Cooking with Sausages

Full-flavored sausages lend themselves to cool weather cooking. Plus, they are so easy to use!

By FamilyTime


America’s most beloved sausage is the frankfurter, or hot dog. As delicious as hot dogs are, there are far more types of sausages available in the markets. Try them. You and your family will love them!

Fresh Sausages
Fresh sausages such as chorizo, bockwurst, and Italian hot or mild sausages are like other sausages made with ground meat (usually pork) and fat mixed with salt and other seasonings. The mixture is packed into casings and presented as links.

Country sausage is the same thing, only instead of being packed into casings, the meat is formed into patties.

Traditionally, sausages were developed to use every scrap of pork during hog butchering. These days, sausages may be made with meat other than pork such as chicken, turkey, game, or veal. They also are made from fish and seafood and there are even low-fat vegetarian sausages.

Fresh sausages, even those that are lightly smoked, require thorough cooking. Because the meat is ground, the sausages cook quickly.

Cooked Sausages
These may be smoked or not, but are fully cooked before they are sold. Depending on the kind of sausage, cooked sausages may be served warm or not.

Bratwurst, knockwurst, and frankfurters are examples of fully cooked sausages that we cook further before eating. Bologna is an example of a cooked sausage that is served cold or at room temperature.

Other popular cooked sausages include andouille and mortadella.

Kielbasa, linguiça, pepperoni, and salami fall into the category of semidry or dry sausages. Llike cooked sausages these may be served warm or at room temperature.

Cooking with Sausages
Fresh sausages are the most commonly sautéed or grilled sausages. They find their way into meatballs, pepper and onion sautés, and turkey stuffings – as well as casseroles and other one-dish meals.

Small pork sausage links are popular breakfast treats, served alongside scrambled eggs, for instance.

To sauté fresh sausages, puncture the casings with the tines of a fork in several places. Begin cooking the sausages in about a quarter inch of water and once the water evaporates, continue to cook them in the fat they have exuded.

Cook the sausages for five or 10 minutes until browned on all sides and cooked through. Cut one open to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.

As this point, serve the sausage or slice it on the diagonal and sauté the chunks further or add them to dishes with tomato sauce, toss them with rice, pasta, or even potatoes.

Fresh sausages are great on the grill, too. Puncture them as already described and then grill them over medium-hot coals until browned. During the final few minutes of grilling, cover the grill to insure thorough cooking.

Already-cooked and dry sausages are served in preparations such as stews and regional dishes like paella, gumbo, and jambalya.

They also are often found on long buns, topped with mustard, sauerkraut, and other condiments.

Neither cooked nor dry sausages need to be sautéed or grilled before they are added to cooked dishes. Although, they may be – most folks sauté or grill frankfurters and bratwurst before serving.

Storing Sausages
Sausages are terrific for fast, easy meals. Keep fresh sausages on hand in the refrigerator for up to three days, and in the freezer for up to two months.

Cooked sausages last a few more days in the refrigerator than do fresh sausages and freeze beautifully for two months. Dry sausages keep at room temperature for few days and in the refrigerator for three weeks.