Grilling 101: The Perfect Sausage
When it comes to grilling great, delicious sausages, there are some rules that can help bring out the best in your grilling experience. Even though there are hundreds of ways to prepare sausage, following these simple steps will prep you for every sausage type that comes your way.
The following preparation methods for sausage will give you the desired results.
- Poach and Grill. Prepare your sausages over a medium heat. Do not boil! If you boil, you risk pushing out the essential juices and flavorful oils in the meat and spices. Poaching allows you to appropriately brown the exterior that develops great flavor, without overcooking.
- Low and Slow. If you plan to move your sausages straight to the grill, use indirect heat. Doing so can deliver the attributes of pre-poaching with the deep caramelization that results from dry-heat roasting.
- Butterfly It. This method works well with smoke/cooked style sausages. It allows you to achieve a unique level of textures on the surfaces. But don’t try this with fresh sausage. Doing so is as bad as piercing it with a fork.
Using thermometers can help in the grilling process. Measuring internal temperatures of your food gives you that confidence that your food is ready and safe to eat. Here are some things to remember about cooking temperatures.
- Sausage Temperature. The target cooked temperature of a raw sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and at a steady 160 degrees. Any higher temperature will cause the fat inside the sausage to melt and drip out producing a dry, less tasty sausage. There should be no pink color in the sausage.
- Carry-over Cooking. It’s best to remove the sausage from the grill at about 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature (for small portioned items like sausages). This is called “carryover cooking”. The heat that resides in the recently cooked item will continue to climb internally for a period of time after removing from the grill.
- Benefits of Resting. Let all grilled items rest in a warm spot for at least 10 minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute through the cooked protein. This will result in a much more flavorful and moist end product.
- Watch for Patterns. Proteins change shape, texture and color in predictable patterns based entirely upon fixed temperatures. By following internal temperature clues/codes you can consistently serve flavorful and safe food to your friends and/or guests.
With these tips on grilling the perfect sausage, not only will you cook better food for your friends and family, you will also gain better piece of mind and confidence in your cooking skills.