Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Donair Sausages & Crusty Buns

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. – Ernest Hemingway 

Have lots of napkins on hand.

I have three recipes that receive significant hits on this blog every single day:

My original recipe for donair meat is one from It links to “Dash Rip Rock’s” Halifax Donair meat. It’s pretty good and darned close to what one gets on drunken escapades in Halifax.

They say you haven’t partied in Halifax until you wake up the next morning with donair sauce down the front of your shirt. Dirty ashtrays, stale beer and donair sauce are the signature odours of a good time had by all... Luckily for me those days have passed.

These taste like the best donair meat...
Of course you don’t need a “foggy” Halifax night to enjoy a donair. I love them. And you don't have to be drunk to get donair sauce all over yourself. They're a messy venture.

Donair is a highly spiced Middle Eastern meat mixture that is absolutely delicious. It is spit roasted in pizza shops, sliced and served with a special sweet, garlicky sauce, tomatoes and onions wrapped in pita.

Donair is usually uncased, but to make sausages you have to stuff them. Unfortunately the most common sausage casing is pork. This makes them not quite such a Middle Eastern delight as consuming pork is not allowed.

The benefit of sausage is that they’re easy to put on the barbecue, or do in a pan on the stove at home. There are artificial casings available (plus lamb casings – expensive), so of you have Muslim or Jewish friends search them out.

I did have some issues with the original recipe. It contained no lamb and I found it a little lacking in spice. I like my donair meat on the spicy side. This recipe fixes that issue.

If you don’t want to stuff casings, you can shape the mixture into a loaf and bake it. Then slice and you’re on your way.

I'm including the recipe for a classic Halifax donair sauce, as well as one for sausage buns. Nice buns with a crusty exterior and soft interior.

Donair Sausages
Makes 8 sausages, 8” long
 400g lean beef
400g lamb
125 g beef suet (fat)
3 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

diced tomato
diced yellow onion

Donair sauce
370 ml can evaporated milk, chilled
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
1-3 tbsp vinegar (see directions)

Sausage buns (makes 6)
3 cups flour
1-1/4 cups water, warm (110°F)
3/4 tsp yeast
3/4 tsp salt

Start the buns first
Mix together all the ingredients together in a bowl and then knead briefly to incorporate everything well. 

Grease the bowl with a little olive oil and then place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise for 3 hours in a warm spot, but out of the direct sun, until doubled. Alternatively, you can proof the yeast, mix in the flour and salt and let rise for  about 1.5 to 2 hours.

Once risen, punch down, knead for 2 minutes and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each one into a log about 6-7” long. Place on a floured baking sheet and let rise again for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack. Once the buns have risen again, slit the middle of the tops along the length. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown, removing the water pan 10 minutes into the baking time.

Make the donair sauce
Place the chilled (important) evaporated milk in a plastic, glass or ceramic bowl (not metal). Mix in the sugar and garlic powder.

Stirring painfully slowly, add vinegar very slowly. The mixture will thicken. If you stir too fast the mixture won’t thicken and if you add the vinegar too fast it won’t thicken. Once thickened, chill the sauce.

This is tricky business. I had to make it 3 times, because I was impatient.

Make the sausage
To make the sausage, cube the fat and meat into 1” pieces. Grind with the coarse plate of your grinder. Add the remaining ingredients and knead together with your hands.

Stuff the sausage into casings and twist into 8” links.

To cook, cut the sausages apart, and place into a frying pan with a little water and oil. Bring to a boil. As the water boils the sausage cooks. Make sure to flip the sausage, and pierce them with a fork a few times. Once the water evaporates, the sausages will brown.


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  1. Printable version… My kitchen for a printable version!

    1. Sorry Carl. But you CAN copy the recipe, paste it into a text editor and print. :-)

    2. I Love your recipe and have even made Donair Hamburgers!