Fry, Grill, Poach
Some time ago I read a piece in the
Guardian online titled "How to cook
the perfect sausage" which sort of
answered a question that I've been
asking myself recently, whether
actually frying, grilling,
poaching or baking sausages is the best
approach and gets superior results.
The article's conclusion was somewhat
loose, but suggested frying was
best. However we've sampled a
few sausages lately and had serious
sausage rupturing happen on a few
examples when pan frying. Same
pan, same oil type, same
temperature, same rupturing, so is there a better
The particular Guardian article also covered all
about whether to prick sausages
but we'll park that for now and
concentrate on the cooking processes. As I recall the author
did a test in cooking a couple of
sausages by each method comparing
results, which intent is to try
Frying method, straightforward
enough. Grilling (broiling if
you're non-UK) same.
Poaching? In terms of
clarifying what is meant here this
is perhaps a double-cook technique
that Heston Blumenthal would
evidently be proud of.
Poaching sausages in 65°
C water for 20 minutes, then frying
them off in a hot pan. Not
"sous vide" as it will be without
the vacuum bag! Baking
(roasting) in the oven, for approx
20-25 minutes at pre-heated 180°
C / Gas 4.
So with a pack of decent "everyday
sausages", AKA Priors Hall Farm
- Traditional Porks, let me in
the kitchen, I may be some time...
Observations and results then...
Right to left: FRY,
GRILL, POACH, BAKE
BAKING: Roasting really and this isn't rocket
science so as per the above. Quite a
bit of run off of fat in to the
dish. The flavour was drier and the
bite, well you could feel a slight
skins though noticeably toughened,
wrinkled up (no splits) and
the weight loss the highest of all
the methods was 26% (see table
POACHING: OK this is not just
poaching as it involved frying off
at the end in a hot pan, and the
results were interesting as the
skins were less tough than the BAKE
and the GRILL but the sausage was very moist and
succulent. Noticeable was a
small number of oil droplets in the
water that will have been released
from the sausage and when drained
there was a definite "paleness".
When fried off though, the colouring
changed dramatically. No
splits. Weight loss 8%.
GRILLING: This is broiling
for non-UK peeps. I see that
"heat from above" = Broiling, and
"heat from beneath" = Grilling.
So as I'm in the UK, I bunged it
under the grill! The skin
toughened, with a minor split, the
bite was firmer and
the taste became sharper.
Quite a bit of run off of fat in to
the grill pan. Weight loss
FRYING: Using our normal
sampling method results were much
the same as when we tested these
sausages in May 2012. Good
taste and medium bite/soft(ish) skin. Minor
split. Weight loss 9%.
So what's the preference?
Well the POACHING method did
produce a really succulent
result with similar weight
loss to frying, no splits or
ruptures but the
extra "work" and
was a pain. If you've
got the time Sausage
Review can confirm that
this method works.
it though FRYING for us when doing
our sampling is still the most
effective, splits and all, but each to their
own I suppose.