How to Use a Meat Thermometer when Grilling Sausage
When it comes to grilling meats, most people seem to have mastered how to grill steaks, burgers, and ribs. But when it comes to sausages, that’s something that even seasoned grill masters often shy away from. The challenge is in getting the sausages’ temperature right. There is also that pervading fear that undercooked meat can pose health risks.
In this guide, you will learn all the essential tips you need to be more confident the next time you grill sausages.
What is the Ideal Sausages Temperature?
The ideal temperature when cooking raw sausage is 160 degrees F. This is the temperature that you need to aim for when cooking.
Allowing the internal temperature to go higher than 160 degrees can cause the fat inside the sausage to melt and drip out. When this happens, you end up with a dry piece of sausage meat because you lose all of the moisture during the grilling process. And when you lose fat and moisture, you also lose flavor.
With the internal temperature of 160 degrees F, the inside of the meat should no longer be pink. You need to cook the sausage at a temperature of 350 degrees F. Cooking it with a fire that is at a higher temperature than that will cause the casing to burst and the delicious liquid and fat to drain away.
Getting the right internal temperature of your sausage is a balancing act. Make sure to keep a close eye on it while grilling so you don’t cook it beyond the ideal internal temperature.
How to Check the Sausage Internal Temperature?
There are numerous ways that you can check the internal temperature of sausages to know that they are cooked right. The first and most obvious way to do that is to use a meat thermometer. It is the most accurate way to check the internal temperature when grilling sausage.
When the sausage feels firm to the touch, you can insert a probe thermometer into the center of the sausage. You should be able to get the temperature reading within seconds. Make sure that the internal temperature is at 160 degrees F. If the temperature reading is below that, you should continue grilling the meat.
When checking the sausage for its internal temperature using a thermometer, you should ideally insert the probe in the same location as last time. The fewer holes you can produce in the sausage, the less the possibility that the fat and juice will escape from it.
Cooking sausage should not be complicated, but when you have the right kitchen tools to help you out, especially when it comes to checking the temperature of the meat, then you won’t have anything to worry about.
How Do You Know if the Sausage is Undercooked?
Eating undercooked sausage can be potentially dangerous. Therefore, it is important to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature so that you can guarantee that the meat is cooked all the way through and that it is not undercooked.
There are several ways to tell if your sausage is undercooked, such as the following:
- The texture of the sausage is one of the best indicators if it is undercooked. The meat should not feel slimy or soft in your mouth. If it is, then there is a big chance that the sausage is undercooked. A perfectly cooked sausage is juicy and firm to bite into.
- Undercooked sausage can also cause an upset stomach. If you experience this along with vomiting and nausea, then there is a possibility that you have consumed an undercooked sausage. Getting the proper cook on a sausage is more than just about the flavor, but it’s also important for health and safety reasons.
- In more severe cases of food poisoning, undercooked sausage can lead to muscle pain and feeling weak. Any stomach issues that are accompanied by a feeling of fatigue or overall weakness is a serious health concern.
Tips for Grilling the Perfect Sausage
Aside from making sure that you can achieve the ideal internal temperature of sausages, there are other steps involved in achieving the perfectly grilled sausage. Here are some of the additional tips that you have to keep in mind.
- Choose the right heat source. There are two options for grilling sausages: use gas or charcoal. Everyone has their favorite, but each has their own set of pro’s and con’s. Charcoal burns brightly and grills meat more efficiently. However, it does not provide you the same level of control that gas offers in terms of manipulating the ideal grilling temperature.
- Clean your grill. Make sure there are no remnants of your previous grilling session as it can affect the quality of your grilled sausage.
- Bring your sausage to room temperature first. It is a no-no to grill sausage straight out of the freezer. By bringing the meat to room temperature, it creates an even cook since the internal and external temperature of the sausage are the same.
- Lightly brush the grill with oil. This will prevent the casing of the sausage from sticking to the grill while you cook it. It will also reduce the possibility of breaking the sausage casing while you cook it, which is crucial in locking all of the delicious juices inside.
- Unlike steaks or hamburgers, where your goal is to bring the heat up high to create a beautiful sear, you will only need to bring the heat up to medium with sausages. Make sure the heat goes up slowly to ensure that the sausage is fully cooked inside.
- If you are accustomed to grilling meat, you might be used to aiming for that beautiful blackened exterior (known as charring). But when it comes to sausages, your aim is for the exterior to caramelize as opposed to charring. You know when your heat is too high when the sausage exterior is turning black. Instead, you want the casing to have a deep brown color.
- Check if it’s done. The easiest way to tell is to use a meat thermometer. Be careful when probing the meat to ensure that you don’t let too much juice out.
With these tips and with a meat thermometer in hand, you should be more confident to add sausages to your grilling arsenal. That way, you and your family (or friends) can enjoy great food and each other’s company.
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