Sausages are made with a variety of meats and seasonings and encased in a skin. While people may argue over the best way to cook sausage, you can grill, boil, fry, bake or slow cook it. Cooking sausage on the stove is often the fastest way.
Safe Handling of Sausages
According to Clemson University, it's critical to pay attention to the packaging on the sausage products you buy, as some are ready to eat and some are not. The label will provide information about how to store the sausage, which varies depending on type.
For instance, fresh uncooked sausage can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days, and stored another one to two days after opening. It's safe in the freezer for one to two months. After it's been cooked, it is okay to store in the refrigerator for three to four days and in the freezer for two to three months.
For food safety, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if your sausage is made with beef, pork, veal or lamb, it should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're cooking chicken or turkey sausage, it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F.
Read more: Can You Eat Sausages on a Low-Carb Diet?
Cooking Sausage on the Stove
For many, the best way to cook sausage is in a pan on the stove. If you're not familiar with cooking raw sausage, however, it's easy to dry them out. Cooking sausage in a pan over high heat cooks them quickly, leading to a charred outside with cracked casing and a partially cooked inside.
To get a sausage that's moist and cooked through, yet crispy on the outside, you'll need to use a two-step cooking process that starts with water and finishes with a pan fry. Sausage prepared this way can be done in under 20 minutes.
Add the sausages to a large pan and fill it with enough water to just cover the sausages. Heat over medium-high heat, for about six to eight minutes, or until the water begins to gently simmer. Remove the sausages from the pan.
At this point, the sausages are cooked but are a little drab looking. Pan fry the sausage with a little oil to add some color and crispiness. You can leave the sausages whole, slice them half to crisp the interior or cut them into medallions. It's entirely up to your preference depending on the recipe you're following.
Because the sausages are already fully cooked, you won't need to pan fry the sausage long. Heat your oil over high heat and once it is shimmering, add the sausage. Sear for a minute or two and remove them from the pan to prevent them drying out.
Read more: What Are Uncured Hot Dogs?
Sausage in Your Diet
The best way to cook sausage will often depend on the type of sausage you're making. Because sausages have fat in them, which helps to hold them together, when you are cooking sausage in a pan, be careful of how much oil you use as this adds fat to the overall recipe.
USDA data shows that 1 ounce of beef sausage contains 115 calories, 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fat. Pork sausage contains 92 calories, 5 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat, while the USDA says that chicken sausage contains 67 calories, 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat per ounce.
Whether you're cooking sausage on the stove in a pan or boiling it, be aware that it's something that should be consumed in moderation. Processed meats like sausage are often high in sodium nitrate, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, may increase your risk of heart disease. As such, keep portion sizes small and opt for lean cuts of fresh meat.
- Clemson University: "Safe Handling of Sausages & Hot Dogs"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Charts"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Beef Sausage"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Pork Sausage"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Turkey or Chicken Sausage"
- Mayo Clinic: "Does the Sodium Nitrate in Processed Meat Increase My Risk of Heart Disease?"