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Old 04-23-2006, 09:49 AM   #1
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The evils of Improper Technique with sausage

I purchased som very good local sausage, in a casing, recently. As I cut the long sausage into manageable links, some of the filling oozed out. As my wife is overly sensitive to pepper, I fried up just a timy pattie to test the flavor. It was great, and the texture was wonderful and juicy. So I put some water in a big pot and brought it to a simmer. I placed the sauceage into the pot and covered it. I let it cook for about 30 minutes. When I took the lid off, the water was boiling rapidly and there was a significant amount of oil that had been leached from the sausage. I removed the meat and placed on an aluminum-lined cookie sheet. I broiled both sides until the casing was lightly browned. The result of this exercise was bland sausage that was both dry, and tough.

Any meat, be it suasage, poultry, beef, pork, or whatever should never be cooked in rapidly boiling water for an extended period of time. The meat will dry out and become tough.

When cooking in liquid, it should be at the point where it is just beginning to boil, and the meat should remain there just until cooked through. The exception to this rule is when you are slow-cooking to tenderize. And then, the water temp should not rise above 180 degrees F. (IMHO). The meat will attain the same temperature as the water. And we all know that meat taken much above 170 begins to dry out and toughen.

By not paying attention to the pot, I turned what could have been a very tasty meal into something I wouldn't serve to anyone else. I cooked up something else for my wife. I ate my helping of the sausage. I have this rule; if I make it, then I eat it. That will help me remember to do it right the next time.

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Old 04-23-2006, 10:14 AM   #2
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Goodweed, could not agree more.

And in our humble opinion it is true for any sausage.

But a number of years ago, when we had not made much of our own, decided to make boudin (the NO version). Or so we hoped cause we had never tried the stuff, and could not find any in the stores.

So found a recipe that sounded fine and carefully made the boudin. Then we put it in to cook and boiled the stuff.

Total disaster, the links all broke through the casings and left naked boudin stuffing in the water. It was still tasty but.........

Then learned just to simmer.

And things work just fine.

But yes, agree as usual, boiling will make any sausage tough.

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Old 04-23-2006, 10:20 AM   #3
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I never boil (or simmer) meat before grilling/broiling/baking. I believe you leave a lot of the flavor of the food in the water.
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:42 AM   #4
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The only meat (besides corned beef) that I have ever "parboiled", or par-simmered, are pork spare ribs. But it's just done briefly to start the cooking process before grilling. I always end up with juicy tasty ribs with a nice crisp exterior. But like I said - the parboil is brief.

As far as sausages go, if doing them inside, I brown them thoroughly in a bit of olive oil, then add a bit of water or broth & cover the pan to help cook them through.
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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I'm right down the middle on this one, the only meat I simmer before cooking is sausage. Otherwise, I'm with Andy.
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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What Andy said. Don't boil, simmer, or any other water method sausage. You are leeching out the flavor AND the moisture.
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:17 PM   #7
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We've had some good results with par-boiling meat recently

HH boiled some brats in beer and onions last night - not too long - and then put them in the grill pan to brown up. There was a scum of oil left in the saucepan, but we did not notice any loss of juiciness or flavor.

Earlier this past week, I boiled some mostly-thawed but seasoned boneless pork ribs in plain water for about 20 minutes or so before putting them in a roasting pan with a little Wicker's (basting sauce) and covering with foil at 300 or 325 (I forget). After about 30-40 minutes I uncovered the ribs, added some Sticky Fingers brand BBq sauce (maybe a half cup?), swirled everything around to get mixed, and returned covered pan to the oven for another 20-30 minutes or so.

Ribs came out nice and tender, almost like pot roast, with a nice flavor.
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:09 PM   #8
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When I "boil" any meat I actually try to catch it just when the first bubbles break, and turn down to a bare simmer. Actually boiling seems to toughen it. Unfortunately, you're left with the "watched pot" syndrome -- you have to spend time really watching your pot. But a stewed chicken turns to rubber pretty quickly, and as you learned, sausages. To avoid losing flavor, you simmer meat in flavorful liquids -- beer, wine, or spiced broth (for example, I always add peppercorns, allspice berries, mustard seeds, and a bay leaf TO the spices that come with a corned beef to give even more flavor. The broth is delicious when you strain out the whole spices. Sausages go into a beer bath. Very seldom does the cooking liquid get wasted, I make soup with most of them. So the flavor isn't really "lost".
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:53 PM   #9
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I have had great success with Italian sausages and others by first carmelizing some onions, then adding beer, and then the sausages and simmering. I prefer to grill Italian sausage, because I don't think beer is really in keeping with the flavors of Italian sausage, but for Bratwurst, simmering in beer is my preffered cooking method.
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Old 06-15-2006, 06:51 PM   #10
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I used to cook larger sausages in a covered frying pan in an inch or so of water if I was in a hurry, and I agree, you leave most of the flavor and juices behind in the pan when you are done.

These days, I think the trend is to not put enough fat in sausages to begin with; I would certainly hate to boil it away. Don't get me started regarding poultry sausage!


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