The internet it seems, is divided on how to cook sausages. You’ve made all the effort to grid, mix and stuff the perfect blend of meat, fat, herbs and spices - lets ensure you get the last step right!
Firstly, make sure that your sausages are dry. If they have too much moisture the oil will spit when fried and you’ll risk splitting casings. The best way to do this is to dab them dry with kitchen roll straight after you have stuffed them and put them on a tray in the fridge for a few hours. This will cool and dry them slightly and will also allow the flavours to further develop.
I don’t oven cook or grill sausages as i find that the oven dries sausages out too much. The grill is fine if you keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get too hot or you’ll split the skins.I don’t think you can beat the taste of a perfectly pan fried sausage!
Now to cooking. The key here is low and slow. Too high a heat and you risk the fat separating and boiling, and the skin burning or splitting.
I prefer to add my sausages to cold pan with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and a knob of butter, and bring slowly up to a medium / low heat. Turn the sausages periodically to ensure they are evenly cooked. For average sized sausages in hog casings this should take around 20 - 25 minutes.
I’m a firm believer in not pricking sausages. The fat inside a sausage keeps them succulent and moist. If you prick the sausage, you risk loosing these qualities! If you are pricking your sausages because you fear them bursting, then you’ve either overstuffed them or you’re cooking them at too high a heat.
It takes a little more effort but poaching or using a sous vide is a great way to cook sausages, ensuring they are not overcooked. You’ll need to brown them off in a pan afterwards to add a little colour and flavour by caramelising the casings, the subject of a future article…