Imagine pigs covered in blankets as part of your Christmas dinner. Well, what about a stag in a quilt, a chick in a blanket, or even a steaming dish of pig-in-blanket-flavoured macaroni cheese?

This year, everyone’s favourite trimming — mini pork sausage wrapped in bacon — has been given a radical makeover.

It’s no surprise that retailers are keen to capitalise on our liking for a PIB, which topped one poll of our favourite Christmas foods this month, and narrowly lost out to spuds and turkey in another. One-fourth of respondents said they would prefer PIBs over all other Christmas foods.

Tom Rawstorne (pictured) goes the whole hog for an exhaustive test of the best shop-bought pigs in blankets

Tom Rawstorne, (pictured) tests the blankets of the finest shop-bought porks.

Thought to have originated in Czechoslovakia or Germany, the earliest written record of pigs in blankets is in U.S. chef Betty Crocker’s Cooking For Kids, which was published in 1957. These pigs have been a Christmas staple for many years. However, you can now enjoy pork pimped with fruit glaze, or even versions that use chicken, venison, or chorizo.

And it’s not just the festive feast where they take centre stage — Britain’s supermarkets now top pizzas with them, wrap them in sushi rice as well as add them to macaroni cheese. And you can pick up packs of ‘special edition’ crisps and nuts infused with the flavour, too.

Here TOM RAWSTORNE goes the whole hog for an exhaustive test of the best shop-bought pigs in blankets — and the unlikely versions they have inspired . . .

PREMIUM PIGS

Tesco 8 Candy Cane Pigs in Blanket with Orange and Maple Glaze, £6, tesco.com

Tom said Tesco 8 Candy Cane Pigs in Blanket with Orange and Maple Glaze (pictured) has a pleasant, sticky sweetness with every bite

Tom said Tesco 8 Candy Cane Pigs in Blanket with Orange and Maple Glaze (pictured) has a pleasant, sticky sweetness with every bite 

This festive twist gets top marks for creativity. In reality, it’s nothing more than a normal pig in blanket with a kink in the neck! Every bite is sweetened with maple syrup and orange glaze. 3/5

Farmison Luxury Chestnut, Sage & Apricot Pigs in Blankets, £8.95, farmison.com

Ordered online from the foodies’ favourite butcher, these PIBs are the most expensive of the lot, costing an eye-watering 90p each. However, this PIB is of a higher quality than any other, having a better texture, less mush and subtle sweetness from the apricot. 5/5

M&S Our Best Ever Pigs in Blankets, £5, ocado.com

Tom said M&S Our Best Ever Pigs in Blankets (pictured) retain their moisture nicely during cooking and have a traditional taste

Tom said M&S Our Best Ever Pigs in Blankets (pictured) retain their moisture nicely during cooking and have a traditional taste

These plump little piggies retain their moisture nicely during cooking — possibly due to the pork stock that is mixed in with the prime cuts of pork that make up the sausage. Maple-cured streaky bacon is crispy and delivers a classic-tasting bite. 4/5

PIGS WITH A TWIST

M&S Chorizo Pigs in Blankets, £4.50, ocado.com

The sticky honey glaze is a sticky honey glaze you apply towards the end. Meaty and flavoursome, they taste great but are so salty you won’t manage more than a couple at a time. 3/5

Aldi 4 Pork & Apple Pigs in Beds, £3.99, aldi.co.uk

Tom said Aldi 4 Pork & Apple Pigs in Beds (picture) are fun, interestingly flavoured and substantial

Tom said Aldi 4 Pork & Apple Pigs in Beds (picture) are fun, interestingly flavoured and substantial

New for 2021 and ‘Best Pigs in Blankets’ at the Quality Food Awards, these chunky chaps feature bite-sized pork piglets in an apple and honey meat ‘bed’, nestled on cranberry ‘pillows’ and tucked up under a ‘blanket’ of smoked bacon. They are fun, interestingly flavoured and substantial — one per person would be more than enough. 4/5

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Truffle Flavoured Pigs in Blankets, £3.50, sainsburys.co.uk

To be expected, these tiny pigs are awash in a strong truffle aroma. But once cooked, that doesn’t really translate into a particularly distinctive taste. This is a great Christmas table conversation piece. 2/5

Aldi Specially Selected Stags in Quilts, £2.49, aldi.co.uk

This is a mixture of British wildvenison and pork. It is more tender, sweeter and more difficult to chew. So, gamey —but not a game-changer. 2/5

Tesco Chicks in Blankets, £2.25, tesco.com

Tom said Tesco Chicks in Blankets (pictured) look the part, but are dry and tasteless

Tom said Tesco Chicks in Blankets (pictured) look the part, but are dry and tasteless 

