How to Cook Sausage? Your Complete Cooking Guide

We love sausages.

Because they’re so deliciously meaty and hearty.

Because they’re versatile. We can serve them for a casual family dinner and for a grand holiday party. And they’ll be a scrumptious treat in both cases.

Because we can cook sausages at any time of the year. Be it a summer picnic or a winter barbeque, sausages will never let us down.

Unless we cook them in a wrong way.

Thin casing and generous meat filling make sausages tasty yet tricky. Thin casing may get burnt charcoal-black, while the filling remains uncooked. And that’s definitely what we don’t want to happen.

So, here’s the guide where you’ll find some helpful tips on how to cook raw sausage in the most successful and the least stressful way possible.

We’ll start with describing the specifics of all well-known cooking methods for sausage. Then, we’ll muse over the pairings a little bit. And finish with a nice recipe. Let’s move on!

Boiling

Boiling turns out the healthiest way of cooking sausage. But boiling can also be a sure pre-step to frying, grilling, or baking.

COOKWARE

Saucepan or pot and tongs.

  • Put the sausages into the saucepan and fill it with cold water so that the sausages are covered. Make sure the saucepan is large enough for the sausages to go in without bending.
  • Use the tongs to get the sausages out of the saucepan when they’re cooked.
HEAT Medium-high will be okay. Bring the water to a boil and let the sausages simmer.
TIME 10-30 minutes, depending on the size of the sausages.
NOTES
  • To flavor the meat, you may add some broth and even beer or wine to the water.
  • Boiling can be your cooking know-how if you or your dearest and nearest are following a diet.
  • Boiled sausages will be fried, grilled, or baked more evenly and faster, getting covered with a crispy crust but without burning.

Pan Frying

Pan frying is one of those sure ways to cook sausage where you get the robust meat delight with a delicate crust on it. Let’s see how to make it right.

COOKWARE

Pan or skillet, tongs, knife.

  • Place the sausages on the pan so that there’s some space between them and they aren’t touching.
  • Use the tongs to put the sausages into the hot oil, turn them onto the other side, and get them out of the pan.
  • Use the knife to cut one sausage and check if the center is cooked. It must be dark and firm.
HEAT High is best to heat the pan and oil. Then, reduce to medium-high or medium in order not to burn the sausages.
TIME 3-8 minutes per side, depending on the size of the sausages.
NOTES
  • You’ll need a tablespoon of oil, but not more, to grease the pan. The sausages are fatty guys, and they’ll release their own fats during frying.
  • To cook your dinner more quickly, fry the sausages cut lengthwise. So, frying will take less time.
  • Or you can add a cup of cool water into the pan and cover it with the lid. The steam inside will help cook the sausages more quickly and evenly.

Deep Frying

Deep frying or battering is a great way to turn casual pan-fried sausages into a creative, even fantastic, dish.

COOKWARE

Saucepan or deep fryer, plus skewers to manage battering more safely and conveniently.

HEAT Medium-high. If you use a deep fryer, 350°F-375°F will be good.
TIME Because you use the pre-cooked (pan-fried) sausages for battering, 3-5 minutes in total will be enough. The sausages should acquire a beautiful golden-brown crust.
NOTES
  • You can opt for a classic batter mix with whisked egg, flour or cream, and salt.
  • Also, you can experiment with flavors and upgrade the batter mix with some beer or spices like paprika, different peppers, garlic, cumin, and thyme.
  • Be careful when submerging the sausages completely into the hot oil. Better do it wearing the gloves.

Grilling

If you’re a BBQ aficionado, grilling is your best way to cook sausage. Here are some tips for you to grill like a pro and teach your guests how to do it right.

COOKWARE

Grill and tongs (you already know what for).

HEAT
  • Keep medium-high heat on the one side of the grill, and low heat on its other side.
  • First, cook the sausages on the hot side until they get brown-black, but not burnt.
  • Then, transfer the sausages to the low-heat side, so they cook through for some time more without burning, and remain warm until you serve them.
TIME
  • While on the hot side, 8-10 minutes in total, turning the sausages from time to time (1-2 minutes per side).
  • While on the low-heat side, 5-10 minutes.
NOTES You can grill other meats and veggies along with sausages. Just mind the time. Vegetables need less of it to cook well.

Baking

Baking is perfect to cook rope sausage. But baked sausage links will also make a superb main course.

COOKWARE
  • Oven, baking tray or grill, plus tongs.
  • You’ll need to grease the tray with olive, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • If you’re baking sausage links, place them on the tray or grill so that there’s good space between them. 
HEAT

Pre-heat to 350°F-375°F and cook at the same temperature.

TIME

Depending on the size of the sausage,

  • 15-30 minutes in total for the rope.
  • 15-40 minutes for the links.

Turn the sausages to the other side after the half of the recommended time passes.

NOTES
  • Baking is believed to be the safest way for preparing sausage, as the meat is cooked evenly and the risk of burning it is low.
  • To check if the sausage is ready, make a small cut into it and check the center. There must be no pink meat. The center of the cooked sausage will be dark and firm.

Pairing

Now, you also want to accompany the delightful flavorful sausages with a nice side dish and drink. Let’s see what these can be.

Here are the lists of best food and beverage pairings for sausage.

Ideal foods:

  • Grilled or sautéed vegetables
  • Coleslaw
  • Baked beans
  • Pickles
  • BBQ fries

Ideal drinks:

  • Your favorite beer
  • Apple cider
  • Riesling
  • Bordeaux
  • Shiraz
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinotage

Speaking of dips:

  • Mustard, of course
  • Ketchup, classically
  • Cheese sauce
  • Fruit jams (apricot, mango, orange)

Bonus recipe: Sandwich with sausage and pesto

Now when you can feel sure about how to cook sausage, let’s use it to make a hot, hearty sandwich.

The sandwich is always a good idea, whether it’s your picnic on Independence Day or a quiet family dinner in the winter evening.

The recipe is adopted from BBC GoodFood.

Sandwich with sausage and pesto

Ingredients (for 1 serving):

  • 1 ciabatta roll, sliced in half
  • 1-2 sausages, sliced in half lengthwise
  • small mozzarella ball, sliced
  • 1 roasted jarred pepper, sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp. pesto
  • handful rocket

Directions:

  1. Pan-fry or grill the sausages.
  2. Put the ciabatta roll halves on a baking tray. Spread each half with pesto.  Top with the pepper and mozzarella slices. Grill for 2-3 min., until the bread gets golden.
  3. Add the sausages and rocket. Put the halves of the ciabatta roll back together. Press down to hold the filling between the ciabatta halves.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy.