Basic Butchery,  Cooking,  Pork

Faggots & Savoury Ducks – An Offaly Delicious Treat!

When you think of really good eating, pigs offal, fat and breadcrumbs probably doesn’t rank very highly on your list. However, when transformed into the butchers delight known as Faggots or Savoury Ducks, you may well be persuaded to rethink.

So what exactly are Faggots & Savoury Ducks? Faggots and Savoury Ducks are a combined ball of minced fatty pork, pigs liver, heart and lungs, bound together with breadcrumbs or oats and seasoned with herbs, onions and carrots. These balls of meat are usually covered with pigs caul and roasted together in a pan, and then traditionally served with gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.

Now before you dismiss the idea as disgusting, or can’t stand the thought of eating the internal organs of a pig, I will start by showing you the finished product, and will promise you that the delicious end result will not taste anything like you are imagining!

Savoury Ducks In Gravy ( Image Attrib: Mike@Flickr}

Faggots or Savoury Ducks?

There is some confusion over whether these delicasies are called ‘Faggots’ or ‘Savoury Ducks’. Now it does get a little confusing because every butcher that produces these, will use their own ‘secret’ recipe, which will be a variation on the commonly used ingredients.

In some areas of the UK, they will be reffered to as ‘Faggots’ and other areas ‘Savoury Ducks’, however, I have it on good authority that faggots are made using the pork, offal, breadcrumbs and seasonings, and that savoury ducks have the addition of carrots and onions into the faggot recipe.

Now as I have mentioned, every butcher will use a different recipe, and so some will add no vegetables, some will add just onions, some will add onions and carrots etc. Then there are the seasonings – some will use a variety of seasonings such as sage, pepper, salt, nutmeg, thyme, and others will use a simpler version with perhaps just salt, pepper and sage.

When all is said and done, there will be some die hard connoisseurs that will regard one from the other, and will frown upon those that blur the lines. However, it is fair to say that if you see either ‘Faggots’ or ‘Savoury Ducks’ in a butchers shop or on a menu, then you can be confident that they will be similar to each other with just subtle differences to the recipe being used.

A Long Time Cheap But Filling Meal

Savoury ducks and faggots were developed during a time of poverty and famine, as a way to use less desireable, and therefore cheaper parts of the pig. There has been mention of them in newpaper articles dating back to the 1840’s.

Housewives who needed to prepare a hot meal for their working husbands, but had little money to purchase food, would go to the butchers and ask for any offcuts / scraps or parts that were difficult for the butcher to sell. Basically, the parts that would likely end up in the bin. Invariably they ended up with fatty bits of pork and the internal organs.

They then set about adding flavours and binders to these scraps in a bid to make a tasty and filling meal for the family.

Eventually, butchers began to make their own versions and cook them so that the housewives only needed to take them home and reheat them with gravy.

Many traditional independent butchers around the UK are still producing them today.

How To Make Faggots & Savoury Ducks

Here is a basic Faggot recipe that can be used to form the basis of your homemade delights, however feel free to omit or add more of any seasoning ingredients. The beuty of these is that you can adjust to your liking with each batch you make until you have your own ‘secret’ recipe.

2 lb. chopped pig’s liver, heart & Lungs *
1 lb. minced fatty pork belly

2 medium onions chopped
1 Tbsp powdered sage
1/2 tsp of thyme
1/2 tsp of basil
Salt and pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 egg

Pig’s caul**

* You can use just liver if you prefer

** Caul can be hard to get hold of and can be ommited


  1. Mince the liver, heart, lungs, pork and onions through a course plate of your meat grinder.

2. Add the seasonings, breadcrumbs and egg and mix thoroughly to bind ingredients together.

3. Shape the mixture into palm sized balls.

4. Wrap each balls individually with caul fat (if you have enough) or lay the caul fat over the top of the faggots once they are in the roasting pan. Ensure the faggots are packed tightly together in the pan.

5. Cook uncovered in 180oC/350oF oven for approx 1hr – 1hr 15mins.

Serve with mashed potatoes, peas and onion gravy.

For Savoury Ducks you can add 2 carrots to the recipe and mince them with the other ingredients.

Here is an excellent video showing the whole process by artisan butcher Scott Rea

Try REAL Faggots NOT Mr Brain’s Faggots!

In the UK there is a famous brand of commercially made faggots known as Mr Brain’s Faggots.

Although many people have a fondness for these, they are NOT nearly as delicious and well made as a ‘real’ butchers offerings.

Buy From Independent Butchers Rather Than Commercial Made Faggots!

If you are inclined to give faggots a try for the first time and really don’t fancy making them from scratch yourself, PLEASE make sure that you purchase some from an independent butchers shop that make their own, to see how faggots really should taste.

If you can get your mind past what they are made of, I believe you will be truly rewarded with a wonderful culinary experience by giving these beautiful, underated delicacy as try.

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

To find out more about the different meat cuts from a pig, we have a full breakdown article here: All The Cuts of Pork Explained