Cooktop Cove: 6 crucial tips to follow when you are cooking sausage
Whether you grill it, roast it or saute it, there's no question that sausage is delicious. With a casing that snaps ever so pleasantly as you bite into it and an interior that's juicy and satisfying, sausage just works. But there are some things to keep in mind when preparing this tasty meat to make sure it's as perfect as you imagined it would be.
After all, sausage is no good if the casing splits, leaking all those yummy juices onto your grill or into a pan. And if it breaks even slightly or you overcook it, there's a good chance it's going to completely dry out before it lands in your plate. So, to avoid these sausage mishaps and get it right every time, be sure you follow the tips below.
1. Boil them first
I used to have a real problem with overcooking my sausage. And, by the time I was certain the inside was fully cooked, usually it was a little too cooked, leaving me with dry and mealy sausage -- something nobody wants. Then, I tried boiling it first before I threw it onto the grill or into a pan, and I haven't looked back since. Not only can this be a quick way to cook your sausages, but because the casing is already partially cooked, it comes out extra crispy, giving you some bonus snap!
2. Don't prick them
Many people prick their sausages with a fork before they hit the heat. Theoretically, this is so the juices don't build up inside and cause the sausages to burst as they become hot. But there are better ways to make sure your sausages don't break -- pricking them will only leak those juices out and once again, give you sausages that are dry and tasteless. So leave the casings intact and enjoy those juicy links.
3. Fry them in butter
When searing meats in a frying pan or skillet, it's natural to use olive oil as the fat. But when frying sausages, there's a much better way: Fry them in butter. Butter makes everything taste better, and that certainly includes sausages. Also, when you follow the next tip, you won't need to worry about that butter burning, as you would with other meats.
4. Cook them over low heat
Even if you boil them first, you'll still want to finish your sausages off over a low heat. This isn't just to keep the butter from burning (although there's that, too), but it will also keep the sausage casing from bursting open. High heat will make those casings quickly shrivel up and break open, so keep the heat low and know that the worst will never happen.
5. Use a cast iron skillet
This one only applies if you're sautéing your sausages on the stovetop. If you're grilling them, the heat of the flames will get that crispy, crackly texture you're looking for without the skillet. But when cooking them on the stove, using a cast iron skillet is the only way to get that super-crispy skin. It's something that just can't be done in a nonstick pan, and sausages are likely to stick to a stainless steel skillet.
6. Turn them regularly
Of course, you don't want your sausages to be crispy and delicious on only one side -- you want that delicious taste and texture on all sides! To make sure you get it, turn the sausages regularly during cook time, making sure they're nicely browned on all four sides before they come out of the pan.
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