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The best way to cook a sausage

Charcuterie

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#1 Magictofu

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 01:48 PM

I thought this would catch the interest of some of you after reading the interesting debate on the best way to cook a steak.

Tim Hayward wrote a piece on the best way to cook a sausgage on his Guardian blog: http://www.guardian..../nov/11/sausage

There is, to my mind, only one way to correctly cook a proper sausage. Take a deep frying pan and pour in enough oil to come half way up the sides. Slip in the sausages, bring the oily bath up to a temperature at which they barely simmer and hold them there. The intention is not to shallow fry the sausage but to lovingly poach it. The skin, remember, is impermeable to fat so none is going to leak in or out. The oil bath anoints the casing, keeping it supple so it is less inclined to split and the gentle cooking preserves all the juices inside the banger. This is not a speedy, slapdash process - at least half an hour is required for the full ritual - but at the end the sausage is firm, bursting with rich juices, lightly tanned and requiring only a brief wipe with a cloth before proudly serving forth.


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#2 Chris Amirault

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 02:00 PM

Wow. Never tried this method. I've usually poached them in water to get them near temp and then finished them (after drying) in fat in a skillet.
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#3 Chris Hennes

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 02:06 PM

It's very interesting: I had never thought to use oil. I generally treat cooking a sausage as a sort of "sous vide" cooking, putting the sausage in a water bath at the temperature I am trying to cook the sausage to (generally about 150 F). I hold it there for 45-60 minutes, until the internal temp of the sausage is 150, then serve. I occasionally "sear" over high heat once that is done, like you might do with a steak.

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#4 Peter the eater

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 02:39 PM

Oil poaching is an excellent way to cook just about any meat -- raw, cured, processed, whatever. I've not tried it on a fresh sausage mostly because cooking oil is 100 times more expensive than water-cooler water, and orders of magnitude more compared to tap water. I'll bet Tim's right about oil tasting better though.
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#5 prasantrin

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 02:55 PM

When Filipinos cook longganisa, oil and water go into a pan along with the sausages. The water helps cook the sausage without having them brown too much, then once the water boils off, the oil is left to crisp them. (Much like how gyoza is cooked, though the process isn't as quick.)

It's not oil poaching, but it's a fine way to cook a sausage.

#6 jkim

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 05:47 PM

I've always cooked sausages in a skillet, with a dash of oil, garlic and onions, pre-heating the pan to high heat, searing 3 sides, then letting it sit on the 4th side, reducing the heat to medium-low and letting cook for 20-30 minutes.

Wow so many of you use water? Is it normal to use water for sausages? The only sausage I use water to cook is franks, and even then, I prefer grilled w/ oil to boiled.

#7 Chris Hennes

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 06:57 PM

Wow so many of you use water?  Is it normal to use water for sausages?

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Sure, why not? The casing is almost completely impermeable to water, and water's high heat capacity means that it will transfer the heat to the sausage relatively quickly (as opposed to roasting) and very uniformly (as opposed to frying). I make my own sausages, so any flavors I wanted in there are already there. If I'm looking for some Maillard action I might give them a quick sear, but otherwise, water is cheap, gives excellent control of the temperature, and as far as I am concerned yields a perfectly-cooked sausage every time. Note that I am not boiling, however. I cook in a water bath at 150 degrees F, the final target temp for the sausage.

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#8 Magictofu

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 07:54 PM

I find the various way people cook sausage very interesting. I always cooked my sausage at low heat in a pan for a relatively long time. It's probably time to experiment.

#9 Peter the eater

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 07:59 PM

The skin, remember, is impermeable to fat so none is going to leak in or out.

The casing is almost completely impermeable to water

I assume Tim H and Chris H are talking about natural casings. In my fledgling sausage stuffing career I've used collagen casings all three times. I'd like to know the pros and cons of oil poaching with synthetic skins. My unsubstantiated hunch is that they hold water like latex but get real shiny and leaky with lipids.
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#10 Magictofu

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:02 PM

The skin, remember, is impermeable to fat so none is going to leak in or out.

The casing is almost completely impermeable to water

I assume Tim H and Chris H are talking about natural casings. In my fledgling sausage stuffing career I've used collagen casings all three times. I'd like to know the pros and cons of oil poaching with synthetic skins. My unsubstantiated hunch is that they hold water like latex but get real shiny and leaky with lipids.

