Australia may be divided on political issues this election, but one thing unites us: our love of a good sausage sizzle.
As voters around the nation converge on primary schools and town halls to exercise their democratic right on 21 May, barbecues around the country will be fired up to feed the voting masses.
We gave candidates from Woolworths, Coles and Aldi a good grilling and then asked CHOICE staff to elect their favourite democracy sausage.
Which sausage topped the polls in our democracy sausage plebiscite?
And the winner is... Coles!
Coles won in a landslide victory, snagging (sorry) an impressive 51% of the vote – a clear nine-vote majority over Aldi, and 14 votes ahead of Woolworths.
Our last Democracy Sausage election saw Woolworths elected as favourite, so the worm has well and truly turned, with many voters crossing the floor to support Coles' new policies.
Typically, the golden ratio for a perfect sausage is a coalition of 80% meat to 20% fat. While the Candidate for Coles almost hit the target for meat content, it fell short of the fat content. However, its opponents were on the money for fat content but were in deficit as far as meat content goes.
Our last Democracy Sausage election saw Woolworths elected as favourite, so the worm has well and truly turned.
The saltiest sausage, and winner of the taste test: Coles beef sausages.
But what won over the swinging voters was its salt content: with 725mg of sodium per 100g, the Coles sausage was far and away the saltiest of the bunch.
While this is undoubtedly a high-sodium offering, no-one seriously considers the Democracy Sausage a health food, so it shouldn't be relegated to the backbench for its salty ways.
The winning party needs to invest more in infrastructure, however: its sausages had a tendency to come undone while being grilled.
Woolworths sausages might be healthier, but failed to impress our taste-testers.
The member for Woolworths came in last, taking out just 21% of the vote, and offering the lowest meat content and the lowest sodium content. (Clearly this candidate was campaigning on a platform of improving health outcomes for voters.)
A vote for Woolworths sausages won't put your budget back in surplus, either: it was the most expensive per sausage, and had the lowest percentage of Australian ingredients. Bad for the economy and bad for your taste buds.
The member for Aldi is strongly focused on the cost of living – it was the cheapest in our test by a fair margin.
Aldi's mystery meat sausages win on price but also failed the taste test.
The member for Aldi is strongly focused on cost of living – it was the cheapest in our test by a fair margin. But there's plenty of fat in the budget: 21.4g per 100g, to be precise.
Although, strangely, Aldi wasn't clear on which constituents it was representing: its meat content was labelled as "Beef, Lamb or Chicken".
While its meat content was unspecified, it did contain 97% Australian ingredients – good for the budget and for Australian producers.
|Price||$4.99 for 7||$6.60 for 8||$7 for 8|
|Price per sausage||71.3c each||82.5c each||87.5c each|
|% Australian ingredients||At least 97%||At least 96%||At least 92%|
|% of votes||28%||51%||21%|
*The meat in the Aldi sausages was listed as "Meat (Beef, Lamb or Chicken) 71%".
CHOICE staffers applying their testing experience to the democracy sausage taste-test.
Registered CHOICE staff voters were asked to consider the policies (erm, sausages) from each of the three candidates and cast a conscience vote at one of our two polling places.
The votes were counted twice by our official Verification team, with scrutineers from the Content Experience team observing the count in the CHOICE tally room.
Turns out CHOICE staff are a diligent bunch – there was not a single informal or donkey vote cast (although we did draw the line at postal votes – sausages don't travel well).
We did draw the line at postal votes – sausages don't travel well.
Candidates from the two main parties, Woolworths and Coles, were pre-selected, along with the member for Aldi. We preferenced plain beef snags as these are the most commonly chosen for a roasting on election day.
A step-by-step guide to cooking the perfect democracy sausage
- Preheat the barbecue on medium heat for five minutes with the hood down.
- Lightly oil the hotplate.
- Cook the sausages on the hotplate with the hood closed until they're dark brown on both sides. (Approximately 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness.)
Hot tips from our kitchen expert Fiona Mair:
- Keep the hood down when preheating the barbecue – it'll heat up faster.
- Use the flat hotplate, not the grill plate, when cooking sausages. The fat in sausages can cause flare-ups, which can result in uneven cooking and charred areas.
- Cooking with the barbecue hood closed speeds up the cooking time and helps produce an even cooking result.
- If you're cooking larger sausages in a frypan, reduce the heat to medium-low, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover the pan and cook for five minutes after they've browned. Covering the pan during cooking reduces oil splatters and cooking odours.
After the polls have closed, it'll be time to clean up the mess left behind by your democracy sausages. Our guide to cleaning your barbecue has got you covered.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.