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 way.
The particular Guardian article also covered
all about whether to prick sausages before
cooking 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 myself.
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 quite "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: BAKE, POACH, GRILL, FRY
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 taste was
drier and the bite, well you could
feel a slight bagginess. The skins
though noticeably toughened,
wrinkled up (no splits) and the
weight loss the highest of all the
methods was 26% (see table below).
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 18%.
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
saucepan/thermometer time was a
pain. If you've got the time Sausage
Review can confirm that this method
Let's face it though, FRYING for us
when doing our sampling is still the
most effective, splits and all, but
each to their own I suppose...