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I would assume that they would melt when in contact with heat anyway... no? :huh:

#11 Peter the eater

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:42 PM

The skin, remember, is impermeable to fat so none is going to leak in or out.

The casing is almost completely impermeable to water

I assume Tim H and Chris H are talking about natural casings. In my fledgling sausage stuffing career I've used collagen casings all three times. I'd like to know the pros and cons of oil poaching with synthetic skins. My unsubstantiated hunch is that they hold water like latex but get real shiny and leaky with lipids.

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I would assume that they would melt when in contact with heat anyway... no? :huh:

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Over time, I guess they would.

But from experience, I can say they do well in a hot frying pan for 15 minutes.
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#12 elfin

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 11:13 AM

Here in Chicago where the polish kelbasa rules, I have seen it poached in oil at some hot dog/burger joints. Others boil them and , depending upon the place for an extra charge, you can have them finished off on the grill for the char.
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#13 deltadoc

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:06 PM

I'm totally amazed at this thread!!!!!

I only boil hot dogs, although I prefer them grilled almost black. Contrary to most people, I don't like hot dogs with natural casings because they like "pop" when you bite into them. I like the pressed casings. But then I only eat hot dogs about once every 2-3 years to get my "fringe elements" into my diet.

For sausage, like Breakfast sausage or Italian sausage, I put them on the griddle, with maybe a touch of oil so they don't stick, brown good on one side, turn them over, add a ton of diced onion to the center of the sausage link (i'm using 1lb rings), and then put a pan lid over them to hold in the heat. When almost done, I cut them into cylindrical pieces and brown some more while mixing them with the onions.

While I will eat them this way, I usually do this while preparing spaghetti sauce in a 20 qt pot next to the griddle. Into the sauce they go, simmer some more and then can them for sausage spaghetti sauce whenever I want it.

Boiling fatty sausage in oil just seems like ateriosclerosis time to me!

:)

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#14 Carlovski

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:23 AM

I tend to use the method recommended by Matthew Fort - heavy pan, low heat, a light splash of oil and a long slow cook.
Cooking in liquid seems wrong to me - but I suppose it's no different to making a sausage casserole (Actually, not a bad idea for dinner later - got some Puy lentils knocking around somewhere) - just without all of the flavourings, but if they don't penetrate the skin then why not?
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#15 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:34 AM

but if they don't penetrate the skin then why not?

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Right, and this is the key thing to remember when cooking sausage. Sure, you wouldn't want to poach a pork chop or a steak (ok, sometimes you do, but for the sake of argument...), but a sausage has this great protective casing that prevents almost any kind of transfer across it. That's why I imagine it as cooking a sausage "sous vide" -- the casing is providing an impermeable layer that prevents the flavor from the sausage from being lost into the water. Couple that with the ability to precisely nail the correct internal temperature, in all parts of the sausage, and I am still convinced that poaching in water, or oil, or whatever, is the best way. If I want fried onions on the side, I fry up onions on the side. I spent too much time crafting the perfect sausage to risk overcooking it when pan-frying: you don't gain any flavor by frying, and if you want that texture to the casing, give it a quick torch when it's done.

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#16 Magictofu

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:18 PM

Right, and this is the key thing to remember when cooking sausage. Sure, you wouldn't want to poach a pork chop or a steak (ok, sometimes you do, but for the sake of argument...), but a sausage has this great protective casing that prevents almost any kind of transfer across it. That's why I imagine it as cooking a sausage "sous vide" -- the casing is providing an impermeable layer that prevents the flavor from the sausage from being lost into the water. Couple that with the ability to precisely nail the correct internal temperature, in all parts of the sausage, and I am still convinced that poaching in water, or oil, or whatever, is the best way. If I want fried onions on the side, I fry up onions on the side. I spent too much time crafting the perfect sausage to risk overcooking it when pan-frying: you don't gain any flavor by frying, and if you want that texture to the casing, give it a quick torch when it's done.

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Then, could we improve on the technique proposed by Tim Hayward by first cook the sausage at a relatively low temperature in oil (as with most sous-vide techniques) and then increase the temperature of the oil to crisp and brown the casing all around? Would it change anything?

I think its hard to mess things up when cooking a good sausage and different techniques can all provide good results.