Chicken may be our most-consumed meat, but it simply doesn’t deserve a place in festive bangers. While they come out of the oven looking the part, they are dry and tasteless — and would bring precious little cheer to your meal. 1/5

Harry Ramsden’s Battered Pigs in Blankets, £3.50, iceland.co.uk

If you’ve ever found yourself yearning for a battered saveloy on Christmas Day, then here’s your answer. While you can’t really taste the bacon wrapped around the pink, batter-encased sausage meat, the end result has a fish and chip shop flourish. The result is nothing short of spectacular! 3/5

Sainsbury’s Pigs in Blankets Mac & Cheese Snack Pot, £1, sainsburys.co.uk

Tom said Sainsbury¿s Pigs in Blankets Mac & Cheese Snack Pot (pictured) smells unpleasantly of cheese and had crunchy bits amid the goo

Tom said Sainsbury’s Pigs in Blankets Mac & Cheese Snack Pot (pictured) smells unpleasantly of cheese and had crunchy bits amid the goo

A pot of dried pasta in a cheese sauce with a pigs in blanket flavour — just add boiling water and leave to stand for five minutes. Place in the garbage! It smells strong and strongly of cheese, and there are still crunchy bits in the soup after all the time. 0/5

PIGS PLUS

ASDA 30 Pigs in Blankets Flavour Battered Chicken Nuggets, £2, asda.com

These ‘limited edition’ battered chicken nuggets emerge from the packet looking as orange as Donald Trump. These nuggets are crispy when they’re baked, but their PIB flavor makes them taste more like a Frazzle-filled chicken crisp. 1/5

Iceland Luxury Filled Yorkshire Pudding: Pigs in Blankets, Mac ’n’ Cheese, £3, iceland.co.uk

Tom said Iceland Luxury Filled Yorkshire Pudding: Pigs in Blankets, Mac ¿n¿ Cheese (pictured) are delicious

Tom said Iceland Luxury Filled Yorkshire Pudding: Pigs in Blankets, Mac ’n’ Cheese (pictured) are delicious 

The pigs wrapped in blankets is not for everyone. However, they are very tasty and the amount of cheese, macaroni, and yorkshire pudding are overwhelming. After the meal, you will likely need to lay down. 3/5

Aldi Specially Selected Festive Pigs In Blankets Sourdough Pizza, £3.49, aldi.co.uk

The pizza looks impressive and is finished with chicken in blankets, turkey and garlic, herb crumb and creamy mozzarella. While the salty pork tastes great, however, the round PIBs can sometimes get lost in the process of cooking. 4/5

BETWEEN MEALS…

Sainsbury’s Pigs in Snowy Blankets Dragon Sushi Roll, £3, sainsburys.co.uk

Tom said Sainsbury¿s Pigs in Snowy Blankets Dragon Sushi Roll (pictured) has a nice cranberry flavour but the rice is dry and chewy

Tom said Sainsbury’s Pigs in Snowy Blankets Dragon Sushi Roll (pictured) has a nice cranberry flavour but the rice is dry and chewy 

For those who can’t get past lunchtime without yearning for their PIB hit, these snacks may be the answer. These little rolls are made from sausage, bacon and cranberry sauce. They’re rolled in rice and served with sweet chilli sauce and crispy onions. While the cranberry taste is very evident in this dish, the rice itself is crunchy and dry. 3/5

Tesco Finest 6 Pigs in Blankets in Yorkshire Puddings, £5, tesco.com

Forget toad in the hole — it’s Christmas, so this mini Yorkshire pudding is filled with a bacon-wrapped piggy. These are beautifully presented and could be served as canapes, even though they may seem dry after being cooked. 4/5

Tesco Finest Crinkle Cut Pigs with Blankets Crisps,90p, tesco.com

Tom said Tesco Finest Crinkle Cut Pigs in Blankets Crisps (pictured) have little to suggest the flavour is pigs in blankets

Tom said Tesco Finest Crinkle Cut Pigs in Blankets Crisps (pictured) have little to suggest the flavour is pigs in blankets

A substantial, crinkly crisp, but in a blind tasting there’s little to suggest the flavour is pigs in blankets. A general, smoky flavor. 2/5

Iceland Crunch Time Crispy Coated Peanuts Pigs in Blankets Smoky Bacon and Sausage Flavour, £1, iceland.co.uk

Every nut comes with a crisp coating. The flavour of the product is difficult to pinpoint, but it is impossible to deny the fact that the nuts are coated in a crispy coating. If life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, a similar sentiment must surely apply to peanuts. 1/5

Mackie’s of Scotland Pigs in Blankets Festive Flavour Potato Crisps, £1, iceland.co.uk

Although these crisps were full of flavour, they didn’t have any bacon flavor. 2/5