Sausages are a staple dish in many cultures due to their heartiness and versatile flavor combinations. On average, a sausage contains around 30% fat, which is responsible for the flavor’s richness.
But with such high-fat content, do you need oil to cook sausage? You don’t absolutely need to. If you’re cooking it on a frying pan, you can try poking a hole in the sausage and adding water to the pan. You can also try boiling or grilling the sausage instead.
In this article, I’ll get into the details and tell you everything you need to know about how and when to use additional grease in preparing a sausage.
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The Fat Content Is Crucial
Before we take a closer look at whether or not to add oil when cooking a sausage, let’s examine the main factor that will impact this decision. Traditional sausages are made from pork, which contains a lot of fat by default.
However, they’re sometimes mixed with lamb or beef and even poultry. These additions can substantially decrease fat content, thus reducing fat seepage when you cook the sausage.
If a sausage has a lower fat content, adding oil will ensure it cooks properly and tastes better. On the other hand, if you have sausage already high in fat content, adding more during the cooking process might be overkill.
This is the basic principle to adhere to when it comes to sausages and oil. Another factor to consider is whether you want to avoid using oil to avoid excess calories or other health-related reasons.
You don’t need to use oil when cooking sausages, but some cooking methods will require additional steps to achieve the optimal flavor.
Cooking Sausage in a Frying Pan
Sausages are delicious, but let’s face it – they can be easy to ruin. This is particularly the case with the frying pan, which is the most convenient way to prepare sausages. Understandably, you might be hesitant to place the sausages in a hot frying pan without any oil.
The result will be burnt skin and uncooked insides, especially if you’re cooking thick sausages. That is why it’s recommended to use cooking oil when preparing sausages in the frying pan. The amount of oil you’ll need will vary.
If you have thin sausages with high-fat content, then a spritz of cooking spray will suffice. Thicker sausages require medium heat and no more than a tablespoon of oil unless they are really low in fat content. Regardless of how much oil you use, when sausages start cooking, fat will quite quickly seep into the pan.
The end result should be evenly cooked sausages with crisp skin and juicy insides. However, if you’re keen on cooking the sausages in a frying pan with zero oil, then there’s a trick you can apply.
Poke the sausages with a fork, add a little bit of water to the pan, and cover it with the lid. Make sure to let the water evaporate entirely and continue cooking the sausages in the oil that seeped out.
Cooking Sausage in an Oven
A phenomenal thing about cooking sausages in the oven is that there is much less risk of burning them. Sounds great, but do you need oil to cook sausages in the oven? The answer is no – you don’t need it specifically. But it might be a good idea to use a small amount to facilitate the cooking.
Sausages prepared in the oven can come out a little dry because it takes longer to cook them than in a frying pan. A little added oil helps in that respect. Just make sure to turn them over at least once during the baking process.
If you’re thinking about firing up your grill to cook sausages, you don’t need any oil. Your grill might already be greased up from other meat you’ve cooked. But even if it isn’t, adding oil won’t be necessary.
It’s best to ensure the sausages are at room temperature just before you start grilling them. The cooking time will be shorter. Plus, the sausages will be more evenly cooked as well.
Remember not to puncture the skin of the sausage when using the grill. You want to keep all fat inside to retain maximum flavor and moisture (no one likes a dry sausage).
Undoubtedly, a super easy way to cook sausage is to simply boil it. Naturally, you don’t need to use any oil for this cooking method. If you have pre-cooked sausages, it will take no more than ten minutes of your time.
However, raw sausages could take up to 30 minutes to boil. If you’re trying to avoid using excess oil in your diet, boiling is a great way to go. Remember that you won’t get that crispy and brown skin you do with frying, baking, or grilling sausage.
Breading and Deep-Frying Sausage
Admittedly, this is a rarer cooking method for sausages, but still a delicious option. After you coat the sausages in egg wash, cream or milk, and breadcrumbs, you should fully immerse them in hot oil.
The question here isn’t whether you need oil but how much. That will depend on whether you’re using a deep fryer or whether you’re improvising, as well as how many sausage links you’re planning to make. Alternatively, you can have breaded sausages without the oil if you have an air fryer at home.
Which Oil Should You Use for Cooking Sausages?
You can use any type of vegetable oil for cooking sausages. The recommended options are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, but any other will do. You can even use butter if you prefer the taste. Other options include lard, ghee, or even beef tallow.
Clearly, there is no definitive answer to the question of whether you need oil to cook sausages. You might say that the real question is whether you want to use it or not. Some people don’t shy away from adding more grease when cooking sausages because they’re either on a high-fat diet or find them tastier.
Other people love sausages but tend to choose the leaner option. You can control how much oil you need when cooking by choosing the right kind of sausage and deciding on the cooking method.
Frying will likely require some oil, but baking, grilling, and boiling don’t have to. It’s only with deep frying that you’ll need large amounts of cooking oil.