If you love sausage links, there’s no doubt that learning how to cook them to perfection is important. Sausage links can be the perfect addition to your breakfast, lunch or dinner when cooked right. In this article, we’ll show you how to cook sausage links to perfection by teaching you the best techniques to cook them without losing their juiciness and flavor.
Why Choose Sausage Links?
If you are looking for a delicious and easy-to-cook meat option, sausage links are a great choice. Not only are they versatile, but they also come in a variety of flavors to satisfy any taste bud. Furthermore, sausage links can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and paired with a myriad of side dishes.
Not only are sausage links delicious, but they also offer health benefits when consumed in moderation. They are a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. Sausage links also contain minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and zinc, which help to maintain a healthy immune system.
Different Varieties of Sausage Links
Sausage links come in a variety of flavors, textures, and shapes. Knowing the different types of sausage links can help you choose the best one for your desired meal. Here are some common varieties:
Fresh Sausage Links
Fresh sausage links are made with raw meat and need to be cooked thoroughly before consumption. They are usually flavored with herbs and spices, such as sage, fennel, and rosemary. Fresh sausage links can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried.
- Sweet Italian Sausages
- Hot Italian Sausages
- Breakfast Sausages
- Country Sausages
Cooked Sausage Links
Cooked sausage links are pre-cooked and ready to eat. They can be served cold or reheated. Cooked sausage links can be made from a variety of meats, including pork, beef, and chicken.
- Smoked Sausages
- Hickory-Smoked Sausages
- Andouille Sausages
Tip: When buying sausage links, make sure to read the label carefully to know whether they are fresh or cooked. Also, pay attention to the meat content and the level of spiciness if you have a sensitive palate.
Preparing Sausage Links Before Cooking
Before cooking sausage links, it is important to prepare them properly to ensure a tasty and satisfying meal. The following steps will guide you through the process from thawing to removing casings.
Thawing Sausage Links
First, make sure the sausage links are fully thawed before cooking. If you are short on time, you can use the defrost function on your microwave. However, if you have more time, simply transfer the sausages from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before and let them thaw there.
Some sausage links come in casings, which are the thin coverings around the sausage. While casings are edible, some people choose to remove them before cooking. To remove casings, gently score the sausage lengthwise with a sharp knife. Do not cut too deep as you want to avoid cutting into the meat. Once scored, use your fingers to peel off the casing.
Pricking Sausage Links
To ensure even cooking and to prevent the sausages from bursting, prick each sausage several times with a fork. This will allow excess steam to escape while the sausage is cooking.
Techniques for Cooking Sausage Links
When it comes to cooking sausage links, there are several methods and techniques you can use. Each technique has its unique flavor profile and texture. Below are the different methods to cook sausage links:
Grilling Sausage Links
Grilling sausage links gives them a crispy exterior and juicy interior while infusing a smoky flavor. The following steps help you to grill sausage links to perfection:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grill grate.
- Put the sausages on the grill with direct heat, turning occasionally, for ten to fifteen minutes. You can check if the sausage is done by using a food thermometer; it should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the sausage links are cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving to lock in the juices.
Baking Sausage Links
If you are worried about fats, then baking sausage links is a great way to cook them. Baking also allows the sausage links to cook evenly. Below are the steps to follow when baking sausages:
- Preheat your oven to 400Â°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the sausage links on the baking sheet and bake them for 30 minutes. You can turn the sausage links halfway through cooking to brown both sides evenly.
- Confirm when the sausage links are done by inserting a meat thermometer into the sausage; it should read 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pan-frying Sausage Links
If you plan to use sausage links as an ingredient in a dish or serve them as a side dish, pan-frying is the best way to cook them. Below are steps to follow:
- Heat some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. You can use a flavored oil to enhance the flavor of the sausage links.
- Place the sausage links on the skillet and cook them for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn brown. Keep turning the sausage links to ensure that all sides are browned.
- Once the sausage links are cooked, remove them from the skillet, let them rest for a few minutes to retain the juices, and serve.
Sous Vide Sausage Links
Sous vide is a cooking technique where you cook sausage links by slowly cooking them in a vacuum-sealed bag submerged in a water bath at a controlled temperature. Below is how you cook sausage links using a sous vide:
|Preheat a water bath using a sous vide machine to 150Â°F.
|Sea salt and black pepper
|Season the sausage links with sea salt and black pepper. Vacuum seal the sausage links individually.
|Olive oil or butter
|Place some olive oil or butter in the bag, then add the sausage links and vacuum-seal.
|Submerge the vacuum-sealed sausage links into the preheated water bath and cook them for 2 hours.
|After 2 hours, remove the vacuum-sealed Sausage links from the water bath and place them in an ice bath for 10 minutes to stop the cooking.
|Remove the sausage links from the bag and pat them dry. Preheat your grill or skillet and brown the sausage links for 1-2 minutes per side before serving.
