Sausages are a staple of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Many different dishes feature these amazing foods, but it can often be a challenge to gauge when exactly a sausage has finished cooking.
An undercooked sausage may ruin the dish and the entire breakfast or dinner. Additionally, eating a sausage that is raw inside comes with serious health risks.
So, how do you tell if a sausage is cooked? Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the sausage. The internal temperature of properly cooked sausages is 160°F for pork and beef and 165°F for chicken or turkey sausages. You can also slice through the sausage to see if it is cooked or not.
In this article, we will tell you about the different cooking techniques for sausages. You will also learn how to tell if sausage is cooked or not with the help of a thermometer and without it.
The Problem Of Overcooked Or Undercooked Sausages
Sausages are many people’s favorite dishes. They come in a range of varieties and flavors. Additionally, sausages are versatile and pair nicely with many other ingredients, from eggs to different vegetables.
You can use sausages to make an array of dishes and serve them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Sausages are made with different types of ground meat—pork, beef, chicken, turkey, etc.
The meat is packed into a natural or synthetic casing. Depending on the variety, sausages can contain added ingredients, including breadcrumbs, various spices, and grains.
While cooking sausages doesn’t require a lot of time and may seem to be a rather easy task, it is at the same time very tricky as you never know what is under the charred skin.
The sausages may look appetizing and have nice-golden red skin, but you might bite into them to only find out that the meat inside is still raw and runny. But what is worse than an undercooked sausage is the overcooked one.
Some people cook the sausages for way too long to make sure they are cooked through. But they end up with dry and flavorless sausages.
To cook sausages to perfection, you need to learn about different cooking techniques and how to use them properly. You also need to know how to tell if sausage is cooked or not no matter what cooking method you have chosen.
Ways To Cook Sausages
There are many different ways of cooking sausages.
You should decide on the cooking method taking into account your preferences regarding the appearance and texture of the sausages, how much time you have, and how healthy you are trying to make the dish.
Here are the most popular methods for cooking sausages:
If you are not confident in your cooking skills, then this is the method to choose when you decide to cook sausages.
To boil the sausages, you only need a pot filled with water or some other liquid, e.g. broth, wine, or beer. You can add onions, garlic, or tomatoes to the cooking liquid to add more flavor to the sausages.
Once the liquid starts to boil, put the sausages into the liquid. Let the liquid simmer for around 30 minutes.
As boiling sausages doesn’t give them the crispy exterior most people like, some prefer giving them a charred look and crispy texture using a frying pan with a small amount of oil.
Pan-frying sausages means cooking them in a frying pan with oil or butter. This takes around 15 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the sausages. You should flip the sausages to give them a nice color on both sides.
You can also stir-fry sausages. When stir-frying food, you flip the ingredients continuously. Thus, the sausages get a beautiful all-around red color.
Deep frying sausages is an option too if you are not concerned about the calories.
Grilling is one of the most popular methods for cooking sausages. It usually takes around 10 minutes to grill a sausage.
When grilling sausages, you should keep turning them to get them nicely charred on all sides as well as cooked evenly from the inside.
Baking is a good way to cook a large number of sausages in a single batch. It does take a little longer for larger sausages to cook properly in the oven.
But oven-cooked sausages turn out healthier and the cooking process is relatively easy.
You should flip the sausages halfway through the cooking process to get them crispy on both sides.
How To Tell If A Sausage Is Cooked Through
To tell whether a sausage is properly cooked or not you’ll need a thermometer.
A food thermometer is a clever and handy investment that allows you to monitor the inner temperatures of food, including sausages. This tool also helps eliminate the risks of foodborne illnesses.
To check the doneness of sausages with the help of a thermometer you will need to insert the tip of the thermometer into the sausage, making sure to reach the center.
The internal temperature of pork and beef sausages should be 160°F. The internal temperature of chicken and turkey sausages should be slightly higher—165 °F.
This is when the sausages are properly cooked and safe for consumption.
Don’t let the internal temperature of sausages get higher as at higher temperatures the fat melts and drips away. This results in dry sausages versus juicy sausages cooked to perfection.
If you are worried about your sausages remaining raw in the center, you should try the simmer-and-sear cooking method.
For this method, you need to boil the sausages on medium heat for around 7 minutes. This step ensures that the sausages remain juicy and soft.
The second step that further cooks the sausages and gives them an appealing appearance is searing them in a greased pan. So, the simmer-and-sear cooking technique helps you cook sausages to perfection.
You can also remove the sausages from the casing, crumble them in a hot pan, and fry. This is a great cooking technique for sausages if you don’t have a thermometer at hand and need to be sure that the meat is properly cooked.
What Color Should Sausage Be When Cooked?
A perfectly cooked pork or beef sausage should have a deep red-pink color. Chicken or turkey sausages usually have a lighter reddish-pink color when cooked.
But what usually concerns most home cooks is what color a cooked sausage should be inside. Should it be pink?
Sausages are made with minced meat which makes them pink inside. Additionally, the meat is treated with salt. The latter makes the sausages retain their pink color even after cooking.
So, if you have cooked the sausages following the instructions they come with or you have checked their internal temperature using a thermometer, you can go ahead at eat them.
How To Tell If A Sausage Is Cooked Without a Thermometer
If you don’t have a thermometer, you will have to slice through the sausage to see if it is properly cooked or raw. If you cut the sausage and see that the juices are still too runny, then cook it for another few minutes.
Some sources recommend piercing the skin of the sausages to see if the juices are runny or not.
Don’t do this as you will lose all the moisture the encasing keeps inside the sausage without being able to properly detect the level of doneness of the sausage.
With time, you will develop a cook’s intuition as you continue making your favorite sausage dishes. You will learn how to tell if the sausage is cooked or not even without a thermometer.
How To Tell If A Sausage Is Cooked On A Grill
If you don’t have a thermometer, we recommend boiling the sausages for 10-15 minutes before grilling them. This technique will provide you with nicely cooked juicy sausages.
If you only grill the sausages, they may quickly get charred from the outside but stay cold and raw inside.
If you do prefer skipping the boiling step and grilling the sausages right away, take them out of the fridge 30 minutes in advance and let them come to room temperature before you grill them.
Slice one of the sausages to make sure the entire batch is properly cooked.
How To Tell If A Sausage Is Cooked In The Oven
When cooking sausages in the oven it is important to set the right oven temperature and leave the sausages in the oven long enough for them to cook through.
Pre-cooked sausages take no more than 30 minutes in the oven to cook while raw sausages need up to 1 hour.
Use a thermometer to determine whether the sausages are cooked through or slice one to see how it looks inside.
What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Sausages?
Undercooking sausages makes them taste weird. But more important than the off-putting flavor are the health risks connected with eating undercooked sausages.
Undercooked sausages may result in food poisoning caused by the bacteria and parasites in the meat. Trichinosis, for example, is a food-borne illness caused by raw or undercooked meat.
It is most commonly caused by raw or undercooked pork. The symptoms can include pain in the abdomen, headaches, and fever.
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