More to sausages than 'meats' the eye

2008-05-21 00:00

So, what’s in a sausage? Not much, I thought, at least until I spoke to someone who is deeply passionate about them, to the extent that he has travelled the world and built his career around the little “banger”.

Meet Jarrod Hatting, 23 years old, and bursting with enthusiasm.

Hatting’s story is startling, not because it deals with delicious sausages, but rather because it re-affirms that old adage: he who dares.

A two-year stint in England was the making of Hatting, now the proud owner of his own fledging business.

With his savings from his time there, he went about laying the foundations to start his own venture here in South Africa.

“I was determined to prove that there are alternative ways to make a living. You don’t necessarily need to go down the traditional path. If you are serious about something, you can find a way,” Hatting says.

While in the UK, Hatting worked in a traditional English butcher, F. Conisbee & Son, which housed recipes over 250 years old. There Hatting learnt all that he knows about the art — yes, art — of sausage making.

Quick to slam the notion that sausages are made from the leftovers of a carcass, Hatting is determined to prove that sausages are, indeed, serious meat.

“One of my main challenges is changing the perception that people have of the sausage. We use prime meat, so there is no gristle, only lean, quality meat.”

Being based in KwaZulu-Natal, Hatting was quick to realise that his market would be limited if he focused on pork variants only. His extensive selection therefore, includes lamb and beef sausages, with a variety of intriguing flavours.

Hatting’s Sausages was formed in July last year. After returning home, and not being particularly keen to hit the books again, Hatting looked for a way to make his passion become his living.

Kick-starting it off at the Royal Show last year and a few stints at farmers’ markets proved to him that there was a viable market, but people needed to be exposed to the product.

“When I came back, I knew that I could make a better product than what was out there. But making people believe in it was the challenge. When people came over to my stall at the farmers’ market — I saw the reaction that I had received at the Royal Show — they would be sceptical, saying: ‘That is just the same’. But when they saw the sausage keep its shape and they then tasted it, they knew there was a difference,” Hatting says.

Once he began trading regularly at three farmers’ markets around the province, Hatting sought to extend the business by supplying delicatessens, shops and restaurants.

This venture didn’t last, however, as his product was not handled in the painstaking manner that was needed.

“With everything made fresh, the product has to be sold within a week, and some of my customers were leaving it too long on the shelf, thus affecting the quality.”

Quality is a common thread for Hatting, and it was with this in mind that he rented a spot at the Rotunda near Hilton to use as a base to make his product. Small and tucked away, the shop is slowly getting a steady stream of loyal customers and Hatting says his only form of advertising is through word-of-mouth.

“All I can do is put the best product I can out there and then people will pass the compliment on if they taste the difference.”

With three regular stalls at different markets on weekends at Shongweni, Pietermaritzburg and Karkloof and the shop to run, Hatting is always on the move.

He has had his challenges of late, with the power cuts making manufacturing a very precise process.

Creating a great face for the Royal Show is one of Hatting’s upcoming challenges.

“I want the show to be an experience for my customers just like my shop is, with promotion tasters and getting an education on the products.

“I guess it affects us all, but I have to make sure that I am on the ball, because the process is so particular that you cannot stop it halfway through because the product will be ruined.

As for his future plans, Hatting wants to expand his customer base, by turning this small fledgling business into a franchise to share his product with the rest of the country but always with his thread of quality in place.

So, what’s in a sausage? Well, if you believe Hatting, anything from salamis, Russians, to over 20 different flavoured sausages, ranging from pork with garlic and coriander, lamb with mint and apricot, pork with lemon and ginger, and even honey, ale and mustard to name a few.Hatting’s Sausages is located at the back of the Rotunda on Cedara Road near Hilton, 100 metres off the N3.

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