Cooking Sausage to Perfection
Cooking Sausage to Perfection
Have you ever come home with a pound of your favorite sausage links, gone outside to throw them on the grill, and then cracked open a beer only to realize 5 minutes later that the pink and spicy insides were shockingly exploding out of both ends of the link? It’s an unsightly scene, and one that can really put a damper on the picture-perfect dinner you had in mind.
But the good news is, a scene such as that one won’t be making an appearance much longer.
Because your Bare Bones butchers want to ensure your experience goes swimmingly from meat counter to meal, we figured we’d offer a bit of insight on how to cook a sausage that’ll be social media-primed, if not completely cookbook-worthy.
CHECK OUT OUR SAUSAGE COOKING TIPS:
1. Start them on low indirect heat; finish them on high direct heat
Regardless of whether you’re planning to grill your links or cook them in a cast-iron skillet, it’s your safest bet to start them on low indirect heat first, before hitting the high heat second. So, what is indirect heat? When it comes to the grill, it basically means sausage social distancing. Instead of laying down a sausage directly atop a hot flame — which, in all fairness, is something we would recommend when cooking a steak — try setting your sausage away from the heat to cook slowly. This slow and steady method will prevent the casing from shrinking too quickly, thus forcing the interiors to explode out the ends.
When using a charcoal grill, dump the hot charcoal onto one side and then use the opposite side of the grill as the indirect heat source. When it comes to gas, set the heat to medium-low and then give those links their distance by starting them on the grill’s upper level. Once the sausage feels firm to the touch, like it’s cooked through, then you can transfer them into the direct heat to get those beautiful grill marks.
And if the rain ruins your grilling plans? Throw your sausages into a room-temp cast iron skillet and transfer to a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F and when it reaches temp, let the sausages continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and remove sausages from skillet. Rest sausages for about 10 minutes, and then crank up the heat on that cast iron skillet and sear the sausages until they have pretty color.
2. Let them rest!
Just like you’d do with a fresh-off-the-grill ribeye, you have to let sausages rest after coming off the heat. Think of the sausage fat like butter: when butter is hot and liquidy, you don’t want to touch it, much less eat it. But give it a few minutes to cool and it becomes a semi-solid, creamy and delicious substance. Sausage fat works the exact same way. Because high heat causes fat to liquify, allowing the sausages to cool before slicing or biting into them will ultimately keep all of that good, juicy flavor inside the casing and will also prevent any scalding hot dribbles from burning your chin. Let them cool for 5 minutes minimum, 10 if you can manage to wait that long.
2. Cook them straight from the fridge
Good news: although you do have to wait for your sausage to cool down once it’s come off the heat, you don’t have to wait for it to warm up to room temp before you cook it. Although some schools of thought suggest that steaks and chops, for example, should be brought to room temperature before hitting the heat, it turns out this myth that has been disproven! And in reality, it just isn’t necessary. Besides, letting any meat sit at room temperature for too long puts them into “the danger zone” of temperatures where bacteria is able to thrive. And while a whole muscle like a steak wouldn’t breed said bacteria as readily, a sausage, which is made of ground meat mixed with spices and other ingredients, would prove a much better breeding ground for that kind of thing. So just keep them cold until you’re ready to cook. Easy breezy.