When I don’t know what to cook for dinner, I always head to the grocery store or butcher shop and buy a package of sausages. They are filling and they can be quite tasty if you choose the right cooking method.
Since there are quite a lot of cooking methods when it comes to sausages, sometimes it is not easy to choose the preferred one.
But, that’s not the only problem. Knowing how to properly cook your sausage and not fall into the trap of undercooking is also a challenge.
From there, the main question arises “How to tell if sausage is cooked?”. Here, I will just say that there are three great ways to do that. One of them is by using a meat thermometer and the other two methods do not rely on the use of a thermometer.
Let’s see what that means in more detail.
How To Tell If Sausage Is Cooked?
The best way to know whether your sausage is done or not is by using a thermometer and checking its internal temperature. However, many home cooks don’t have one and therefore they don’t know what to do.
Fortunately, there are two ways to check cooked sausage and I explained them below.
How Can You Tell If It Is Cooked By Using A Thermometer?
I will start with the best method that answers the question “How to know when sausage is done?”. It is the simplest and, at the same time, best method in which you have to use your meat thermometer.
So, what do you have to do? Well, simply take your thermometer and stick the tube 1/2 an inch into the small hole at the end of the sausage. Wait for a few seconds until the thermometer reads the temperature.
When it is done, the temperature on the screen of the thermometer should be between 160-165 degrees F. The best internal temperature of the sausage depends on the type of sausage.
If you are cooking pork sausage, lamb sausage, chicken sausage, or beef sausage, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees F, according to the USDA’s recommendation for cooking ground meat. (Sausages are considered a type of meat product made from ground meat.)
On the other hand, if you are checking the internal temperature of turkey sausage, poultry sausage, game sausage, or wild fowl sausage, it should be 165 degrees F.
How To Tell If Sausage Is Cooked Without A Thermometer?
Checking the doneness of cooked sausage without a meat thermometer is not as simple as with a thermometer, but it is not hard either.
Actually, there are two quite simple ways to tell if your sausage is properly cooked without having to use a thermometer.
1. Firm Sausage And Clear Juices
Firm sausage and the clear juices that it produces are clear signs of a properly cooked sausage. In order to check that, simply pick up a sausage from the baking sheet by using tongs and hold it in the air for a second or two.
If it mostly stands up, i.e. if it doesn’t bend too much, then it is firm and that means it is properly cooked.
Also, while you are holding it in the air, check the juices on the baking sheet. If those juices are clear and not pink in color anymore, then your sausage is perfectly cooked.
2. Brown Or Taupe Cooked Sausage Inside
Another clear sign of sausage doneness is the color of the sausage meat. In order to check the color of the sausage meat, cut it in half by using a knife.
You can do this if you are planning to use your sausage in some kind of casserole or sausage gravy.
If you want your sausage to remain whole, you can just cut off a little piece at the end of the sausage. If you notice a taupe color or brown color of the meat, then your sausage is done.
On the other hand, if you see a pink color or if you notice that the meat is still red, your sausage is undercooked and not ready for consumption yet.
Can Sausage Be Pink?
One of the most frequently asked questions about sausage and cooking sausage is related to its color and that is quite logical since the color is quite an important factor in determining sausage doneness after the cooking process.
Many people dealing with sausages are wondering if it is okay if the sausage is slightly pink.
Cured sausages are treated with nitrites and that causes the meat to be pink. That same meat can remain pink even if you cook the sausage properly.
If you are dealing with cured sausage, pink meat definitely isn’t a problem.
If you are cooking beef sausage, the slightly pink color of the meat is totally okay because that type of sausage is processed a little bit differently than other types of sausage.
Also, it is perfectly fine if pork sausage or other types of sausages like saveloy sausage and ground breakfast sausage have a light reddish-pink color after the cooking process.
The only problem is when the meat is predominantly red or pink. In that case, the sausage is undercooked and not suitable for consumption because it can cause unwanted food poisoning or food-borne illness.
Can You Prick Or Cut Up The Sausage Before The Cooking Process?
The answer to this question is quite controversial among the folks in the world of sausage cooking. The main reason is the fact that there are a lot of answers to this question.
Some believe that it is a great thing to cut up or prick sausage in several spots in order to let the steam out, which will ultimately prevent the casings from bursting. Others believe that this can speed up the cooking process.
However, the fact is that you will probably see moisture, fat, and runny juices dripping from your sausage. And that means that your sausage won’t be nearly as juicy and delicious after the cooking process.
Because of that, I would suggest you cook your sausage slowly at low to medium heat because that definitely won’t cause the bursting of sausage skin and it will definitely assure that your sausage is flavorful and juicy after the cooking process.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Sausage?
As I already said, the best way to cook sausage is to cook it slowly and avoid high heat to prevent it from burning and drying out. However, you have to know that there are a few good cooking methods for sausage and they are listed and discussed below.
