There are easy tricks for cooking sausages to avoid splitting. These work for if you’re grilling, baking or frying Italian sausages. Here is the best ways to cook sausages and some of the techniques I found along the way.
The reason you don’t want your sausage to split or burst open is because it can dry out. Also the juices and flavoring leak out and the sausage loses it’s shape.
How do you cook sausages without splitting?
Submerge sausages in a pan of cold water. Turn on heat and bring water to boiling point. As soon as water begins to boil reduce heat and simmer sausages for 6-8 minutes. Then remove sausages from water and dry them off. Now the outside can cooked further by grilling, frying or even baking them.
There is a two step method for cooking sausages to prevent splitting. First poaching the sausage then browning the outside.
- Cook sausages first by simmering them in water for 6 – 8 minutes
- Take them out of water and dry them off.
- Continue cooking them by either grilling, frying or baking sausages.
- Cook them slowly and over low to medium heat.
Instead of using water you can also use any type of beer, wine or cider.
Check internal temperature of sausage after cooking. Temperature should be at or above 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A added bonus of poaching the sausages is that you can refrigerate them after. Then all you need to do is grill/BBQ them. This is good for parties because you can cook them much easier when they are precooked.
Why do sausages split when cooking?
Sausage splitting or bursting occurs when the casing no longer can hold up to the pressure from cooking. A casing will either split length wise or can even just burst at the seams.
You should know about the different types of sausage casings. You can cook them better by understanding what goes into each one.
This does happen for numerous reasons. Sometimes a sausage can contain a lot of water. When the water is heated it expands and boils. The vapor can create to much to pressure and rupture the sausage casing.
Also the meat and fat on the inside is expanding when heating. The casing shrinks when heated. All the pressure from cooking going on inside is being held in by the casing.
A sausage can be overfilled into the casing as well. Then there is not much room for expansion.
All these occurrences are normal but keeping them under control is key. One of the easiest ways to split a sausage is by cooking it at way to high of a temperature.
When sausages are cooked to quickly they are prone to splitting. With most cooking it is all about temperature and timing.
Sausage splitting usually occurs when frying them or putting them on the grill. As with the heat coming from the bottom, this heat can sometimes be too hot. Sausages should be cooked as evenly as possible.
Should You Poke Holes In Sausage Before Cooking?
Poking holes in the casing prior to cooking. This is thought to allow the vapors and expanding liquids to escape. Well it is true and it might prevent splitting.
The problem is you are basically puncturing the casing anyways. It is not a good way to prevent further splitting. And you shouldn’t poke holes in the casing.
There is a reason no sausage maker or meat manufacture puts holes in their sausages.
If this was the best method you would think holes would already be present. The truth is sausages are suppose to contain and hold in all the meat and flavoring fat.
The meat inside the sausage is suppose to be cooked together, when some leaks out it doesn’t get cooked evenly.
When you poke holes into the casing and start cooking. The juices will leak out and the sausage can begin to dry out. Also so much of the important flavor will be lost.
Some people think this is a way to make the sausage healthier. By pricking holes and allowing the fat to drip out when cooking.
This is not a true way to cook what is suppose to be a fat enriched sausage. Sausages are not a healthy non-fat food and doing this does doesn’t make them much healthier.
How To Stop Sausages Splitting in the oven
In the case you want to bake the sausages in the oven. Splitting can occur and can be treated the same way. Poaching them first in liquid is a good way before baking.
How To Cook Sausage In The Oven
If you don’t want to poach the sausages first. Sausages can be baked or roasted in the oven. Baking works great for sausages because the heat is evenly distributed.
It is harder to burst a sausage this way. Because it will usually heat up slowly. Still it is about setting the right temperature and cooking for the right time.
You can use a oven pan and cover it in tin foil to place the sausages on top. Also a iron skillet will work and no tin foil is needed.
Some bacon grease or cooking oil can be used on the tin foil, but it is not necessary.
Set the oven to 350 – 400 degrees and cook sausages for 20 -25 mins. Turn them over once half way through cooking. The sausage can be browned further by broiling them for a shorter period of time.
Best Way To Grill Sausage Without Poaching
Skipping the poaching step and going straight to the grill. Start grill and set to medium heat. You only need to get the sausages internal temperature to 160 degree F.
Start with sausages at room temperature. This speeds up the cooking time as well as making it cook more even. You don’t want a lot fat to leak and flare up. This can char the sausage, so use indirect heat.
Cook sausages for 15 -20 mins at medium temperature of 160 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip them over and check the internal temperature. If they have reached 160 degrees + then they are ready. If they need to be browned up put them over direct heat for 10 mins. Flipping them frequently with the grill lid off.