How do I make Italian sausage so it's not greasy?

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Senior Cook
May 11, 2011
Connecticut, USA
My husband loves italian sausage, I don't, so I don't make it often. However, today the sausage at my local grocery store was very fresh in the butcher case, so I got some for him.

Now, every time I've made it in the past its been so greasy, how do I cook this without it coming out so oily? It is packaged in links in casing (hot italian). Do I pierce the casing before I cook it? or should I cook it twice He wants to have it on grinder rolls, "sausage and pepper" style.

Any suggestions would be a great help. Thanks!
You can pierce the skin with a fork, but that will cause flare ups on the grill and/or lots of splattering in the pan. What I do with sausage is start them off in a pan in about an inch of water. Bring to a boil, then turn your heat down and simmer them about 5 minutes a side. Then, drain and rinse. Now you can fry them in the same pan or put them on the grill.
This helps get rid of a lot of grease.
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I like your suggestion, Rock.

Also, piercing can let out too much flavor leaving it tasteless and blah.
Sausages by their nature contain fat. Any heating method that gets the interior hot will melt the fat and allow it to drain off (if you poke a few holes in the casing).

You could poke the casings full of holes, wrap them in a paper towel and microwave them for a few minutes.

Keep in mind, when you are draining off fat, you also lose some flavorful juices.
I start mine in the microwave in a dish water instead of a pan on the stove, then I finish them off on the grill.
I knew I was doing something wrong, I never cooked them with water first before frying. I'm sure doing this will be a big improvement! Thanks!
Before adding Smoked Sausage to Red Beans/Rice or a Gumbo I place it on a broiler pan and into a medium hot oven to render out some of the fat...The sausage browns and the fat drains into the bottom of the broiler pan.....
I simmer it in water , just covering the sauage. I chop up a garlic, onion, lil fennel seeds, if is hot sauage I add red peepper flakes also to the water this way it still keeps the flavor. Then it goes on the grill and brown it up. It always comes out very tasty and not so greasy.
I pierce the casing with a fork, then depending on what I'm making with it, I'll use red or white wine to steam it in the pan. When the wine evaporates I remove the cover and brown it off in the remaining fat. Drain on paper towels. Sometimes, the casing is removed completely and it is browned in a pan. Then it is drained on paper towels. I resort to the latter if bulk isn't available.

This is one of our favorites.
In a slow cooker add 3 large cans of spaghetti sauce (traditional w/o meat) and all your italian sausages. Pierce them evenly to allow the fat to come out.
After 5 hours on low, you will have fat pooled on top of the sauce and sausages, spoon the fat out.
Add sliced onions and peppers and cook until tender (with the sauce).
Serve. (on Buns or on pasta)

The sausages give off lots of fat and the sauce infuses them with moisture and flavor.
bliss beat me to it, except i brown my sausage first.

for really good sausage, it's almost a crime to pierce them to render out the fat. the real talent of a sausage maker is to get a perfect size grind for the type of sausage, and the right amount of fat.

the best way to go, even for sausage and pepper grinders/heroes is to grill, griddle, or pan fry them without breaking the casings at all, then cut them into a pot of sauce. i use my kitchen shears for this while holding each browned sausage over the pot of sauce with tongs.

let simmer for a few minutes in the sauce until just cooked through, or for an hour or two (or more) until they've gone through a tough stage and are getting tender again.

i like a little sauce on my sausage-n-peppers anyway, so this method works really well. plus, you have really tasty sauce to be used in something like a lasagna, or with meatballs afterwards.
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