Sausage is a staple food made from ground meat like pork, beef, or poultry. It can be cooked in several ways, including grilling, roasting, pan-frying, and boiling, and may also contain fillers such as breadcrumbs, spices, or grains.
While cooking sausages may seem a straightforward task, it is at the same time very tricky as your sausage may look crispy on the outside, but the inside may still be raw.
So, how do you tell if sausage is cooked?
The best method is to check the internal temperature of the sausage with a thermometer. Properly cooked sausages will have a temperature of 165°F for turkey and chicken sausages and 320°F for pork and beef. Another way to ascertain your sausage doneness is to slice through the meat.
This article discusses extensively the best cooking techniques for sausages and how to tell if sausage is cooked or not.
Ways to tell if sausage is cooked
Using a meat thermometer
Using a meat thermometer, insert the probe’s tip into the end of the link and wait some seconds to get a correct reading. The temperature should be between 70°C to 7°4C ( 160°F – 165°F) if the sausages are adequately done.
All the harmful bacteria have been removed from the sausage at this temperature, and your meat is thoroughly cooked. Try not to let the temperature of sausages get higher to avoid the fat melting away.
When using a meat thermometer, be sure not to pierce the casings on the sausages to prevent the juices in the meat from running out and the sausages from turning out dry and tough.
Without a thermometer
This method is only applicable to grilled, oven-roast, and pan-fried sausages.
- Cook the sausages until they are golden brown on all sides, turning them as you cook.
- Remove one of the sausages and cut it crosswise towards the end.
- If it is done, it will be firm and taupe-colored.
- If it is soft to touch, pink, or bloody on the inside, it is undercooked; leave it on the heat for some more time.
After removing the sausages from heat, rest them for about 3 minutes before serving. This will help ensure that all the juice stays inside the casing and does not dry out when you cut the sausage.
Why are my sausages undercooked?
If your sausages appear burnt or blackened but cold and raw at the center, you likely cooked them on overly high heat. Sausages are best cooked under low and slow heat.
You can pan-fry your sausage over medium heat and roast them in a 350°F (180°C) oven. This will ensure that the sausages are well cooked.
How to cook the perfect sausages
Pan-fry sausages on the stove
Pan-frying is a quick way to get your sausage done. We recommend using a thick-walled, heavy-bottomed skillet, carbon steel, or stainless steel frying pan.
- Grease the skillet with cooking oil and preheat for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. This step is necessary to prevent the sausages from sticking and keep their casings intact.
- Fry the sausages, turning them occasionally until they turn golden brown. If the oil in your pan emits excessive smoke or the sausages start to blacken immediately, adjust the knob on your stovetop; it’s a sign that you’re using too much heat. Sausages usually cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Next, check for their doneness with a meat thermometer or slice them.
Roast sausages in the oven
This is by far the easiest way to cook sausages.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F for 20 minutes. This will help your meat roast more evenly.
- Place the sausages on a pan with a wire rack. The rack will keep them from coming in contact with the bottom of the pan, ensuring browning on all sides.
- Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning them over to the other side. Avoid cutting the sausages to prevent the juice from flowing out, causing the meat to come out stiff.
On a charcoal grill:
- Light the charcoal and allow it to burn for 20-30 minutes.
- Next, lift the grates with your barbecue gloves and rake the charcoal to the left.
- Reinsert the grates, then cook your sausages over the right, coal-free side, with the lid off.
On a gas grill:
- Open the lids, set the burners to high, and light your gas grill. Afterward, close the lid and preheat for 15-20 minutes.
- Grease the grates with oil, with half of the burners off and the other half on high.
- Cook the sausages on indirect heat for about 5 minutes until they’ve reached the minimum internal temperature (or they look done).
Boil sausage in water
You can also cook sausages by boiling them.
- Fill a pot with water or other liquids like broth, wine, etc.
- You can add garlic, onions, or tomatoes to the cooking liquid for additional flavor.
- Once the liquid starts boiling, put the sausages into the liquid and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
What happens if you eat undercooked sausages?
You can get sick by eating raw or undercooked sausages.
Undercooked meats contain bacteria that may be harmful to the body. Thus, undercooked sausages mean your meat still contains a good amount of bacteria, which can cause several food-borne illnesses such as Trichinosis.
Symptoms associated with eating undercooked sausages include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, chills, and headaches.
What color should sausage be when cooked?
Properly cooked sausage has a remarkable golden brown or slightly grey color.
What does undercooked sausage taste like?
Undercooked sausage will be bland with a soft and gooey texture.
How can you tell if sausage is done without a thermometer?
Where you do not have a meat thermometer, slice the sausage to reach the center. Cooked sausage will be clear and firm at the center once cooked. If the juices are too runny, the sausage is likely still raw.
Now you have no excuse not to enjoy the delicious spicy taste of sausage! For the best flavor, opt for grilled or pan-fried sausages.