The above cooking techniques are perfect ways to cook sausage links to give them different flavors and textures. Choose the technique that best matches your preference.
How to Tell if Sausage Links are Cooked
Cooking sausage links requires careful attention to ensure that they are fully cooked and safe to eat. Undercooked sausage links can lead to food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E.coli. Use the following tips to determine if sausage links are fully cooked and ready to serve.
Tip #1: Check the Internal Temperature
The most reliable method for determining if sausage links are cooked is by checking their internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature at the center of the thickest part of the sausage. A temperature of 160Â°F (71Â°C) indicates that the sausage is fully cooked and safe to eat. Be careful not to touch the thermometer to the bone as this can give an inaccurate reading.
Tip #2: Observe the Color
Another way to tell if sausage links are cooked is by observing the color of the meat. Cooked sausage should be browned evenly on all sides. The meat should no longer be pink and any juices should run clear. If the sausage is still pink or the juices are pink or reddish in color, it may not be fully cooked yet.
Tip #3: Check the Texture
The texture of cooked sausage links should be firm and springy to the touch. Use tongs or a fork to gently squeeze the sausage. If it feels mushy or soft, it may not be fully cooked. Cooked sausage should also not be tough or chewy.
Tip #4: Look for Leaking Juices
If you’re grilling or pan-frying sausage links, keep an eye out for any juices that are leaking from the meat. If the juices are clear and the sausage is browned evenly, it’s a good sign that the sausage is fully cooked. If the juices are still pink or reddish, continue cooking the sausage.
Tip #5: Cutting Open the Sausage Links
If you’re still uncertain if the sausage links are cooked, you can cut into them. Use a clean knife to cut into the thickest part of the sausage link and check the color of the meat. The meat should be browned all the way through with no pink or red areas. If the meat is still pink, continue cooking the sausage. Remember to let the sausage cool for a few minutes before cutting into it to avoid losing too much flavor or juice.
Serving Suggestions and Recipe Ideas
After cooking sausage links to perfection, the next orders of business include coming up with serving and recipe ideas that will perfectly complement your deliciously cooked sausage links. Trying out different serving and recipe ideas not only ensures that your taste buds remain satisfied but also adds variety to your menu. Below are some of the serving and recipe ideas you can try out:
Biscuits and Gravy
A plate of delicious biscuits and gravy alongside sausage links is an excellent idea. For biscuits, you can make them from scratch or use frozen biscuit dough. You can either make the gravy from scratch or use pre-made gravy, whichever works best for you. However, making the gravy from scratch allows you to add your personal touch to it.
Another serving idea is to make breakfast sandwiches with English muffins, sausage links, eggs, and cheese. You can either make scrambled or fried eggs. For sausage links, cook them to perfection, and for cheese, use your favorite cheese for the sandwich. Layer all ingredients and have a hearty breakfast or brunch option.
Sausage and Eggs
Another classic combo is sausage and eggs. Cook sausage links to perfection, and make scrambled or fried eggs, depending on your preferences. For a perfect finish, add some avocado slices or hash browns on the side.
Sausage and Vegetable Skewers
For a unique serving idea, make sausage and vegetable skewers. Cut up sausage links and skew them with your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and onions. Brush some olive oil and seasoning of your choice and grill the skewers for a few minutes till the veggies are crisp-tender and sausage cooked throughout.
Sausage and Pasta
Sausage and pasta is a great dinner option. Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions and cut sausage links into bite-sized pieces. SautÃ© the sausage in a pan and add pasta sauce to the pan. Serve the pasta with sausage pieces and sprinkle some cheese and parsley on top for a perfect finish.
Sausage Stir Fry
For another dinner option, make a sausage stir-fry with your favorite veggies, rice, and sausage links. Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces and sautÃ© them in a pan for a few minutes till they are brown. Add veggies such as broccoli, carrots, peppers, or whatever vegetables you have on-hand, stir-fry for a few minutes, and add some soy sauce and seasonings of your choice. Serve with rice, and enjoy!
Enjoy Your Perfectly Cooked Sausage Links!
Now that you know how to cook sausage links to perfection, it’s time to put your skills to the test! Whether you prefer them grilled, baked, or pan-fried, these methods will ensure that your sausages turn out juicy, tender, and full of flavor every time. Don’t forget to serve them up with your favorite sides and toppings for a delicious and satisfying meal. Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us again for more helpful tips and recipes!
How to Cook Sausage Links to Perfection
Learn how to cook sausage links to perfection with our simple guide. From grilling to baking to pan-frying, we’ve got you covered.
- 1 pound sausage links
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, your oven to 375Â°F, or your skillet over medium-high heat. If using a skillet, add the oil and heat until shimmering.
- If grilling, place the sausages on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 18-20 minutes or until browned and cooked through. If baking, place the sausages on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
- If pan-frying, add the sausages to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Add the water to the skillet and cover briefly to steam the sausages for a juicier result.