1. Boiling Sausage
Boiling is probably the easiest method to cook your sausages. All you need is a few sausages and a pot of boiling water. You can either only boil the sausages or you can first boil them and then use another cooking process like frying or grilling.
Let’s take a look at the steps.
• You first need to boil a pot of water on high heat on a stovetop.
• After the water has started boiling, you can put your sausages in and turn the heat down to medium.
• Cook the sausages for about 30 minutes.
• After those 30 minutes, you can either start consuming them immediately or you can pan-fry or grill them for some extra flavor and a crispy texture.
2. Grill Sausage
If you are a fan of grilling, you would know that there is no better food for that process than sausage. You can achieve the perfect golden brown sausage that is very flavourful and juicy and a little bit crispy on the outside.
• First, it is best to poach your sausages before grilling if you want to achieve even cooking. All you have to do is to put the sausages in a saucepan, cover them with water, and cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
• After they have reached the wanted internal temperature, it is time to transfer them onto the grill and grill them on high heat until they reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F, based on the type of sausage.
The cooking time is 5 minutes.
After that time frame, your sausage should be perfectly cooked.
3. Pan-Frying Sausage
Pan-frying or stir-frying is also one of the common methods of cooking sausages. You can fry sausages in a non-stick pan without any oil or in a regular skillet with some cooking oil.
My recommendation is to cook your sausages in a regular skillet because non-stick and ceramic pans won’t brown the sausage that well.
• First, if your sausages have been sitting in the fridge, it is best to let them stay at room temperature for a couple of minutes because cold sausages won’t cook evenly in the skillet.
• Your next task is to add some type of cooking oil in the skillet and preheat it a little bit.
• When the surface of the skillet is ready, i.e. when you are sure that your sausages won’t stick to the surface, you can add them and cook them for about 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown in color.
• Serve the sausage and enjoy.
4. Deep-Frying Sausage
Yes, you heard me right, you can deep-fry sausages as well. It is a process in which you add your sausages to hot fat or oil to fry. It is not quite healthy, but hey, it can be really yummy. Here are the steps you need to go through.
• You first need to combine the mix with eggs, milk, and cream. If you don’t have milk or if you don’t want to use it, you can use water instead.
• After you prepare the egg wash, it is time to bread your sausages and dip them in an egg wash.
• After they have soaked sufficiently in the egg wash, you can remove your sausages from there and coat them with breadcrumbs.
• Leave the properly coated sausages on a baking sheet and prepare your preferred oil in a deep fryer or a deep pan.
In order to do that, you will have to add some cooking oil to the deep fryer and heat it to 375 degrees F.
If you are more prone to healthy eating, you can use a healthy oil like olive oil.
• After adding and heating the oil in a deep fryer, you can finally fry the sausages in it. Sausages need about 5 minutes to deep-fry successfully.
5. Baking Sausage
If you want to bake your sausages you will need an oven. The good news is that your oven-roasted sausages don’t need any preparation. You just need to walk through the baking process in the oven properly.
• You first need to prepare your oven. In order to do that, it is important to preheat the oven to 374 degrees F. That is the best oven temperature for sausages.
• While your oven is busy heating, your task is to prepare a roasting pan by lining the inside of the pan with some foil (to prevent the drips from falling) and pouring one tablespoon of olive oil on it to help your sausage not stick to the pan.
• After both the oven and roasting pan are ready, you are free to put your sausages on the oily pan and flip them over to cover them in oil.
• Put the pan with the sausages into the oven and let them cook for about 20-25 minutes. If you are not sure if they are cooked properly, check their internal temperature by using a thermometer or use one of the two other methods explained above.
How To Tell If Italian Sausage Is Cooked?
Just like with any other type of sausage, you can check if your Italian sausage is done by checking its internal temperature. Since almost every Italian sausage is made from pork, the right internal temperature of cooked Italian sausage is 160 degrees F.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, it is best to slice your Italian sausage in half and check if the inside is bloody or pink. If it is, your sausage is not ready yet. However, if the juices are clear, that is a sign of properly cooked Italian sausage.
What Happens If You Eat Slightly Undercooked Sausage?
If you eat undercooked sausage, it can lead to food poisoning or some kind of foodborne illness since sausages that are not properly cooked contain harmful bacteria.
Final Verdict On Cooked Sausages Doneness
All in all, you could have concluded by reading this article that it isn’t a good thing to eat undercooked sausages because undercooked and raw sausages contain harmful bacteria that can be dangerous to your health.
So, the question was “How to tell if sausage is cooked?”. To sum it up, the best way to know if your sausage is properly cooked is to check its internal temperature by using a meat thermometer.
Its internal temperature needs to be somewhere between 160-165 degrees F based on the type.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check if it is firm enough and if its inside is brown or taupe in color.