Cooking kielbasa or Polish sausage is a quick and straightforward process that allows you to get a tasty meal on the table in under 30 minutes. A kielbasa sausage is a combination of pork and beef mixed with garlic and marjoram spice that's generally served on a bun or with a side of sauerkraut.
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If you boil or bake kielbasa or char it on the grill, to prevent foodborne illness, uncooked sausages that are made with ground beef, pork, lamb or veal need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Use a food thermometer to check the doneness of your kielbasa.
How to Boil Kielbasa
Things You'll Need
Boiling kielbasa is one of the simplest ways to prepare it. It doesn't require extra ingredients and it takes just a few minutes to do.
According to Srodek, a manufacturer of kielbasa sausage, all you have to do is heat a pot of cold water until boiling, then put the kielbasa in and boil for 10 minutes on medium heat. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
How to Bake Kielbasa in the Oven
Things You'll Need
If you're looking for another way to cook kielbasa, Rob Levitt, head butcher and chef at Publican Quality Meats, says you can bake kielbasa until hot and crispy.
For the best results, kielbasa needs a short period of poaching on the stovetop. This helps the kielbasa cook throughout without becoming overly browned when baked in the oven. Cooked kielbasa works well on its own, in a sandwich or mixed in with potatoes and vegetables. Here's how to bake kielbasa:
1. Boil Some Water
Fill a stockpot large enough to hold the kielbasa with beef stock or water. Heat the pot of stock or water to just boiling.
2. Add the Sausage
Adjust the heat of the burner so the beef stock or water maintains a simmer. Add the kielbasa ring to the water, allowing it to cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the Oven
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare the Sausage for Baking
Lift the kielbasa out of the stockpot and place it into a roasting pan. Scoop out 1 to 2 cups of the liquid used in the stockpot, pouring it over the kielbasa in the roasting pan.
Add chopped onions and celery to help flavor the kielbasa. Sprinkle the sausage with dry seasonings of your choice, such as garlic or red pepper flakes for additional flavor.
5. Bake the Kielbasa
Roast the kielbasa in the oven. Cook the sausage for about 20 minutes until it is crisp and the skin just begins to crack.
6. Remove From the Oven and Serve
Transfer the roasted kielbasa to a serving tray. Slice it into 1/2-inch slices and serve alongside some vegetables for a well-rounded meal.
How to Grill Kielbasa
Things You'll Need
Bun, mustard and onions (optional)
If you want to grill kielbasa, just place it on a hot grill for 4 to 6 minutes. Flip to the other side and grill for another 4 to 6 minutes. Check the temperature before serving.
Once the kielbasa sausage is done cooking on the grill, Levitt recommends putting it on a bun with some mustard and sautéed onions.
Kielbasa With Saurkraut
Another way to prepare this Polish-inspired dish is to brown it quickly in a frying pan on the stove, and then put it in a pot with onions, sauerkraut and a splash of beer, and let it simmer together until everything is hot and delicious, Levitt says. Serve it with some rye bread or a soft pretzel and plenty of mustard.
While a juicy kielbasa may taste delicious, it’s a good idea to eat this fatty meat in moderation. A 3-ounce serving of kielbasa, grilled has 286 calories, 25 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbs, according to the USDA.
If you’re looking for a sausage with less fat, consider a lean chicken or turkey sausage.
Storing Kielbasa Safely
Once your meal is complete, any leftover kielbasa sausage needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The key to keeping it free of bacteria is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a container with an airtight lid and store it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking kielbasa, according to the FDA.
The clock starts ticking as soon as you put the sausage in the refrigerator. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says perishable food can stay in the refrigerator for three to four days before you need to eat the leftovers or toss them out.
To make it last longer, you can also store cooked kielbasa sausage in the freezer for two to three months. But if you haven't cooked it, make sure it only stays in the freezer for one to two months.
If you plan on eating leftovers, the American Academy of Dietetics says to reheat leftovers to 165 F to ensure proper food safety. Using a microwave or reheating in the oven are both common ways to reheat leftover kielbasa. Before serving, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Sausages and Food Safety"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Kielbasa, Fully Cooked, Grilled"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Game Day Food Safety Tips"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Tips for Reheating Leftovers"
- Publican Quality Meats: "Rob Levitt, Head Butcher and Chef: Personal Interview"
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Are You Storing Food Safely?"
- Srodek: Kielbasa Cooking Instructions