To truly master the art of grilling sausages on your charcoal or gas cooker, it’s important to understand the diverse world of sausages.
While sausages have their origins in Europe, they have gained immense popularity in the United States as well.
Sausages can be made with a wide array of ingredients, ranging from traditional meat-based options to creative vegetarian varieties.
The filling options are virtually endless, with beef, pork, veal, venison, turkey, and chicken being some of the most commonly used meats.
Before you fire up your grill, take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of sausages available.
From classic bratwursts and hot dogs to gourmet artisanal sausages with unique flavor profiles, there is a sausage for every taste preference.
Knowing the variety of sausages will help you choose the right type for your grilling session and ensure that you achieve perfection in every bite.
So, whether you’re a seasoned grilling pro or a novice cook, understanding the different types of sausages available is the first step towards grilling sausages to perfection and impressing your friends and family with a delectable meal hot off the grill.
Types of Sausages for Grilling
When it comes to grilling sausages, there are numerous options to choose from, each with its own unique flavors and textures.
Here are some popular types of sausages that are perfect for grilling.
- Bratwurst. Originating from Germany, bratwursts are made with pork or veal, and are typically seasoned with spices such as nutmeg, mace, or ginger. They have a juicy texture and a slightly sweet flavor, making them a classic choice for grilling.
- Italian Sausage. Italian sausages are often made with pork and seasoned with herbs like fennel, garlic, and paprika. They can come in both sweet and spicy varieties, and their robust flavor pairs well with grilled vegetables and peppers.
- Chorizo. This Spanish sausage is known for its smoky and spicy flavors, thanks to the use of paprika and chili powder. Chorizo can be made with either pork or beef, and it adds a burst of boldness to any grilling session.
- Andouille. Hailing from Louisiana, USA, andouille sausage is commonly used in Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is made with smoked pork, seasoned with spices like garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper, and has a smoky, savory flavor that adds depth to grilled dishes.
- Hot Dogs. A classic American favorite, hot dogs are made with a combination of pork, beef, or poultry, and are seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices. They are typically served in a bun and can be customized with various condiments and toppings.
- Kielbasa. Originating from Poland, kielbasa is a smoked sausage made with pork or beef, and is seasoned with garlic, marjoram, and other spices. It has a firm texture and a rich, savory flavor that is delicious when grilled.
- Chicken Sausage. For those looking for a leaner option, chicken sausage is a great choice for grilling. It is made with ground chicken meat, and can be flavored with various herbs, spices, and even fruits, offering a lighter yet still tasty option for grilling.
These are just a few examples of the many types of sausages that are perfect for grilling.
Whether you prefer a traditional bratwurst, a spicy chorizo, or a flavorful Italian sausage, there’s a sausage option to suit every palate when it comes to grilling.
Know Your Sausages – A Guide to Grilling Fresh, Cooked, Dry, and Sausage Meat Varieties
Learn about the various kinds of sausages that you can grill at home…
- Fresh Sausages are made from fresh and uncooked meats. They haven’t been smoked or cured in any way. These sausages can take longer to cook thoroughly, but the fresh ingredients allow for unique and very pleasant flavors.
- Cooked Sausages (also known as pre-cooked sausages) are made fresh by a butcher or food producer and are then packaged and sold to consumers. Cooked sausages can be served cold or reheated on a grill. The benefit of cooked sausages is reduced cooking time. If you need to prepare a lot of food for a large group of friends and family, these sausages will often be your best bet.
- Dry Sausages are also popular. These are sausages that have been cured through a smoking or drying process. Some popular examples include salami and pepperoni. While these aren’t often cooked on a grill, you might use these sausages to make BBQ pizza and other special dishes.
- Sausage Meat is another option that you might cook on your grill’s hot plate or even in a skillet on a side burner. Sausage is ground and seasoned meat. It’s similar to what you would find in the casing of fresh or cooked sausages. It’s a popular ingredient for pasta dishes and for Italian pizzas.
When learning how to grill sausages perfectly every time, you’ll typically work with fresh or pre-cooked sausages.
The cooking techniques are incredibly easy to learn, and you’ll rely on them during every grilling season to come.
How to Grill Sausages at Home- The Top Three Techniques
Grilling sausages at home is a delicious way to enjoy their juicy flavors and smoky char. Here are three popular techniques for grilling sausages:
Direct grilling is the most common method for grilling sausages. It involves placing the sausages directly over the heat source, such as charcoal or gas burners.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Preheat your grill. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 350-400°F (175-200°C). If using charcoal, let the coals burn until they are covered with white ash.
- Prepare the sausages. If the sausages are fresh, prick them with a fork or make small slits to prevent them from bursting during cooking. If they are precooked, this step may not be necessary.
