Sausages are a delicious and easy meal option for many, but it’s important to make sure they are fully cooked before consumption to avoid any health risks associated with raw meat.
However, determining whether your sausage is cooked thoroughly can be a bit tricky.
In this article, we’ll go over the best methods to determine whether your sausage is fully cooked and safe to eat.
Table of Contents
- How to Know When Sausage is Done
- Ways to Check Sausage Doneness without a Thermometer
- Cooked Sausage Color: What to Look For?
- How to Know if Your Sausage is Undercooked
- Final Thoughts
How to Know When Sausage is Done
The Importance of Cooking Sausage at the Right Temperature
One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking sausage is cooking it at too high a temperature.
This results in overcooked sausage on the outside and undercooked sausage on the inside. The casings may also burst, causing the juices to escape and the sausage to dry out.
To avoid this, cook the sausage low and slow. This method helps preserve the juices and ensures that the inside cooks thoroughly.
The Role of Resting Sausage After Cooking
Resting sausage after cooking is essential to preserving its juices. Like other meats, resting allows for some “carryover cooking,” where the internal temperature increases gradually, completing the cooking process off the heat.
How to Determine When Sausage is Cooked
To ensure that your sausage is fully cooked, you need to check its internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the sausage has reached the recommended temperature.
The following table shows the recommended cooking temperatures and resting times for different types of sausage:
|Type of Sausage||Internal Temperature||Resting Time|
|Beef Sausage||160°F||2 minutes|
|Pork Sausage||160°F||2 minutes|
|Chicken Sausage||165°F||2-3 minutes|
|Turkey Sausage||165°F||2-3 minutes|
|Venison Sausage||160°F||2 minutes|
|Lamb Sausage||160°F||2 minutes|
Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your sausage reaches the recommended internal temperature.
Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and let it rest for the recommended time to preserve its juices.
Ways to Check Sausage Doneness without a Thermometer
While a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check if sausages are cooked, there are other ways to tell if they’re done without one.
The Slice Test
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can use the slice test to check if your sausages are done.
Cut the sausage in half and take a look at the inside. It should be brown and not pink or red. The juices should also not be watery and runny.
If the sausage is still slightly pink, but the juices are thick, you can remove it from the heat and let it finish cooking while resting.
The Pressure Test
Another way to tell if your sausages are cooked is by using the pressure test. A properly cooked sausage should be firm to the touch.
If you pick up a sausage and it flops around like a noodle or feels soft and squishy when pressed with a finger, it’s still underdone.
Cooked Sausage Color: What to Look For?
The color of a cooked sausage can be a good indicator of whether it’s fully cooked or not, but it’s important to note that the ideal color can vary depending on the type of meat and the sausage-making process.
While using a meat thermometer is the most reliable way to tell if sausage is cooked, here’s what to look for in the color of cooked sausage:
Red – Raw Sausage
If the raw sausage is red on the inside, it’s most likely made with beef, lamb, or game meats which are naturally red when raw. Cook this type of sausage until it’s pale pink or brown on the inside.
If the sausage is chorizo and red in color, prioritize checking the internal temperature and texture to tell if it’s cooked.
Pink – Raw Sausage
Sausages made of pork or poultry, such as chicken or turkey, will naturally be pink on the inside when raw. Cook this type of sausage until it’s brown on the inside.
Pink – Cured Sausage
Cured or nitrite-treated sausages will remain lightly pink even when fully cooked. These sausages don’t necessarily have to be cooked, but always confirm with the directions on the packaging.
If cooking cured sausage, cook it until it’s greyish or pale pink on the inside.
Remember that the color of the cooked sausage alone isn’t enough to guarantee that it’s cooked thoroughly.
Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer or use the slice or pressure test method to confirm that the sausage is fully cooked before eating.
How to Know if Your Sausage is Undercooked
When sausages are undercooked, they will feel soft and spongy to the touch due to the incompletely denatured proteins in the meat.
A sure sign that your sausage is undercooked is a bright pink color, almost red in some cases.
Undercooked sausage can also appear slightly shiny due to the grease they release. This is because the fat in the sausage has not been fully rendered.
If you are unsure if your sausage is fully cooked, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and cook it for longer. It’s better to have slightly overcooked sausage than to risk getting sick from undercooked sausage.
Is Slightly Pink Sausage Safe to Consume?
Yes, it is generally safe to eat sausages that are a little pink as long as they have been cooked to the recommended internal temperature of 160-165°F (71-74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria.
Some sausages, such as cured or smoked sausages, may also be naturally pink in color even when fully cooked.
However, if you are unsure about the safety of your sausage, it is always better to err on the side of caution and cook it a little longer to ensure that it is fully cooked.
How Long Should I Cook Pre-cooked Sausage?
Since the pre-cooked sausage is already cooked, it only requires reheating, which can be done on the grill in just a few minutes. You can tell it’s ready by its hot temperature all the way through.
Oven-Cooked Sausage Doneness Detection?
To tell if sausage is cooked in the oven, you can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be 160-165°F for most types of sausage.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can slice the sausage open to check if the inside is pale brown or greyish pink. The outside of the sausage should be golden brown and slightly crispy.
Could You Consume Sausage That is Not Fully Cooked?
In general, undercooked sausage should be avoided as it can contain harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.
Again, always ensure that sausage is cooked to a safe temperature to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.
While a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to check, there are also visual and textural cues you can look for to determine if sausage is cooked.
With practice and experience, you can become more confident in cooking sausage to perfection.