#17 Soupcon

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:25 AM

I usually poach local hand made sausages from the farmers market in heavily salted water before frying in a hot pan with a little oil or clarified butter. But lately I have been using a long slow fry in a little oil or clarified butter over low heat to cook them. IMHO the long slow fry wins hands down. Just YUMMY :biggrin:

Edited by Soupcon, 30 November 2008 - 08:26 AM.

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#18 nickrey

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 02:26 AM

I just saw a method for cooking sausages on a food program called "Secret Meat Business" that I wanted to share.

The chef, Adrian Richardson, placed his sausages in a pan with a small amount of water and brought it to the boil. Before the water boiled away completely, he turned the sausages to even up the cooking. Once the water was evaporated, he continued cooking them in the same pan until done.

He proposed that the use of water early in the cooking process made sure the sausages were evenly cooked without being burnt on the outside.

It sounds like your method Chris A without the step of transferring them between cooking vessels.

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#19 heidih

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:33 AM

I just saw a method for cooking sausages on a food program called "Secret Meat Business" that I wanted to share.

The chef, Adrian Richardson, placed his sausages in a pan with a small amount of water and brought it to the boil. Before the water boiled away completely, he turned the sausages to even up the cooking. Once the water was evaporated, he continued cooking them in the same pan until done.

He proposed that the use of water early in the cooking process made sure the sausages were evenly cooked without being burnt on the outside.

It sounds like your method Chris A without the step of transferring them between cooking vessels.


That is the method I was taught eons ago and have continued to use with success. I try for the sausage almost completely cooked as the water has evaporated and then just a quick time in the dry pan to brown them.

#20 OliverB

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:48 AM

my preferred method is on the bbq, but if I have to cook them inside I put them on med/low heat in a frying pan with a touch of oil, and flip them occasionally, also standing them on the round back side to get nice browning all over. Once nicely browned they're done.

I did play with boiling in beer or water with onions and all that, but as stated above, the casing lets nothing in, so I see that just as a waste of ingredients that are used better otherwise, unless I continue until the onions are browned.

I'm curious about that oil poaching, but not curious enough to waste all that oil, I never dep fry so I'd have to throw the oil out I guess.
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#21 djyee100

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:36 AM

I just saw a method for cooking sausages on a food program called "Secret Meat Business" that I wanted to share...


Yes, I always use that method for cooking sausages on the stovetop. I don't remember where I learned it. The simmering in water, followed by frying in its own fat, keeps the sausages moist and caramelizes the outside. That's a good method to share, Nickrey.

A pic of some Thai sai oa sausages that I cooked by this method:

SaiOaGrill_1229.jpg

#22 andiesenji

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:15 AM

I've been cooking sausage, both patties and link sausage in water for many years.
Back in January I put it up on my blog and posted about it in the "Breakfast" topic.

As I noted, I did not smoke the sausage so I used a "quickie" method of getting the smoke flavor I wanted by the use of Lapsang Souchong tea. Plain water works fine if you already have smoked sausage but there is a world of variety in things you can put IN the water to add flavor to the sausage.

If you like spicy and have only plain sausage, some chili pepper flakes in the water can liven it up instead of adding a sauce that might be too assertive and mask the sausage flavor.

Very fatty sausages are better with a hint of citrus. I just cut a lemon or orange into slices and put them into the water, bring it to a boil and then add the sausages.

If you are serving several people, you can take plain sausages and vary them by cooking batches in different "flavored" waters.

Sausage on its own is greasy enough. I would never cook it in oil. To me just the thought is ghastly. :hmmm:
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#23 avaserfi

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:11 PM


I just saw a method for cooking sausages on a food program called "Secret Meat Business" that I wanted to share.

The chef, Adrian Richardson, placed his sausages in a pan with a small amount of water and brought it to the boil. Before the water boiled away completely, he turned the sausages to even up the cooking. Once the water was evaporated, he continued cooking them in the same pan until done.

He proposed that the use of water early in the cooking process made sure the sausages were evenly cooked without being burnt on the outside.

It sounds like your method Chris A without the step of transferring them between cooking vessels.


That is the method I was taught eons ago and have continued to use with success. I try for the sausage almost completely cooked as the water has evaporated and then just a quick time in the dry pan to brown them.


Same here. I started using this method when I didn't have a grill and haven't stopped since getting a grill. It works so well I prefer it to the grill, most of the time.

