Sausages are nice to cook on a BBQ but blackened, split sausages are nobody’s idea of a cookout feast, so how exactly do you ensure they come out perfectly cooked? Sausages are made from ground meat which means they do need to be cooked to 160 degrees F in the center to ensure they are safe to eat, but cooking them over a direct heat means the juices will boil inside the sausages, split the casings and then run out into the flames and cause flare-ups. This is why indirect heat is the way to go, and it also gives the sausages a delightful smoky flavor.
You can either give them a couple of minutes over a high heat and then cook them over an indirect heat for half an hour, or you can parboil them first and then continue cooking them on the grill. Our recipe uses this second method. First the sausages are simmered with onions in a beer mixture and then they are grilled until they are cooked through. The simmering gives them plenty of flavor and half-cooks them and then the barbeque finishes them off and gives them a fantastic smokiness.
This German-style recipe produces really flavorful sausages and they are fantastic served with mustard. Offer buns, sauerkraut, pickles and mustard too, if you want to impress your dinner guests with your authenticity. Potato salad is an alternative to the buns and you might wish to try a German-style potato salad to continue the theme. Simply peel and boil some potatoes, then let them cool and toss with oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper. The oil and vinegar makes a change to the mayonnaise used in American-style potato salads and this will pair beautifully with the sausages.
If you do not want to simmer the sausages first you can still barbeque them. Cut them lengthwise about 80 percent of the way through, then you can fold them out and lay them flat on the grill. This cooks the inside fast and stops the skin drying out too much. The problem with this method is it also lets the juices drip out so your sausages are going to be dryer than they otherwise would. If you want to grill the sausages without opening them up you need to be careful with the heat. Have the fire too high and it will burn the outside of the sausages before the inside is even warm, so have the fire low. This means your sausages will take longer to cook but they will keep their flavor and juiciness. If you are doing this, you do not even need to puncture the casings and in fact you should not, else the juices will drip out over the long cooking time and they will still end up dry.
If you are going to be chopping the cooked sausages for another recipe, such as jambalaya, then use any of these cooking methods. If you plan to serve them straight up then try the following recipe and see how the onion and beer gently flavor the sausages and finishing them off on the barbeque gives them the perfect flavor and texture. Use any sausages you want, such as bratwurst, hot or sweet Italian sausages, linguiça or chorizo.
- 3 lbs uncooked pork sausages
- 1 thinly sliced onion
- 3 cups beer
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Mustard, to serve
- Price the sausages several times using a pin stuck through a cork.
- Put the onion slices in a sauté pan and arrange the sausages on top.
- Pour in the beer and water and simmer the sausages for 4 minutes or until half-cooked.
- Let them drain then separate them into links.
- Preheat the grill to medium and oil the grate.
- Brush oil over the sausages and grill for 5 minutes per side or until they are browned and cooked through.
- If you want crisscross grill marks simply rotate them a quarter-turn every couple minutes.
- If there are any flare-ups, move the sausages to another part of the grill.
- Insert a thin metal skewer into the center of one of the sausages.
- If it comes out hot to the touch, the sausages are done.
- If not, give them another few minutes and repeat the temperature test.
- Let the sausages rest for 3 minutes then serve with mustard or your preferred condiments.
These sausages look so good. They are reddish brown, bright and glossy, and perfect to serve with buns or potato salad, pickles, mustard and perhaps even sauerkraut. Poaching them in beer with onions keeps them moist and juicy for the first part of the cooking and finishing them off gently on the barbeque ensures they can cook without splitting or burning. Make extra if you wish to use some the next day for a tasty jambalaya or sausage carbonara. This is a simple recipe and you can cook the sausages on the barbeque alongside steak or chicken if you want to cook a variety of meats.
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