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How to Grill Sausage

Sausage is ideal for parties or other informal gatherings where you want to spend more time socializing than cooking -- because sausage is easy to cook. It is a mixture of meat that is pre-seasoned and contains the right amount of fat so the meat stays moist.

The Best Ways to Grill Sausage

A perfectly grilled sausage will have a crispy exterior with slight browning, and be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a few ways to grill it.

  1. You can cook the sausage slowly over a low temperature, allowing it to absorb smoke flavors from your grill or smoker, then finish it over high heat to get the appetizing exterior.
  2. You can cook the sausage over a consistent, medium heat, allowing the sausage to fully cook while the exterior browns and crisps.
  3. You can pre-cook the sausage by slowly simmering it in liquid, then develop the browning and crispy skin over direct medium-high or high heat.

What Is the Best Sausage for Grilling?

The best sausage for grilling is sausage links, rather than loose sausage meat. The easiest sausages to grill are pre-cooked sausage links because you only need to warm them up, and even if you undercook them, they are safe to eat. Grilling uncooked sausage links, or homemade sausages, requires a little bit more attention because they are unsafe to eat until they have reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Prepare Sausage for Grilling

You don't need to prepare sausage before you put it on the grill.

But you can prepare sausage for the grill if you choose. The most common thing people do before putting sausage on the grill is to pre-cook it.

The danger of cooking the sausage from start to finish on the grill is that the outside will start to overcook and burn before the interior is fully cooked.

Pre-cooking the sausage gets it almost, but not quite, fully cooked. You can then finish the sausage on the grill. This makes it a little bit easier to control the grilling and get crisp skin.

How to Pre-Cook Sausage

Put the sausages in a saucepan. Add a liquid like broth, beer, or plain water, until just covering the sausage. Turn the heat to medium low and cook over a low simmer until the sausage reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

A low simmer will prevent the sausage from overheating and bursting its casing.

The Best Grill Temperature for Sausage

We recommend grilling sausage at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. At very high temperatures, the casing of the sausage may split, and cause the delicious liquid to drain out of the sausage.

How Long to Grill Sausages

Grill sausages over medium heat (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

This process will take approximately 20 minutes -- 10 minutes on each side.

If you pre-cook the sausage, the cooking time will be less.

Another method of cooking sausage on a Traeger is to smoke it at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately an hour, then finish by cooking it at 450 degrees for approximately 5 minutes.

How Do You Know a Sausage Is Cooked?

Sausage is cooked when a thermometer shows the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other Sausage Cooking Questions

Here are some common questions about cooking sausage. Let's clear up some confusion, myths, and misconceptions.

Should You Boil Sausage Before Grilling?

Never boil sausage before grilling. When exposed to the high heat of a boil, the sausage casing can break, and delicious flavor will leak into the boiling water. You can pre-cook sausage before grilling, but only do so over a slow simmer. See "How to Pre-Cook Sausage" above for more info.

Should You Puncture Sausage Before Grilling?

Never puncture sausage before grilling. Putting holes in the sausage will allow the liquid inside the sausage to leak out during cooking, and the sausage will be less moist.

It is sometimes said that puncturing sausage before grilling will keep the casing from bursting, but a better solution to this problem is to cook over low to medium heat.

Should You Slice Sausage Before Grilling?

You do not need to slice sausage before grilling. You can slice fully pre-cooked sausage before grilling, if you plan to serve the sausage slices as an appetizer. Never slice uncooked sausage before grilling, because this will destroy the casing and cause the sausage to crumble during cooking.

How Long Should You Grill a Sausage Ring on the Grill?

A sausage ring is no different than a sausage link when it comes to cooking times -- as long as the entire ring can fit on your grill. Grill the ring over medium heat (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for approximately 10 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

How Do You Cook Vegetarian Sausage?

Most vegetarian sausage is fully pre-cooked, and just needs to be cooked until it is warmed through. Consult the package instructions to be sure.

What to Eat With Grilled Sausage

Serve grilled sausage alongside grilled onions and peppers. Or serve it on a bun with plenty of condiment options like ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, relish, and pickled peppers.

If grilled sausages are a main dish, pair them with classic picnic salads like potato salad, bean salad, and macaroni or pasta salad, with light vinegar dressing. These salads have a heavier texture that complements sausage, and also a little bit of tang from mustard or vinegar that contrasts nicely with the meatiness.

Grilled Sausage Recipes

These recipes give you specific instructions for different types of sausages.

How to Grill Polish Sausage

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

4 whole polish sausages

1/2 cup Traeger Sweet & Heat BBQ Sauce

4 whole hot dog buns

How to Grill Bratwurst

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Ingredients

4 bratwursts

1/2 cup brown and yellow mustard seeds

1 cup cold beer

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

salt

4 hot dog buns

sauerkraut, for serving

See our Tips for Smoking and Grilling Bratwurst for more information.