Every grill expert must know how to grill sausage as it’s quite a challenging task. Cooking a sausage without burning it on the outside is difficult, and flare-ups from dripping fat make it even more difficult…if you cook them over direct heat. Sausages are excellent options for grill sear; start them over low heat and leave them until they are done. To finish, brown the sausage quickly over direct heat.
Many countries around the world consider sausage to be a staple dish. It’s made with ground meat, such as beef, pork, or poultry, as well as salt, spices, and other seasonings. It may also include fillers like breadcrumbs or grains. These ingredients are encased in a skin made of intestine or other materials such as collagen and cellulose. Surprisingly, how you cook sausages changes their nutritional composition, implying that certain cooking methods are better for your health than others. Other methods may even expose you to more toxic compounds. As a result, you may be wondering about the best ways to prepare this delectable dish.
How to Grill Sausage?
Grilling sausage appears to be a simple task, but as with most simple tasks, doing it well is not the easiest thing in the world. (Isn’t it annoying how that happens?). If you grill them too quickly, the casing will burn and break before the sausage is fully cooked, resulting in completely dry and crumbly sausage. That’s not good! & while you can go the “low-and-slow” route (ahem, beer brats! ), it requires some planning. That’s also not the stupid easy summer dinner we’re looking for!
Zone Grilling 101
The secret to grilling sausage perfectly every time is zone grilling. By dividing your grill into two heat zones, you can cook the sausage with gentle, steady indirect heat before grilling them over strong direct heat for a deliciously charred finish. It’s incredibly simple, and the sausage comes out perfectly every time.
Zone grilling is a method that uses both direct and indirect heat. Zone grilling is one of my favorite techniques, and it’s the key to my perfect grilled buffalo chicken wings, the best-grilled BBQ chicken I’ve ever had, Wisconsin-style beer brats made entirely on the grill, so much more.
Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never grilled with indirect heat before. It’s the most basic thing.
Zone grilling on a gas grill – To prepare for zone grilling, turn 1-2 burners to their highest heat setting and 1-2 burners to their lowest heat setting. This results in two zones of direct heat: one with strong direct heat (directly over the “high” burner flames) and one with gentler direct heat (directly over the “low” burner flames).
Zone grilling on a charcoal grill: Light your charcoal grill and arrange the majority of it on one side of your grill to prepare it for zone grilling. This results in a zone of intense direct heat (directly over most of the charcoal) and a zone of gentler direct heat (the grill area with less charcoal).
How to Grill Sausage with Indirect Heat?
The best way to grill sausage is to use zone grilling and indirect heat.
The 2-zone method allows you to first cook the sausage over low, steady indirect heat before grilling it over high, direct heat for a deliciously charred finish. It’s incredibly simple, and the sausage comes out perfectly every time. This is how you do it:
First, cook the sausage over low heat: Arrange the sausage on the grill’s indirect heat side. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, with the lid closed. The heat from the grill’s direct heat side will circulate the sausage, cooking it with very gentle indirect heat.
The sausage should then be char-grilled over direct heat: Place the sausage on the grill’s direct heat side. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until desired char.
That’s all! The sausage is perfectly grilled every time, and it couldn’t be simpler.
How Long should Sausage be Grilled?
Using the 2-zone grilling method described above and in the Recipe Card below, the sausage will grill for about 12-15 minutes. Cook the sausage for 8-10 minutes on indirect heat before finishing it on direct heat for 4-5 minutes, or until it’s as crusty as you like.
What are Other Cooking Methods of Sausages?
Sausages are versatile food that we can prepare in various ways. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular approaches. Boiling is one of the simplest methods for making sausage links at home.
Place the sausages, one at a time, into a pot of boiling water and allow them to simmer. Pre-cooked sausages take about 10 minutes to cook, while raw sausages can take up to 30 minutes.
Remember that boiled sausages will not have a brown and crispy exterior. However, brown them in a frying pan with a little oil afterward.
Remember that only sausage links can be boiled, not patties. Some of the other methods listed below are better for making patties.
Broiling and Grilling
Place the sausages on a grill and cook for 8-12 minutes, turning them every few minutes until they’re evenly colored.
Place them on a broiler pan in the oven and set the function to broil. Cook for 5 minutes before turning and continuing to cook for another 5 minutes.
It’s important to note that the high temperatures used in grilling and broiling can result in the formation of potentially harmful compounds like heterocyclic amines (HAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
HAs and PAHs have been linked to an increased risk of several cancers, whereas AGEs have been linked to an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and skin disorders.
Stir-Frying and Pan-Frying
Pan- and stir-frying involve cooking in a skillet, wok, or pot at high temperatures. While stir-frying requires constantly flipping or stirring sausages as they cook, pan-frying does not.
To pan- or stir-fry sausages, brown them on both sides on the stovetop with a little oil, and this takes between 10-15 minutes, depending on their size.
By cutting into one of the sausages in the center, you can see if they are done. It is done if the meat is firm; if it is pink and runny, it requires more time. Cooking time can be reduced by slicing or butterflying the sausages.
