Sausages are tasty, but unless they’re cooked properly, the results can be less than awesome. Cooking a sausage is no different than cooking a steak, if you rush, you’ll be disappointed, but if you take the care and the time, the results will be amazing, and you’ll get to fully enjoy the flavour and texture, the way your butcher intended. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, get yourself one. In fact, get a few different kinds. It’s worth the investment. Once you’ve got your trusty thermometer, and a sharp knife to cut them with, here are a few ways that you can ensure your sausage is cooked successfully.
A fan favourite method as it gives the taste of the grill, reminiscent of camping and cooking over the firepit. Rushing the process is the biggest mistake to this method, so follow these instructions and remain patient. Crack a beer, it helps.
1. Preheat the BBQ to medium heat.
2. Lightly brush the grill and the outside of the sausage with oil to prevent sticking. If the sausages sticks to the grill, the casing can tear and all the delicious fat that keeps your sausage flavourful and moist can flow out. Nobody wants that.
3. Watch the sausage cook, if there is a lot of fat dripping, your grill is too hot, turn it down to medium low and continue.
4. Flip your sausage over and continue cooking on the second side. Remember, don’t rush. You can determine when the sausage is done either with a thermometer, or by doing a pressure test. It should be firm to the touch, but not shriveled.
5. Don’t cut into the sausage to determine if it’s done, if it isn’t you’ll lose all the juices inside that keep it moist. A meat thermometer is your friend here.
This may not be everyone’s immediate go to method, but that might change once you’ve tried it once. This is an excellent way to cook a sausage while ensuring that it maintains its juiciness. It’s also a great way to cook for a crowd. You can poach sausages in batches, refrigerated them until just before dinner, then pop them on the grill or the fry pan to reheat with ease.
1. Determine your cooking liquid. Water is fine, but it doesn’t impart any flavour. Beer works great, wine and stock are good options as well, so are things like apple cider or canned tomatoes. Toss in some veggies if you want as well, like onions, garlic and celery to really add some flavour. Put your cooking liquid in pot big enough for the liquid and sausages and bring to a boil
2. Add your sausages and leave on heat until the liquid returns to a simmer
3. Cover your pot, remove from the heat source and let stand until the internal temperature of your sausages reaches the desired level. The best method for this is with a probe thermometer, as you don’t have to lift the lid and remove the trapped heat to see what temperature things are at.
4. Remove the sausages and let stand for 10 minutes. You can then enjoy them, or refrigerate them for a later time.
5. If refrigerating them, chill them in an ice bath before putting in the fridge, as it brings them down to temperature quickly.
COOKING IN THE FRYING PAN
By far one of the easiest methods to do, and my go to when the weather isn’t cooperating for the BBQ. Don’t forget to fire up your exhaust fan, whoever cleans the kitchen will be thankful for it.
1. Heat a pan over medium heat with a thin layer of cooking fat (pork lard, oil, butter). When the pan is hot, add the sausages.
2. Cook the sausages until they are brown on all sides, flipping gently when needed. Again, be patient and cook slow rather than turning up the heat and trying to rush the process.
3. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the sausage to determine if the sausages are fully cooked. Remember, don’t cut open the sausages to determine if they are done, it will contribute to a dry sausage.
CRUMBLING AND FRYING
Even easier than just pan frying as you don’t have to worry about the casings splitting open, and it’s easy to determine when the sausage is done.
1. Remove the sausage from the casing.
2. Heat a pan over medium heat with a thin layer of cooking fat (pork lard, oil, butter). When the pan is hot, add the sausages and break apart with a spatula.
3. Cook the crumbled sausage until the fat in the pan is clear. Then add to sauces, fondue, eggs, anything!
Thanks to Ryan Shannon at Urban Digs for sharing these great tips!