Fresh Link Sausage - Fresh Bratwurst, Italian Sausage, Fresh Kielbasa, Polish Brand Fresh Sausage, etc.
Fresh link sausage, not cooked during processing, has a pink-to-rosy color. This is a raw meat product and must be fully cooked before eating. This type of sausage is fully cooked when the color has turned gray throughout. Fresh link sausage is best cooked by parboiling, then pan-frying or grilling.
- To Pan-Fry: Place the sausage links in a heavy skillet. Add water to cover sausage and parboil until sausage is gray throughout (10-15 minutes). Drain water. Fry sausage over medium heat until nicely browned.
- To Grill: Parboil as above. (For a special treat, parboil in beer and sliced onions instead of water.) Then grill sausage slowly over coals, which are not too hot, turning frequently, until gray-brown throughout. Fresh sausage may also be placed directly on the grill without parboiling first. With this direct-to-grill method, it is extremely important that the sausage cook slowly and evenly over mature coals to ensure that the sausage is cooked through.
Cooked Link Sausage - Wieners, Frankfurters, Knackwurst, Cooked Bratwurst, Ring Bologna, and other link sausage marked "cooked."
These sausages need only to be heated through. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Boiling Water: Bring a pan of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add sausage. Cover pan and let stand until sausage is heated through, approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Baked: Cooked sausage can be cut in slices or chunks and mixed into a variety of casserole dishes, or placed whole atop food in a casserole, and baked in a moderate oven. Cooked sausage can also be microwaved, grilled, or pan-fried.
With all link sausage, care must be taken not to overcook the sausage, as splitting of the casing may occur. Sausage should be turned only with tongs or a turner, not with a fork, as puncturing the casing will allow flavorful juices to escape.