food.
Jakob Eunson of Uradale Farm, an organic farm on Shetland with Ark of Taste Shetland Kye & Native Shetland Lamb wanted to investigate the old recipes for sassermaet as it had become unheard of on his home isle. The mass-produced sliced sausagemeat product found on Scottish breakfast tables known as Lorne sausage was being confused with sassermaet and it was time to set the record straight!
The folk of Shetland adore this traditional product and Jakob is kept busy in the cutting room preparing this delicacy. It has to be made from one Shetland Kye, not a mix of animals, and the breed itself is rare (on Ark). Mass produced versions will contain at best cross-bred animals, and often both beef & pork mixed.
What does it taste like? It is deliciously moist, a little salt and has the wonderful beefy flavours of the Shetland Kye. For a humble meat product made from trimmings once the more expensive cuts have been set aside, the taste is wonderful because the initial meat is high quality.