Packaged meat give us the comfort of ready-to-fry that is different from sourcing, cleaning, chopping, and cooking raw meat. Sausage is a processed meat and requires minimal work before going to the plate. But you need to know how to tell if sausage is cooked to confirm the meat is ready to eat.
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Before the deep dive
First-time sausage consumers should know that beef, pork, or poultry are different meat options when buying sausages. The processing of the meat incorporates spices and seasonings to give you impeccable taste. It typically comes with a tube that holds its tubular shape during cooking.
‘Sausage’ originated from the Latin word ‘Salsus,’ which means salted. It also confirms that sausages are originally from Europe and eventually became popular worldwide.
Sausages are famous in nearly every different kind of cuisine across the globe. Each of them has different flavors and is made with different ingredients. You can bake, grill, broil or fry sausages.
Different types of sausages
Sausages come in different kinds of flavors and types. People from different countries prefer certain types of sausages. Here are some of the popular examples:
Breakfast sausages are perfect for a Sunday morning meal. These are usually made with pork and seasoned with black pepper, sage, or thyme.
Summer sausages are made with pork or ground beef. These are the most convenient ones when it comes to packing them with you for eating later.
Chorizo sausages are spicy ones originating from Mexico. Different seasonings such as black pepper, paprika, oregano, or garlic go into these sausages. These sausages can either be fresh or cured and add a unique flavor to different recipes.
Andouille sausages are spicy smoked sausages originally from New Orleans, USA. These are Cajun-style sausages seasoned with thyme, paprika, and chili flakes.
Kielbasa sausages are Polish sausages made of pork, beef, or sometimes both. The seasonings include a generous amount of garlic, marjoram, and black pepper.
Bratwurst sausages are German sausages made from pork, beef, or veal. These are sometimes seasoned with ginger, coriander, or nutmeg. You can pan-fry these sausages or grill them as well.
Italian sausages are more common than you think. These are made from pork and seasoned with garlic, black pepper, or other spices. They can be spicy or medium-spicy depending on the type you choose.
Sausage varieties are served as standalone dishes, while some are used as pizza toppings, sandwiches, or stews. Vegan sausages have also become popular in recent years. This vegan sausage is made from tofu, soy, or seitan. This way, you will get the taste of traditional sausages even if you are a vegan.
Is it okay to eat sausages?
You must know the food you’re about to consume so you don’t fall ill.
Take a look at their nutritional value before you prepare sausages or add it to a recipe.
Sausages are full of protein and fat. Ground meats add protein to your body. If you need to work on your muscles, sausages can help you.
Sausages have iron, Vitamin B12, sodium, phosphorus, and fat. Your weight gain diet can include sausages once in a while. However, you need to be extra careful while consuming sausages full of sodium and fat.
Excess sodium is not good for blood pressure, while saturated fat can cause cholesterol and heart problems.
Deep frying requires a generous amount of oil making food unhealthy for our heart. You need to use as little oil as possible to make a dish good enough for your health. In that case, you should bake the sausages, or you can boil them as well.
When it comes to sausages, boiling them would be much easier. You just need to put them into boiling water and let them cook for around 10 minutes. After that, you can just fry them lightly using just a bit of olive oil.
You can also bake the sausages for a better taste. Preheat your oven to 355°F, then put the sausages into it for baking. Bake the sausages for around 20 to 40 minutes, depending on their sizes.
If you want your sausages as juicy as possible, boil them before baking. This won’t make them dry at all. But cooking correctly is key. Overcooked sausages are difficult to eat due to sogginess, while undercooked ones can cause food poisoning.
Once you know how to tell if sausage is cooked and you cook it the right way, you’re good to go!
Read the next sections with attention to avoid mishaps while cooking sausages.
How to tell if sausage is cooked
The thing about food is that you need to cook it right, or else you won’t get the perfect taste. People experiment with preparing different types of dishes just to enhance their taste. The same is true when it comes to sausages as well.
Some people don’t know when the sausages are ready. They overcook them, and as a result, the sausages dry up.
You need to make the texture right when it comes to meat. Any edible meat should be juicy and full of flavor, or there’s no point in eating it.
So, how to tell if a sausage is cooked?
You need to take the internal temperature of a sausage to determine if it is cooked. Most of the time, 160°F is enough to kill the sausage’s bacteria and make it healthy enough to eat. However, the temperature varies depending on what kind of sausage you use.
This article tells you about how to tell if sausage is cooked. But you also should know about the risks of eating undercooked sausages.
Risks of eating undercooked sausages
If the sausages are not prepared following proper technique, this can be fatal for certain individuals. This is why you need to be absolutely sure that the sausages are cooked properly.
Uncooked meat can cause many health problems. There’s a good chance of food poisoning if you eat raw sausages.
