A widely available variety at most UK butchers and supermarkets, the sausage is commonly dominated by the herb sage, rather than the more peppery flavour balance found in other regional English sausages such as the Cumberland sausage. Other herbs such as parsley and thyme are often used, although these are not considered authentic Lincolnshire sausages. Lincolnshire sausages are also characterised by their open, chunky texture, the result of the constituent pork being coarsely ground rather than minced.
Lincolnshire sausages are made with coarsely chopped or ground pork mixed with binders, seasonings and preservative. Traditionally, the dominant seasoning flavour has always been that of the herb sage, but some recipes include other herbs, such as parsley or thyme, and flavourings such as onion. Efforts to standardise and control the manufacture of Lincolnshire sausages have resulted in a proposed ingredients list to which future manufacturers of Lincolnshire sausages may have to adhere:
Unlike the Cumberland sausage, there is no standard width or length for a Lincolnshire sausage. Commonly, the variety is associated with a broader style, but Lincolnshire chipolata sausages are also widely available.
Some manufacturers produce meat-free sausages that use sage as the dominant flavouring and these are commonly sold as vegetarian Lincolnshire sausages.
In 2004, a group of 13 Lincolnshire butchers, led by the large sausage-producing firm of George Adams & Sons, began moves to protect the name of the Lincolnshire sausage, applying for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status under European Union law. In support of the PGI application, the Lincolnshire Sausage Association was formed in early 2006. Under these proposals, to qualify as a 'Lincolnshire' sausage, not only would a sausage have to be manufactured in the county, but it would also have to conform to the standard ingredient list, above.
In 2010, a group of Lincolnshire butchers introduced a voluntary 5 pence 'tax' in support of the PGI application, and to fund the fight against Lincolnshire sausages being manufactured elsewhere or making too much use of seasonings other than sage.
Every year, a competition is held in Lincoln to find the best Lincolnshire sausage.