5 Tips for Cooking and Grilling Sausages
Sausage is one of the most universal foods in existence. It is believed to have originated over 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia as a way to preserve meat and mentions of sausage appear in many historical documents including Homer's The Odyssey. Today, every culture, country, and ethnic group has at least one version of sausage. The meat has become wildly popular in America, where it's synonymous with grilling and is a staple of casual and celebratory meals alike.
Whether you prefer classic bratwurst-style sausages, bold pineapple hand-tied gourmet sausages, or something in between, there are some definitive do's and don'ts when it comes to how to cook and grill sausage.
“Fresh brats are often simmered in beer and paired with onions or sauerkraut. Wiesswurst is usually simmered in butter and browned in a skillet, then served with sauerkraut and our cheese buttons. Italian sausage can be grilled and added to marinara sauce with peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese – my personal favorite,” explained Anthony Holder, owner of Lakewood Meats & Sausage.
While it may be tempting, don't use a fork to turn sausages. You could very easily puncture their delicate casing, which releases all the flavorful juices and results in dry meat. Instead, gently turn sausages with tongs or a large spatula.
Slow and steady
Whether you're cooking your hand-tied gourmet sausages on a grill or indoors, always bring them up to room temperature first and use low, consistent heat. High heat causes the internal juices to boil faster than the meat is actually cooking, which can result in burst casings and unevenly cooked or dry sausages.
Think outside the grill
When you think about how to how to cook and grill sausage, your trusty barbecue probably comes to mind first – but that's not a hard-and-fast rule. If the weather isn't conducive to grilling, you don't have access to your grill, or you simply don't feel like grilling, you can use your stovetop or even your oven. Remember, the trick is to maintain an even, gentle heat. If you use the oven, roast sausages at 300-350°F and put them in while it's still preheating. On the stove, simmer sausages very gently, aiming for small bubbles over medium heat.
Simmer, then sear
Keeping with the theme of "slow and steady wins the race," it's a good idea to start by simmering sausages in a liquid of your choice – beer, broth, or even water – and then finishing them on the grill. This method allows the sausages to cook very gently but still be finished with that coveted sear. If you're cooking this way, be sure to add your sausages to the liquid in a cold pan, then simmer.
Start with high-quality sausage
Even if you're a bona fide grill master, the real secret behind how to cook and grill sausage is starting with excellent sausages. At Lakewood Meats & Sausage, we believe that doing things the old-school way leads to making the best hand-tied gourmet sausages. We still use wooden butcher blocks, we know our customers by name, and we don't cut corners – and we're still family-owned and operated over 50 years later. Stop by the shop Tuesday-Saturday, order online, or check out our recipes section for more tips on how to cook and grill sausage.