Raw meat includes bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli, or Listeria monocytogenes. These bacteria can trigger food born illnesses. You may also experience symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or dehydration.
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature
A meat thermometer is absolutely necessary when it comes to examining the internal temperature of sausages. You should keep a meat thermometer handy when preparing a recipe using sausages.
You just need to insert the thermometer inside the sausage and wait for the reading. However, the right temperature for the different types of sausages will differ.
Know the perfect temperature for different types of sausages
When it comes to fully cooked poultry meat sausages, the internal temperature should be 165°F. If they are made from beef, pork, or lamb, then the cooked temperature should be at 160°F.
In some cases, especially when the sausages are made with fish or seafood, the perfect temperature should be 160°F as well.
The thing is that sausages are made from ground meat which is a playground for bacteria if not cooked properly. So, make sure you cook them properly before eating. The more bacteria you destroy, the more healthy the sausages will be.
A thermometer is the best way to ensure you cook your sausages to perfection. Any other method that you might be used to check the readiness of your sausages is always secondary to the thermometer simply because of its accuracy.
How to tell if sausage is cooked without thermometer
Here’s another easy way how to tell if sausage is cooked. You need to know the signs of undercooked sausages, and the rest would be easy.
The internal parts of the sausages are important when it comes to raw sausages. Undercooked sausages will have a deep pink hue; an absolute red flag. Perfectly cooked ones would have brown, white, or gray from the insides.
Now, not all of us have a meat thermometer in our kitchen. In that case, how to tell if sausage is cooked?
Don’t worry! There are some ways to tell if a sausage is cooked without a meat thermometer.
Press on the sausage
Cooked sausages are firm and should not wither when you press on them. This is a good way of telling if a sausage is perfectly cooked.
Press on the sausages to feel their hardness. If they seem firm enough, then they are already cooked properly. If they are still soft, you must cook them for some time.
Cut the sausage in half
While you think that your sausages are cooked, it’s time to check if it’s still undercooked. Take a knife and fork to cut a sausage in half. Then look inside to see if it’s white or pale pink.
If you see that the inside is pale pink or white, then congratulations. Your sausages are perfectly cooked. However, if the insides of your sausages look deep pink or red, the sausages need more cooking.
Examine the sausage juices while cutting them
Do you know how to tell if sausage is cooked by its juice?
Just cut a piece from the sausages to check the juice. If the juice is thick, your sausage is ready; if the juice is thin, you need to cook further.
Once you feel they are done, cut them open to ensure the insides are brown and not pink. Since sausages are processed meat, they usually take a little time to get cooked. However, if you are the kind of person who dislikes undercooked meat, you can also boil the sausages.
Boiling the sausages ensures that they are already pre-cooked. Hence, you can simply pan-fry them for a few minutes before you serve them.
How would a perfectly cooked sausage ideally look?
As mentioned earlier, the best way to ascertain whether your sausages are cooked or not is to check the insides of the sausages.
All you have to do is cook the sausages as long as you deem fit. After this, shift the sausages to a plate and slice a piece or two open. The color on the insides will help you understand how cooked your sausages are.
To make your life easier, listed below are the various color combinations in which you might find the insides of the sausage. With this list, you can ensure how to tell if sausage is cooked.
Red and raw on the inside
If you are cooking red sausage on the inside before cooking, it needs to be cooked until brown. You can also cook this kind of sausage until it is pale pink. It is also important to note that beef or lamb are usually red on the inside. Hence, such sausages are mostly beef or lamb sausage. Thus, you should cook them for a little longer than chicken sausages.
Pink and raw on the inside
If the sausage you are cooking is pink from the inside, it is most likely chicken sausage. These sausages are usually easy to cook. All you need to do is fry it for 15-20 minutes to ensure it is perfectly cooked. However, since these sausages are already pink inside, they need to be cooked until they turn brown.
Pink and cured sausage
These sausages are usually treated with preservatives and chemicals. Hence, they are always pink in color. Even after cooking such sausages thoroughly, their internal color tends to remain unchanged.
How sausages are usually made?
While sausage is a regular part of breakfast in many parts of the world, its internal composition might vary.
Sausages are usually made by grinding meat into a fine paste. This paste is then spiced with salt, pepper, and other spices. Some sausages also contain herbs of various types. As far as the meat is concerned, sausages are usually made of lamb, chicken, or beef.
Out of the different types of meat listed above, it is the beef sausages that usually take the longest to get cooked. One of the best hacks is to boil the sausages for roughly twenty minutes, followed by frying them for 15-20 minutes.
An interesting fact you must note is that how you cook sausages can change their nutritional composition. Hence, it is important to know the ideal way to cook them.
Different ways of cooking sausages
Listed here are the different ways in which you can cook sausage. Since the meat is already ground into a fine paste, cooking it is usually simple. However, how you cook your sausages can also impact their taste. So the various ways are:
This is one of the most common ways of cooking sausages. Because of the speed at which the sausages get cooked, most people tend to prefer this way. However, it is not a healthy option because deep frying involves dipping the sausages completely in hot oil.
