While sausages are not exactly the healthiest food out there, the right preparation methods can make them taste and appear better in different dishes or on their own. Cooking them right will also minimize their health impacts and make sure they are cooked through perfectly.
To know how long to boil sausage, why boiling some kinds of sausages is a must, and which cooking methods are ideal for different types of sausages, continue reading down below!
The Best Cooking Methods for Sausage
Let’s admit it, we know that sausages are processed meats usually high in salt and saturated fat content, sometimes even loaded with preservatives or fillers that are not exactly beneficial to our health. But we love them, so what can we do?
Well, although choosing chicken or turkey sausages over pork, lamb, veal, or beef is generally the healthier option, being mindful of how you prepare your sausages can also be a huge factor.
The healthiest way to cook sausage is probably by boiling and grilling. These two methods cook the sausage through without drawing out too much moisture or adding too much to them, unlike frying which allows them to soak up the grease. Smoked sausages, on the other hand, are already cooked but can be improved flavor-wise by frying them.
For fresh or uncooked sausages, boiling first is recommended before employing other cooking methods. This will bring the meat to a high enough internal temperature faster to eliminate any foodborne bacteria and pathogens that can make you sick.
Boiling sausage before frying, though it helps shorten the cooking time, is not really necessary. The frying renders the fats and juices to create that classic golden brown exterior and tender, juicy center while also reaching a safe temperature.
How Long to Boil Sausage
Boiling or poaching sausages is an ideal way to ensure they cook evenly and thoroughly by allowing the center of the sausage to reach a safe internal temperature.
While boiling will not give you a crisp, brown exterior, it can help preserve the fat and moisture content of your sausages, which makes it a great cooking method for emulsified sausages. These are those that are filled with smooth finely ground meat, water, and fat. A few examples are hotdogs, Serdelki, Knockwurst, Bratwursts, Weisswurst, and Frankfurters.
Some kinds of sausages are also traditionally eaten boiled and not require any browning. However, fresh sausage like kielbasa, Italian sausage or bratwurst are not cooked thoroughly and need to be cooked longer. You can either boil then fry or grill fresh sausage or slow cook them in a grill or frying pan.
Whether you are solely boiling your sausages or using it as a pre-cooking method, it usually takes about ten minutes for pre-cooked sausages like hotdogs or up to thirty minutes for raw or fresh sausages to reach a safe internal temperature of 160℉ to 165℉. In either case, make sure to turn or stir them occasionally for an even, thorough cook.
Of course, the time it takes may still vary depending on the type and amount of filler as well as the size of the sausages. To be absolutely sure, I suggest using a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the sausages after boiling.
How to Boil or Poach Sausage
When done right, boiling or poaching sausages can also help you achieve a fattier, juicier, and more moist center after frying, char-grilling, or barbecuing them.
Things You’ll need:
- Water, about two to three cups and/or other boiling liquids
- A skewer, toothpick, or fork
- A saucepan with lid
- Meat thermometer
- A pair of tongs
- A barbecue grill or a frying pan with some oil
Step 1. Put two to three cups of water in a saucepan or just so it is filled three-quarters of the way, making sure there is enough to cover the sausages completely. Bring the water to a boil.
Note: Some people do not recommend boiling using plain water because it can cause some flavor to leak out or become diluted, which can be seen as a waste. If this is a concern of yours, feel free to use a tasty boiling liquid such as cider. You can also use a mixture of water and your choice of boiling liquid. However, this can affect the flavor of your sausages and impart some added sweetness or acidity. Other good options that can enhance the flavor of your sausages include tomato sauce, wine, stock, or broth.
Beer is also a popular choice for boiling prior to grilling. Stronger beers tend to add more flavor. Maltier beers impart a sweetness that complements strong sausages well while lagers tend to be more bitter and better paired with sweeter sausages. You can also add onions while parboiling with beer for extra flavor.
Step 2. Poke holes into the sausage a few times using a fork, skewer, or a toothpick. This will allow some of the juices and fats to escape as the sausages cook. This is ideal when cooking sausages with high-fat content. You can skip this step if you want your sausages to stay as juicy and plump as possible.
Step 3. Gently place the raw or uncooked sausages in the water or boiling liquid. Prevent hot splashes by lowering the sausages down one by one using a pair of tongs. Then, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid.
Step 4. Simmer the sausages for about ten to thirty minutes, turning them occasionally using a pair of tongs. Do not attempt to make the process quicker by turning the heat up to achieve a high boil since this can damage or split open the sausage casing.
Step 5. Remove the sausages from the boiling liquid, drain them and pat them dry with paper towels. Note that boiled sausages may not look exactly done as fried or grilled ones. The exterior won’t be much darker in color. Instead, the sausages should have a uniform and firm texture all throughout and no remaining pink color inside. Depending on the sausage type, they can even have a grey waxy appearance which is fine as long as they are cooked through.
Step 6. Optionally, you can now brown your sausages on a frying pan or under the grill to finish cooking them. They will probably need only a few minutes on the grill before they get a nice color and are ready to eat. The grilling time may also vary depending on the filler content and the size of the sausage. Make sure to turn them at least once halfway through. The same goes if you are pan-frying them.
Step 7. To make sure your sausages are fully cooked, stick a meat thermometer in the center before serving or eating them. Sausages made with poultry meat need an internal temperature of at least 165℉. For other types of sausages, the internal temperature should be around 160℉.
The time it takes of how long to boil sausage depends on different factors like the type of sausage, the amount and kind of fillers, the sausage size, and your preferred cooking methods. However, ten to twelve minutes is generally the recommended cooking time for pre-cooked sausages while raw sausages need twenty to thirty minutes of boiling for a thorough cook.