Pan- or stir-frying sausages, like grilling and broiling, can increase the risk of HA, PAH, and AGE formation for an extended period.
Deep frying is completely immersing food in fat while cooking. Most sausages are breaded ahead of time.
To deep-fry sausages, coat them in an egg wash (a mixture of beaten eggs and water, cream, or milk), then in a breadcrumb mixture or batter.
Heat a deep fryer to 375°F (190°C) with a healthy oil such as coconut, olive, or avocado. Fry the sausages for 5 minutes or until done.
Because they have a moderate to the high smoke point and are less processed than other options, the oils listed above are ideal for deep frying.
Although deep-fried sausages are delicious, this method significantly increases their total fat and calorie content. Deep frying may also increase the risk of HAs, PAHs, and AGEs.
As a result, deep-fried sausages should be avoided if you’re watching your weight, calorie intake, or overall health.
What are the Best-Grilled Sausages?
Before we get into the how-to, let’s start with the most important part: the sausage!
This post will show you how to grill fresh (raw) sausage. So long as it’s a fresh sausage in a casing, the process will apply to any variety of fresh sausage – chicken sausage, pork sausage, brats, Italian sausage, chorizo, etc.
To grill fully cooked sausage, such as the amazing chicken sausages available in a variety of flavors these days, smoked sausage or kielbasa, hot dogs, and so on, it couldn’t be easier:
Heat the grill to medium-high direct heat.
Grill the sausage over direct heat, occasionally flipping, until heated through and as crusty and charred as desired.
What Temperature should I Grill Sausage?
When using 2-zone grilling to grill with indirect heat, the temperature of your grill should be quite high – between 500 and 600 degrees F.
The finished cooking temperature of the sausage will vary depending on the type used. Pork-based sausage is safe to eat at 160 degrees F. In contrast, we must fully cook chicken-based sausage at 165 degrees F. Once the internal temperature is about 15-20 degrees F below the final cooking temperature, I recommend switching from indirect to direct heat.
(Remember, the only way to be certain about doneness is to take the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.) Check out our Must-Have Grilling Equipment for more information!)
Should I Cook the Sausages Before Grilling Them?
You do not have to! The 2-zone grilling method used in this sausage recipe eliminates the need to boil or cook the sausage before grilling it, ensuring that the sausage remains completely juicy and tender – promise!
What Goes Well with Grilled Sausage?
It’s funny you should ask! That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about next…
Let’s talk about toasted buns and toppings: What distinguishes a good bun? A good sausage bun, in my opinion, has a nice balance of softness and sturdiness.
A pillowy, soft bun will wrap around the sausage as you eat it, but it must also be sturdy enough not to split at the seam. Brioche buns are my favorite for brats or grilled sausages because they are pillowy and soft and do not easily break apart.
Then come the garnishes! Toppings are optional at our house, but it’s a quick way to make a heartier dinner. When it comes to toppings, you can go wild and have fun depending on the type of sausage you’re grilling. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Classics: Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise are always a good place to start! We love a tangy Dijonnaise, which is made by combining 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
Pickle relish, sauerkraut, or another tangy slaw.
Grilled peppers and onions are especially tasty with Italian sausage!
Make some esquites-style corn to go with chorizo or other cilantro-jalapeno sausages.
Or go Chicago style, with everything – mustard, sweet relish, onion, tomato, dill pickles, and celery salt.
What should you Serve with Grilled Sausage?
With your toppings and perfectly toasted buns in place, you’re only one step away from the ideal grilled sausage dinner! Finally, you’ll need some solid sausage sides.
When deciding what to serve with sausage, we like to keep things simple. Here are a few of our favorites…
Serve with your favorite summer side dishes, such as potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, or broccoli salad. Make your favorite recipes, or get them from the deli at the store for a quick sausage dinner.
A chilled salad is the best summertime favorite. Try this grated zucchini salad (delicious!) or this falafel-Esque quinoa salad (outstanding!). Both are extremely simple to prepare while the sausage grills.
Grilled vegetables, No summer meal is complete without grilled vegetables! Grill corn on the cob, peppers and onions, asparagus, sweet potatoes, or fries. Yum!
Pasta salad is the epitome of summer cuisine! Make this Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad or this Creamy Southwest Pasta Salad.
Another summertime favorite is Panzanella. This recipe is ideal because you’ll already have the grill going for the sausage.
Dinner is ready when you plate it with the sausage. (All in less than 15 minutes!)
We can prepare sausages in a variety of ways. Boring and baking are the healthiest methods because they use little oil. Pan- and stir-frying, on the other hand, are good options as long as you use a healthy oil.
Conversely, deep frying is the least healthy way because of the fat and calories it adds. Whatever method you use, avoid charring or burning your sausages, as this can produce harmful compounds. Remember that sausages and other processed meats have been linked to an increased risk of various diseases, including cancer. As a result, you may want to limit your consumption.