How to Cook Sausage
There are different types of linked sausage which require different preparation techniques. Fresh Sausage, which includes fresh bratwurst, fresh Italian sausage and fresh kielbasa, is not cooked during processing and must be cooked thoroughly and completely before consuming. Fresh sausage may be cooked in two ways. It can be parboiled and then fried or grilled, or slow cooked in a fry pan or grill.
To parboil, place sausage links in a heavy skillet. Add water to cover sausage and par-boil until sausage is grey throughout (about 10 to 15 minutes.) The sausage then can be fried until nicely browned.
Parboiled sausage also may be grilled slowly over coals, turning frequently until grey-brown throughout.
For a special taste treat, par-boil sausage in beer prior to grilling. To use this method, substitute beer for water. According to Peter LaFrance, author of Cooking and Eating With Beer, stronger flavored beers tend to impart more flavor to sausage. Beers that are heavy on malt will impart a sweeter flavor, which may complement a strong sausages. Lagers, when used this way, tend to be more bitter and complement a sweeter sausage well. Onions can be added to the beer while parboiling for additional flavor.
Sausages also may be direct grilled. Using this method, it is extremely important that the sausage cook slowly, thoroughly and evenly over mature coals.
Cooked Sausage like wieners, knockwurst, cooked bratwurst and smoked sausage need only be hearted since it was cooked thoroughly during processing. This can be done in a variety of ways. To steam precooked sausage, bring a pan of water or beer to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and add sausage. Cover the pan and let it stand 10-15 minutes. It is not advisable to add sausages to vigorously boiling water because it may cause them to split. Cooked sausage also can be baked in casserole dish, microwaved, grilled or pan-fried.
All sausages should be turned with a tongs or a turner, not with a fork, because puncturing the casing allows the flavorful juices to escape.