How to Cook Raw Sausage to Get the Best Flavor in 6 Easy Steps
When prepared the right way, a sausage should be crispy and tight on the outside, but juicy and moist on the inside, and each bite should burst with flavor. However, it’s tough to get it right, isn’t it?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time just asking yourself in amazement – how difficult can it be to cook raw sausage? I still remember my freshmen year, and many a ruined frying pan, not to mention sausage.
Still, the experience of being self-dependent (and my mom’s tips) has made me somewhat of an expert on the matter, so I’m here to share the knowledge and give something back to the community, as it were. This means – you guys.
There’s a number of ways to prepare raw sausage, the best four being – frying, grilling, baking and boiling, in that order. Most people prefer grilling, since, let’s be honest, you could put a shoe on the BBQ, and it’ll still taste delicious, and it’s easy.
However, I prefer pan-frying it, partly due to a bit of an acquired taste for it, but also because it’s just as easy as grilling, and, with the right oil, it’s just as healthy.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial?
- Stove – sausages don’t have a preferred stove, so anything that lets you control the temperature will do
- Frying pan – preferably one with non-stick coating, as this will allow you to minimize the usage of oil, and will make your life all the easier when the time comes to clean up the mess; still, non-stick pans are also OK
- Oil – you don’t need much oil, just a tablespoon. Yes, the sausages are fatty enough as it is, but a nice spread of oil will prevent them from sticking to the pan in that first minute or so as you wait for the fat out of the sausage to be released.
- Kitchen tongs – (no, not thongs) you will have to give the sausages some love and turn them frequently (we’re still talking about food; yes, I’m sure), so you don’t get a pan full of charcoal that bleeds;
- if you don’t have a pair of tongs, and there’s no one to borrow them from, just do what I do and use a pair of forks; it takes some time to get used to maneuvering, but with time it’ll become second nature
- Sausages – anything will do, actually, and you can just as easily cook smoked or otherwise treated sausages as raw ones, but the raw stuff is a bit more budget friendly
- You can also get raw sausage meat, minus the casing, then chop up a bit of onion, add spices and herbs to taste, then make patties, flour them, and fry away; this lets you “customize” your sausage
- Optional ingredients – if the idea of sausage patties touched a string in you, then you’ll need some herbs, like sage and thyme, just a pinch, as well as a bit of flour; avoid tomato sauce, it’ll ruin the flavor
Prepare the Sausages
The Great Thawing
When you’re buying fresh sausages, best keep to a local supplier, to be sure you’re getting the freshest meat possible.
Imported meat and that coming from big domestic suppliers usually travels great distances in freezers, after which it needs to be re-packed. During this period the meat is subjected to partial thawing and then refreezing, and potentially spoiling.
Now, when it comes to frozen vs. fresh sausage, there’s no difference in taste, color, texture or nutrition. However, it does affect the way you cook it and cooking time.
While you can put fresh sausages right into the pan, the frozen ones you have to thaw first to avoid burning them on the outside, while leaving the inside undercooked.
To do this, leave them outside for about 4 hours at room temperature, or leave them in the sink for 10–15 minutes under a stream of lukewarm water.
Here Comes The Guide: How to Cook Raw Sausage
1. How to Make It Quicker
Float like a Butterfly…
I know from experience that it can be frustrating waiting for the sausages to be done all the way through. So, if you’re in a real pinch for time, try doing one of the following things to reduce the cooking time, the idea being to spread them thinner so that the inside cooks faster.
One, flatten them. To do this, simply press down on them; you can do this with your hands, but the best results are achieved with a heavy pan with flat bottom; don’t use the one you’re frying them in, though, or, if you do, wash the bottom right away to avoid triggering the smoke detector.
Two, butterfly them. It’s simpler than it sounds – just take a sharp knife, and slit each individual sausage open lengthwise. Open it up, like a butterfly, laying it inside the pan with the exposed filling face down.
2. Preheat the Pan
It’s important not to let the sausages warm up with the pan. As noted earlier, the ideal sausage is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. This is because of the searing, and you can’t sear properly – if at all – if you let the food warm up with the pan. So, preheat it.
Light up the stove, and keep it on high heat for a minute or so until the pan heats up. You’ll know the pan is ready if it starts to smoke ever so lightly. Alternatively, you can test it by drizzling some water over it – if it sizzles when it touches the pan, it’s ready to go.
Drop the heat to medium, medium-high at most, and keep it there until the sausages are done. Alternatively, you can start with the medium, but it’ll take more time for the pan to warm up.
3. Add the Oil
To Add or not to Add?
Keep in mind that sausages are quite fatty on their own, so you don’t have to add too much oil. Still, it’s impossible to pan-fry them without the oil, as that fat is trapped within the sausage, so there’s a window of a couple of minutes at the beginning when it still might burn.
Just add a tablespoon of oil and spread it on the pan. This will help the pan be slick enough so that the sausage doesn’t catch and burn.
Speaking of oils, when it comes to frying raw sausages, or anything else that needs searing, for that matter, avoid olive oil, as it has a low smoke point, and it will make a bigger mess out of your kitchen than it has to be. Any good ole vegetable oil should do the trick – canola, sunflower, anything with a fairly high smoke point.
4. Lay the Sausages
Touch me not
Before actually putting the sausages inside the pan, pat them dry with a kitchen towel. This is important as it will prevent water from vaporizing inside the pan. Remember that popping sound when you fry something, and superheated oil sputtering around? That’s (mostly) because of water.
When you do put the sausages in, make sure to keep them apart – this will enable them to be cooked evenly on all sides. If they’re stringed, cut them from one another, and lay them leaving a bit of space in between. If this means you’ll have to do it in batches, then so be it.
5. Cook Evenly
There’s the Rub!
Depending on the size, it takes about fifteen minutes for a single sausage to cook thoroughly (whaddya know, size does matter), so don’t rush it. About two minutes into frying, take your tongs, or a pair of forks, and flip the sausages to cook evenly on all sides. Repeat every couple of minutes.
6. Finish It Off
Flawless Victory! Fatality!
There’s a risky maneuver you can try if you’re worried you might burn your sausages (especially applicable to large ones), as they take their sweet time to cook all the way through – steaming. Pour some water into the pan, and close it with a snuggly fitting lid.
This should prevent the sausage from burning, but it will also take out a portion of the flavor and make them rubbery. Still, if you’re willing to sacrifice some tastiness for hastiness, it’s a fair trade.
Finally, once the sausages are done, it’s a good idea to re-use the grease and fry something else in it, such as eggs.
Enjoy Your Meal
It’s really been fun to write this, as remembering one’s ineptitude always is. I’m sure many people, including me, have taken the matter lightly when it’s actually anything but. The health risks, both from burns and undercooked food are real, and I hope this instructional piece will help you avoid them in the future.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little piece, and found answers to all of your questions, in which case, please share the article and leave a comment. If not, feel free to leave questions and suggestions in the comments, and we’ll try to address them individually, either through replies or future articles.