- Grill the sausages. Place the sausages directly on the grill grates, perpendicular to the grates to avoid them from rolling. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side, turning occasionally, until they are browned and cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) for pork or beef sausages, or 165°F (74°C) for chicken sausages.
- Rest and serve. Remove the sausages from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a juicy and flavorful bite. Serve hot with your favorite condiments or in buns for a classic sausage sandwich.
Indirect grilling involves cooking the sausages away from the direct heat source, which allows for slower and more even cooking, and helps to prevent flare-ups.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Preheat your grill. Preheat one side of your grill to medium-high heat, around 350-400°F (175-200°C), and leave the other side unlit or on low heat to create an indirect grilling zone.
- Prepare the sausages. Prepare the sausages as mentioned in step 2 of the direct grilling method.
- Grill the sausages indirectly. Place the sausages on the unlit or low-heat side of the grill, away from the direct heat. Close the lid and let them cook for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned and cooked through to the desired internal temperature.
- Finish with direct heat (optional). If you prefer a charred crust, you can move the sausages to the direct heat side of the grill for the last few minutes of cooking to get some char marks on them. Just be sure to keep a close eye on them to avoid burning.
- Rest and serve. Remove the sausages from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot with your favorite accompaniments.
Parboiling and Grilling
Parboiling, or partially boiling the sausages before grilling, is a technique that can help to reduce the risk of sausages bursting during grilling and ensure they are cooked through evenly.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Parboil the sausages. Place the sausages in a pot of boiling water and cook them for about 5-7 minutes. This partially cooks the sausages and helps to release excess fat.
- Prepare the grill. While the sausages are parboiling, preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 350-400°F
Boiling Before Grilling
To achieve perfectly grilled sausages with a dark sear and thoroughly cooked insides, a simple technique is to boil them first.
Boiling the sausages ensures that they are cooked through, allowing you to achieve a beautiful sear on the grill without worrying about undercooked insides.
Start by briskly boiling water in a pot, or you can use a side burner if you have one on your grill.
Carefully add the sausages to the boiling water and watch them closely.
When you start to see the casing tighten, it’s time to remove them from the water.
Let the sausages rest for a minute to cool down slightly, and then transfer them to your preheated grilling surface.
The boiling step helps to partially cook the sausages, so you can be more aggressive with the heat on your grill without worrying about over or undercooking.
Grill the sausages to your desired level of sear and color, turning them occasionally for even cooking.
The boiling step ensures that the sausages remain juicy with soft casings, while the high heat of the grill creates that perfect sear.
Once you’ve achieved the sear and color you want, your sausages are ready to be served.
This method of boiling first and then grilling creates sausages that are thoroughly cooked, juicy, and bursting with flavor.
It’s a simple yet effective technique to elevate your grilled sausage game and impress your guests with delicious results.
The Benefits of Grilled Sausages
Grilling sausages has several benefits that make it a popular cooking method for this delicious meat treat.
Some of the key benefits of grilling sausages include.
- Flavor. Grilling imparts a distinct smoky flavor to sausages that is hard to replicate with other cooking methods. The high heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars in the sausages, creating a delicious charred crust that adds depth and complexity to the flavors.
- Juiciness. Grilling sausages helps to retain their natural juices, resulting in a moist and succulent bite. The heat of the grill seals in the flavors and juices, keeping the sausages moist and preventing them from drying out.
- Versatility. Grilling allows for a wide range of sausage types and flavors to be cooked, from classic bratwursts and hot dogs to spicy Italian sausages and gourmet artisanal sausages. You can choose from a variety of sausages with different meats, spices, and seasonings to suit your taste preferences.
- Convenience. Grilling sausages is relatively quick and easy, making it a convenient option for weeknight dinners or backyard barbecues. With just a few simple steps, you can have deliciously grilled sausages ready to serve in no time.
- Customization. Grilling sausages allows you to customize the cooking process to your liking. You can control the level of doneness by adjusting the cooking time, and you can add extra flavor by using different types of wood chips or marinades.
- Healthier Option. Grilling sausages can be a healthier cooking method compared to frying, as it allows excess fat to drip away from the sausages as they cook, reducing the overall fat content. Additionally, you can choose leaner cuts of sausage or opt for chicken or turkey sausages for a lower-fat option.
- Socializing. Grilling sausages is often a social activity that brings people together, whether it’s for a backyard barbecue, tailgating, or a casual gathering. It creates a fun and interactive cooking experience where people can gather around the grill, enjoy the aromas, and share delicious grilled sausages with friends and family.
In summary, grilling sausages is a popular cooking method that offers a variety of benefits, including enhanced flavor, juiciness, versatility, convenience, customization, and potential health benefits.
It’s a delicious and enjoyable way to cook sausages, perfect for gatherings or simply enjoying a flavorful meal at home.