Sausages often contain different combinations of meat and spices. The way you cook them depends on the type of meat they're made with. Boiling sausage, as well as baking it, helps keep its fat content to a minimum.
These popular meat products can be grilled, broiled, baked or boiled. Always cook the sausages until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of meat.
How Are Sausages Made?
Sausage preparation depends largely on the kind of dish you're making, what kind of flavor you want and the type of meat you prefer. Most sausages are made using ground meat stuffed into a casing, according to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. While intestines are traditionally used as casings, synthetic imitations are common too.
Beef, pork and chicken are popular meats used in sausage. Spices can be mixed in with the prepared meat to add flavor as the sausage cooks. After you add seasonings, you are ready to cook the sausage.
Broiling, boiling, baking, frying and grilling are all ways to cook this popular meat product. Depending on your preferences, you can keep the casing on or cut it off and cook the ground meat, then add it to your dish. If you're eating sausage by itself, the casing is typically left on. This way, you can cook the sausage whole or slice it up.
Read more: Can You Eat Sausages on a Low-Carb Diet?
Baking, Frying or Boiling Sausage
To bake sausages, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Place them in a roasting pan and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over them. Then, place them in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the sausage, it might take up to an hour to bake fully through.
To test the temperature of sausage while it's cooking, you can pierce one with a fork. The juices that run out should be clear. If you cook the sausage cut in half, check the sliced middle. There shouldn't be any pink meat showing in the sausage once it's fully cooked.
You can also broil sausages in the oven. Turn your oven to the broil setting and place the sausages inside for 15 minutes or until their internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 degrees F, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Broiling uses a higher heat than baking, so check the sausages every few minutes to make sure they're not getting burned.
If you decide to pan-fry sausages, you can either leave them in the casing or open it up and fry the ground meat. If you leave it in the casing, cut a hole or slice the sausage into half-inch thick pieces. Put oil in the pan and place the slices on it evenly.
Cook the slices, turning occasionally, until both sides are golden brown. There shouldn't be any pink meat left inside. Your meal will be ready in about nine minutes.
Boiling sausage doesn't require extra oil, which helps reduce the amount of fat in your dish. Start by poking the sausages with a fork to create holes in the casing for the fat to leave. Put three cups of liquid, such as water or cider, in a pot. Set to boil.
Once the water is boiling, add the sausages. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, turning them periodically with tongs. Try to boil on low heat or an even simmer since high heat can make the sausages split open.
After boiling the sausages, you can transfer them to a grill for 10 minutes to finish cooking and make them crispy. Once you've finished cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure they have reached an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F, depending on the type of meat.
Read more: Can the Human Body Digest Red Meat?
Sausage Fat and Cancer Risk
Sausage, particularly when it's made from pork or beef, is high in fat. Red meat contains saturated fat, which can be dangerous to your health, warns the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Eating over 70 grams of red or processed meat per day may increase your risk of colon cancer, according to the United Kingdom's National Health Services.
A February 2016 review published in Environmental Research suggests that certain compounds formed during meat processing may contribute to cancer. In other words, carcinogens from the environment make their way into the meat and then into your body. Interestingly, researchers have found that cooking methods that release or remove fat from the meat may lower the levels of carcinogens.
If you want to eat sausage, opt for healthy cooking techniques. Grilling and boiling are two of the healthiest ways to prepare sausages because they help reduce the fat content. Frying sausages in a pan won't drain the excess fat, so it's best to avoid this method.
- Environmental Research: "Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat: What About Environmental Contaminants?"
- National Health Services: "Meat In Your Diet"
- Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: "How Sausage Is Made"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Facts About Saturated Fats"
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Charts"