Most people wrap the sausage with egg wash, bread, or pastry material and then deep fry it. You can also cover the sausages with egg wash followed by bread crumbs. Since you deep fry the sausages, they end up tasting super crunchy. Deep-fried sausages are the perfect snack to go with your alcohol at a party or coffee at brunch.
If you want to look for a slightly healthy alternative to deep frying the sausages, you can always use coconut or olive, or castor oil instead of sunflower or refined oil.
Pan-fried and stir-fried sausages
This is the most common and preferred method of cooking breakfast sausages. It is usually done with chicken, beef, and lamb sausages. In the case of chicken sausages, it is usually advisable that you use a little butter. However, in the case of lamb and beef sausages, we suggest that you boil them and then fry them.
You can skip boiling and jump straight to stirring or pan-frying the sausages. In the case of lamb and beef, the best part is that you ideally cook or fry the sausages in their meat fat. This method doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.
One shortcut you can apply here to save time is to slit the sausages at various places before frying them. Also, if you are diet conscious and want to avoid butter, you can always go for the above-mentioned healthier options of oil.
This is the healthiest way to cook your sausages as it doesn’t involve the usage of oil at all. Also, if you like your sausages crispy, this is the best option.
All you need to do is preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. You can cut the sausages into small slices or place them whole on top of a baking pan. After this, bake them for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the sausages.
If they are big, the ideal duration would be 35-40 minutes. However, in the case of small-sized sausages, it will take only 20-25 minutes to bake the perfect and delicious sausages.
Boiling is another great option when you are cooking your sausages. Not only is it super easy, but it is also completely hassle-free. To top it all, boiled sausages are one of the healthiest food options in your diet.
All you need to do is take a pot of water and put it on the stove. Once the water starts boiling, put a pinch of salt, followed by the sausages. Ideally, you need to boil the sausages for around 15-30. However, the duration will also depend on whether the sausages are pre-cooked or completely raw.
Different ways to know your sausage is undercooked
Check the juices
This is a frequently used method. All you need to do is check the consistency and color of the juice that flows out of the sausages when you cut them open. Your sausages are perfectly cooked if the juices seem clean and transparent. However, if your sausage is undercooked, you will notice that it is not clear and instead has a pinkish streak to it.
Check the insides
This method has already been explained above. All you need to do is slice the sausage open and check if it has turned brown on the inside.
Touch the sausage: This is more of a simple hack but not an efficient way to check whether the sausages are cooked. You simply need to touch the sausages and check for tenderness. If they feel firm yet juicy, they have been cooked to perfection. If you feel they are too soft, you must know that it is undercooked and needs to be cooked for longer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is it safe to eat undercooked sausages?
No, it is not safe to eat undercooked sausage as it can lead to bacterial infections and even fatal diseases. You can also develop many foodborne diseases by eating undercooked sausages. Hence, it is best to use a meat thermometer while cooking the sausages.
2. How to tell sausage is cooked by looking at its color?
The color of the insides of the cooked sausage will depend entirely on the kind of meat it is composed of. In the case of beef and lamb sausages, they usually turn slightly pink once they are cooked. However, in the case of chicken sausages, they turn completely brown once cooked. This is how to tell if sausage is cooked.
3. Can sausages be pre-cooked?
Yes, sausages can be pre-cooked. To ascertain the same, you need to read the description on the packaging carefully. The advantage of using pre-cooked sausages is that they take less time to cook, thus saving you money, time, and energy!
4. Is it safe to eat packaged sausages before cooking?
It is important to remember that meat is not supposed to be consumed raw. Hence, you must always cook the sausage thoroughly first. Yes, skipping the cooking step can involve risks such as food poisoning, diarrhea, indigestion, and so on.
5. Is it possible for sausages to remain pink even when cooked?
Yes, it is easily possible for sausages to remain pink even after cooking. This usually happens in the case of beef and lamb sausages. As beef and lamb are naturally red from within, cooking them to perfection will only change their color to slightly or mildly pink.
6. Is it possible to overcook sausages?
By now, you know that cooking a sausage properly can be challenging. However, apart from undercooking, you can also overcook your sausages. One hack you can use is to ensure that you use a meat thermometer. When you poke the thermometer inside, the temperature should not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
While sausages are delicious, they can be pretty challenging to make. Of course, the job gets much easier when you are cooking poultry or chicken sausages.
However, considering it is the favorite breakfast component for most of us, we would rather cook it meticulously. Now that you know how to tell if sausage is cooked, it is time to cook it. Also, you can always refer to the various ways sausages can be cooked properly. All you have to do is don your apron and cook the most delectable sausages you can ever have!