How To Cook Sausages

Sausages on a wooden board with tomatoes and seasoning

There’s not much point in buying a fine sausage and burning the hell out of it. It takes such a lot of work and thought to make an excellent one that we need to treat them with care when they reach our kitchen.

FIRST, SOURCE A GOOD SAUSAGE

– Buy a good sausage that will hold its shape and is not loaded with bread instead of pork. You’ll recognise a cheap sausage because it will burst when the bread inside expands, and the spicing and flavourings will over-power any pork taste.

– A sausage with a lower proportion of pork can often have a better texture than a sausage made from 80-90% fat, but it needs to be made with meat from a juicy well-reared naturally-fed pig, not processed pork.

– Artisan sausages tend to be firmer and made with a high percentage of pork, and the pork used will come from prime cuts rather than trimmings and leftovers from other parts of the pig. You can be sure of its provenance too. They are more expensive, and more meat in the sausage can mean a tighter texture than a cheaper sausage.

– When you buy a pork chop in a butcher or supermarket, which has only a thin edge of fat and is trimmed off its rind, there is a good chance that the missing fat has been used to make sausages elsewhere in the food chain.

– When you buy sausages from a butcher, ask whether they made them in-house – some butchers buy sausages (sometimes they are frozen to start with).

How to eat a sausage

We think the best way to eat an Irish sausage is between sliced bread smothered with salty butter, so the butter melts and dribbles down your chin though it’s also hard to beat a link dipped in Dijon mustard.

How to cook Sausages in the Air fryer

This is my new and favourite way of cooking our sausages, having only recently purchased our Air Fryer. The sausages come out perfectly cooked with lovely crisp skin.

Before placing the sausages in the air fryer, it is recommended to spray the bottom of the air fryer drawer with a couple of sprays of oil – this prevents sausages from sticking….although we find it not really needed with quality sausages.

Then arrange them in a single layer in the air fryer basket, toss them in and shake the basket.

Give them a shake 

After about five minutes, open the basket and check on the sausages.

Most books recommend using cooking tongs to turn each sausage over – this will allow the sausages to evenly cook and brown all over…..but we just give them a quick shake. Works just as well

It’s time to take them out.

After ten to fifteen minutes, check on the sausages again.

If they are brown all over, you can take them out – however, if they require more time, leave them in for just a couple more minutes.

Once cooked through – you can take them out of the air fryer and enjoy.

How to Cook Sausages in the Grill

This is one of my favourite ways to cook our Sunday sausages. 

Instructions:

  1. Heat the grill on medium heat for a few minutes before we start.
  2. Lay out the sausages in two rows across the grill tray. Try to put them in alternating bars.
  3. Heat the sausages for roughly 5 mins; depending on the heat, roll them onto the next row (i.e. 90 degrees) and repeat step 2 until lightly browned.
  4. On the 4th turn, lower the heat and continue to cook until you can see the juices bubbling.

How to cook a sausage gently in a frying pan

Sausages need about 20 to 30 minutes of cooking over the lowest heat possible to become caramelised and cook through without drying.

Instructions

  1. Place a spoonful of good oil in a pan and turn the heat to medium.
  2. When the oil is hot, place the sausages in the pan, and leave for a minute or two to colour, turning once or twice.
  3. When they are coloured on both sides, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave them to cook, checking on them frequently. Turn them only once after 8-10 minutes when they are golden on one side.

Never puncture a sausage with a fork or knife unless you want to release the oil for health reasons – it makes the sausage dry.

How to cook sausage in the oven:

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the links on an oiled baking tray or in a baking dish. Drizzle over a little olive oil. 
  2. Turn once during cooking, halfway through. It takes about 20-25 minutes. 
  3. Eat immediately as they tend to go wrinkly when you leave them for a while (this is why cafés and hotels deep-fry sausages in advance, so they hold their shape and don’t wrinkle when they reheat them – it ruins a good sausage).

More tips on how to cook a sausages

– If you use a stainless steel pan for cooking sausages, they tend to cook quicker, but the caramelisation ends on the pan.

– A non-stick pan uses less oil, and the sausages hold their caramelisation.

– Cast-iron or a copper pan is the best as they allow the sausage to caramelise, and you don’t need as much oil to get the colour. Don’t nudge them when they are cooking, or they will stick, and the flavour in the skin will end up stuck to the pan.