Edited by avaserfi, 01 June 2011 - 12:11 PM.

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#24 Blether

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 05:53 PM

What's this about sausage skins being impermeable to water and fat ? There's a great big hole in the skin at both ends for one thing, puddles of fat & fond left in sausage pans for another, and visible beads of fat on the skins of many sausages cooked dry.

Saying that, I am mildly intrigued by the Hayward oil bath method...

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#25 Pierogi

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:49 PM



I just saw a method for cooking sausages on a food program called "Secret Meat Business" that I wanted to share.

The chef, Adrian Richardson, placed his sausages in a pan with a small amount of water and brought it to the boil. Before the water boiled away completely, he turned the sausages to even up the cooking. Once the water was evaporated, he continued cooking them in the same pan until done.

He proposed that the use of water early in the cooking process made sure the sausages were evenly cooked without being burnt on the outside.

It sounds like your method Chris A without the step of transferring them between cooking vessels.


That is the method I was taught eons ago and have continued to use with success. I try for the sausage almost completely cooked as the water has evaporated and then just a quick time in the dry pan to brown them.


Same here. I started using this method when I didn't have a grill and haven't stopped since getting a grill. It works so well I prefer it to the grill, most of the time.

A big, huge ditto to avaserfi, heidih and nickrey. Somewhere back in the dark ages, that was a technique my Mom picked up from somewhere (God only knows where...), and that's how I've always done it for fresh sausages. Smoked, I treat a bit differently, but for fresh, this is the way to go. So savory and so juicy.
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#26 HowardLi

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:19 AM

Hate to bring this from the dead, but the thread is titled aptly enough. If doing the sausages SV, what is the best internal temp to cook to? 135F would certainly be the safe option, but is a higher temp preferred to gelatinize the tougher parts of the meat used in the sausage?

Also, re: poaching in oil, one can ziploc the sausages in oil and SV the bag. Economical, and the sausage sees nothing but oil and inert plastic.

#27 larryroohr

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:08 AM

I've always cooked sausages starting them in water to poach and then browning when the water boiled away, can't beat it.

Where I picked it up years ago when I was first out on my own was from an early black and white Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn movie "The Black Orchid".

If my memory is correct, Quinn was a widower and never happy with his daughters sausages. It was the final scene after Quinn wins Sophia's heart, Sophia teaches his daughter how to cook him sausages this way. Anthony took a bite and yelled in a thick Italian accent "now datsa gooda sausage!" (or something like that).

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#28 Charcuterer

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:30 PM

Hate to bring this from the dead, but the thread is titled aptly enough. If doing the sausages SV, what is the best internal temp to cook to? 135F would certainly be the safe option, but is a higher temp preferred to gelatinize the tougher parts of the meat used in the sausage?

Also, re: poaching in oil, one can ziploc the sausages in oil and SV the bag. Economical, and the sausage sees nothing but oil and inert plastic.


Howard,
I have been cooking my sausages for about a year using the sous vide method and I usually use 160 degrees to get a better mouth feel. I make a lot of Chicken sausages and find that at less than that they feel a bit bubble gum-ish. The pork sausages also benefit from that temperature in my opinion (that and company tends to feel a little weirded out by mid-rare pork in their sausage.) I make an argentine chorizo that is all beef and I cook it in a 140 degree water bath and finish them on a grill.

I don't know if there is any truth to this but I think that sous vide with sausages in natural casings have a more tender "skin". I finish mine off in a ripping hot pan with a touch of oil to crisp the skin. Usually only takes a few seconds per side.

#29 TylerK

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:36 AM

I tried something similar after a recent confit experiment. Fresh bratwurst went into the oven submerged in duck fat at 160F for four hours. I stored them in my refrigerator until I was ready to eat, still in the fat like I would for a confit duck leg. Pulled out of the fat and briefly broiled until the skin was brown and blistering, they were some of the juiciest and tastiest sausages I have ever eaten.

#30 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:52 AM

For me, it's the charcoal grill all the way, with 6-8" pieces of sausage on skewers. They start out with whole casings, but once they're good and hot I cut slits in them to let some of the grease out and allow them to expand a bit. They're done when there's a bit of char on them.

Then again, the only sausage I eat is Ambato-style chorizo.... I doubt my method would work with breakfast bangers.
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