If you’re boiling sausages to cook them, it can be difficult to tell when they’re ready and safe to enjoy.
While checking the color and firmness are commonly used approaches, the most accurate and safe way to know when your boiled sausages are done is to use a meat thermometer.
In this article, I’ll get into all the details about how to tell if boiled sausage is done. Read on to learn more.
How Do You Know When a Sausage Is Done Boiling?
For the most part, you should use accurate methods to determine doneness.
For example, a meat thermometer will help you read the internal temperature of sausage. Then, based on the type of meat emulsion, you will know if you should keep boiling the sausage links or remove them from the water.
Different meats must reach different temperatures to be deemed safe to eat.
Sausages should typically have an internal temperature of 160° Fahrenheit if the ground meat contains pork, beef, veal, and lamb.
However, poultry and game sausage should be cooked until the inside reaches a temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
Ground chicken is particularly dangerous if undercooked due to harmful bacteria like Salmonella.
Although the temperature of whole cuts can be lower for pork, beef, and other meats, ground meats should still be brought up to 165° for safe measure.
Of course, not everyone has a thermometer handy. So, here’s how to tell if boiled sausage is done without measuring the temperature.
Doing a firmness check will work unless the sausages are very thick. In most cases, a link that feels firm and isn’t wobbly when you shake it is done and ready to eat.
However, this method is less accurate for thicker sausages because they can become firm while boiling and still be slightly raw or undercooked in the very center.
How Long Do You Boil Sausage in Water?
To know if boiled sausage is done, you must first understand the differences between cooking raw and pre-cooked sausages.
A pre-cooked sausage requires less boiling time. However, depending on their size and thickness, raw sausages may need to stay submerged in boiling water for up to three times as long as a pre-cooked sausage.
Generally, boiling a sausage for 10 minutes should be enough if you use pre-cooked links. Raw sausages on the other hand may need half an hour or more, depending on their size.
The packaging instructions should also help nail the cooking time if you use packaged sausage.
How Long Do You Boil Fully Cooked Sausage?
Fully cooked sausage shouldn’t be boiled. But, of course, if there’s no other way to reheat the sausage, boiling water can help.
Ideally, you’ll want to bring the water to a boil and then add the sausage. You can then cover the pan and remove it from the heat.
Letting the sausage sit around 10 minutes in boiled water should be more than enough to bring it to a desirable eating temperature.
Should Sausages Be Boiled Before Grilling?
Boiling sausages isn’t mandatory before grilling, but it has some advantages.
Through boiling, sausages retain their moisture and fat. Essentially, boiling traps the flavor inside the casing and prevents it from escaping once the sausage links hit the grill.
In addition, boiling and blanching sausages can pre-cook or thoroughly cook the interior. This makes it much easier to grill sausages as it prevents undercooking, helps keep the meat moist, and considerably reduces cooking time.
A boiled link needs fewer minutes on the grill and often only requires flash-grilling over high heat to caramelize the exterior and create some stunning char marks.
How Long Do You Boil Sausages Before Browning?
Boiling a sausage won’t cause browning, so even fully cooked boiled sausages may not always look appetizing.
However, you can grill or pan fry boiled sausage to give them a nice color and extra flavor.
You can boil a sausage for up to 10 minutes before browning it. Depending on its size, this will be enough to fully or partially cook it before it hits the grill, the pan, or the oven.
Tips for Boiling Sausages
Bring the Pot to Boil First
Avoid putting the sausage first, then placing the pot to boil. This can lead to overcooking and ruining the sausage texture and flavor.
Adding the link just before the water hits the boiling point is best to intensify the flavor and prevent overcooking or splitting the casing.
Cover the Pot
Boiling sausage in a covered pot or pan speeds up the cooking time and is preferred when cooking thicker sausage links.
Don’t Poke Holes in the Sausage
Don’t prick sausages to test doneness or to accelerate the cooking time. Holes will cause the casing to split.
Additionally, pricking leads to fat leaking into the water, resulting in lost flavors and a watery texture.
Use a Thermometer
A pink interior doesn’t always indicate a raw or undercooked sausage. Due to various salt treatments, smoking, and pre-cooking techniques, a cooked sausage can still look pink even after hitting the safe internal temperature.
Use a thermometer or minimal cooking times to ensure a perfect cook instead of using the meat color to decide when to take out sausage from the pot.
Use Spices or Stock for Flavor
Boiling sausages in water won’t enhance flavor. Instead, adding spices is recommended, as is using stock instead of plain water.
Sausages are very versatile and can be cooked in various ways.
While boiling is relatively simple and may even be preferred if you’re on a stricter diet, you must still learn how to tell if boiled sausage is done before plating.
Boiling might be an easy and fast cooking method, but it doesn’t always help intensify the flavor of the sausage.
So remember to have fun, make sausages differently, and add them to new recipes.
And don’t forget that if you want to ensure sausage is safe to eat, firmness and color are never as accurate as a food thermometer.