A saveloy served with chips and curry sauce in Nottingham, England

A saveloy is a type of highly seasoned sausage, usually bright red, normally boiled and available in fish and chip shops around Britain. It is sometimes also available fried in batter.


The word is believed to be derived from Middle French cervelas or servelat, originating from Old Italian cervella ('pigs brains'), ultimately from the Latin cerebrus ('brain'). Its first known use in the English language in this meaning was 1784.[1] Cervellato is still the name of a sausage in Italy; it is longer and thinner than standard Italian sausages.


Although the saveloy was traditionally made from pork brains, the ingredients of a shop-bought sausage are typically pork (58%), water, rusk, pork fat, potato starch, salt, emulsifiers (tetrasodium diphosphate, disodium diphosphate), white pepper, spices, dried sage, preservatives (sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate), and beef collagen casing.[2][better source needed]

The saveloy is mostly eaten with chips.

England and Wales

Popular in the northeast of England, saveloys are sometimes eaten in a "saveloy dip" sandwich: the bun is dipped in the water in which the saveloy has been boiled, or in gravy, with a layer of stuffing and pease pudding, additionally seasoned with English mustard.[3] Elsewhere in England and Wales, saveloy is most commonly served in fish and chip shops.

Australia and New Zealand

The saveloy is eaten in Australia and New Zealand, often dipped in batter and deep fried, when it is known as a "battered sav".

At the turn of the 20th century, the saveloy was described in an Australian court case as a "highly seasoned dry sausage originally made of brains, but now young pork, salted"[4]: 6  but by the mid-century, it was commonly defined by its size as a 19 cm (7.5 in) sausage, as opposed to a frankfurter at 26 cm (10 in).[5]: 8  This distinction may be due to frankfurters’ popularisation in that country (as the main ingredient in hot dogs). Saveloys also tend to have more seasoning and are thicker.[6]: 12 

Despite "frankfurter" sausage makers being the target of violence in World War I,[7]: 1  the story that saveloys were once frankfurters, renamed due to anti-German sentiment, is purely apocryphal, as far as Australia is concerned.[citation needed]

In Australia, saveloys are usually a beef-pork blend.[8] In New Zealand, saveloys are usually a lamb-pork-beef blend (which distinguishes them from frankfurters which are a pork-beef blend).[citation needed] As in England, they are sold at fish-and-chip shops, as well as bought from supermarkets, to be simmered at home.

Saveloys are often the basis of the New Zealand battered-sausage-on-a-stick "hot dog", very similar to the US corn meal-battered variant of the corn dog as sold at fairgrounds and shows. The Australian showground version is often called a "dagwood dog",[9] when prepared on site (and should not be confused with the "pluto pup", equivalent to the US Pronto Pup, a mass-produced, pre-prepared product that is essentially the same, but which invariably uses frankfurters, rather than saveloys and can often be found at takeaway shops).[10]

In South Australia and Tasmania, up to at least the early 1980s, the "sav and roll" was popular football fare especially at country matches; it was a saveloy heated in a wood-fired "copper" (boiler), placed in a split bread roll, and liberally covered with tomato sauce.[citation needed]

A cocktail sausage is a smaller version of the saveloy, about a quarter of the size; in Australia sometimes called a "baby sav", a "footy frank" or a "little boy", and in New Zealand and Queensland called a "cheerio".[11] These are a popular children's party food in New Zealand and Australia, often served hot, with tomato sauce.

United States

A type of hot dog which is almost indistinguishable from the saveloy is popular in the state of Maine, where it is commonly known as a "red hot" or "red snapper".[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Saveloy". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  2. ^ "Counter Loose Saveloys By Each – Groceries – Tesco Groceries". Tesco.com. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  3. ^ nefadmin (2018-07-20). "Top 5 North East Foods!". North East Food. Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  4. ^ "Saveloy Reticence" in The Examiner, Launceston, Tas, 14 March 1913
  5. ^ "Variety of Sausage for Home Menus" in The Courier Mail, Brisbane, QLD, 12 September 1951
  6. ^ "Hot Dog is Favourite American Sandwich" in the Centralian Advocate, 26 October 1951
  7. ^ "Exciting Night in Sydney" in Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW, 28 November 1915
  8. ^ "Saveloy-Australian". www.meatsandsausages.com. Retrieved Jun 10, 2021.
  9. ^ "Dagwood Dog vs Pronto Pup". Australian food history timeline. 1940-09-18. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  10. ^ "Pluto pups". Australian Women's Weekly Food. Retrieved Jun 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Leitner, Gerhard (2004). Australian English – The National Language. Walter de Gruyter. p. 257. ISBN 9783110904871.
  12. ^ "The Neon-Red Hot Dog of Maine". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2019-05-07.