Tailgating 101: The Perfect Sausage
When it comes to grilling great, delicious sausages, there are some rules that need to be followed. Even though there are hundreds of ways to make a sausage, following these simple steps will prepare you for every sausage that comes your way.
The following methods of preparing sausage will always give you the desired results.
- Poach and Grill. Prepare your sausages over a medium heat. Do not boil! If you boil, you drive 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 want your sausages to go straight to the grill, use indirect heat. Doing this can gain the attributes of pre-poaching with the deep caramelization 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. Opening up a fresh sausage is as bad as stabbing it with a fork.
Using thermometers can also help in the grilling process. Measuring internal temperatures of your food gives you a reliable method of knowing when your food is ready. Here are some things to remember about cooking temperatures.
- Sausage Temperature. The target temperature of a raw sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat of the sausage should no longer be pink.
- Carryover 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 ten minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute through the cooked protein. This will result in a much more flavorful, 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 deliver 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. Without the fear of trial and error at the grill, you can spend more time enjoying yourself without having to hover over the grill.