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Post Tue May 04, 2004 9:59 am
Smokecoat rare

Posts: 39
Location: Overland Park, KS
I have a feeling that this has been addressed before but...

Does anyone agree with the idea of first boiling sausages before putting them on the grill to finish them off? I know it's blasphemy around here to boil most meat, but since sausages are in a casing, I'm wondering if it's an ok idea so that they are sure to be cooked before slapping them on the grill. I should add that I don't plan on smoking them, so a 2 hour sausage cook is pretty much out.


Post Tue May 04, 2004 10:12 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Smokecoat, there's a philosophy that I’ve adopted from a few posts last year. If you’re paying for the food and/or the one cooking the food, then you should have it the way you like it!

I don’t recommend boiling meat unless you’re making a soup, stew, chili or the like. I used to, and then I found that it leached most of the flavor out of the meat.

Sausages will cook pretty rapidly on the grill over a medium heat. It should take about 5-7 minutes per side rotating to 4 sides of the sausage for a total of 20-30 minutes. That’s probably less time that it would take to boil them and then transfer to the grill to brown & crisp anyway.

Post Tue May 04, 2004 10:20 am
PaulP well done
well done

Posts: 681
Location: Beautiful St. Mary's County, Maryland
No no no no no no

I just did a bunch of Italian sausage last night, and there is no need to do anything but grill them. Boiling meat is how we create stock. The reason for this is that boiling extracts the flavor from the meat.

To grill sausages, first poke several holes in the casing with a toothpick. This will help keep the casing from splitting due tro trapped steam. Sear them over high heat for a few minutes on each side, then reduce heat to medium-high and grill until brown all over and they feel firm when pressed. Total time is about 15 mins. Don't overcook. Remember all the potential nasties are killed by 140 degrees. The same technique works for sausages in one big piece (curl it on the grate) or separate sausages.
If you don't like the food, have more wine

Post Tue May 04, 2004 11:52 am
RichD medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
I agree with Bob-BQN in that if your paying for it then have it the way you like it.
Now as to whether or not to boil that is a matter of personal preference. I have done it both ways and have not noticed any difference in taste as long as you don't boil them too long. Boiling them renders out the fat and helps with flare ups. Boiling them too long will cause them to dry out on the grill.
I have done them like Steve has in HTG. Simmered them in beer and onions for a short period of time then finished them on the grill. They come out good and the beer and onions give them a little flavor as well. Again the key is not to simmer them too long.
I have also done them right on the grill. Like Paul I sear them first then bring down the heat to finish them.
I like them either way.


Post Tue May 04, 2004 6:15 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
I agree with Bob-BQN and Rich D as well.
I also have done them both ways. When I boiled mine, I heavily seasoned the cooking liquid and poked holes in the casing first. The sausages took on the flavor from the liquid very well. My favorite way to cook them however, is smoking. I poke the casing all over, and then place the raw sausages in 225 degrees smoker and smoke them for 4-6 hours or until the internal temp reaches 180 degrees. The more spicy the sausages, the better I like them, but use whatever you like. I use Hickory or mesquite wood and apple works well with sweet pork sausages.
Give it a try and judge for yourself.

Post Wed May 05, 2004 12:05 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Are you boiling/simmering to make sure that they're done all the way through?
If so, Steven just adressed grilling brauts on his show last saturday. He covered 2 ways to check for doneness. If you missed it, see The Barbecue Bible p. 22. Basically, there's a feel test and testing with an instant read thermometer.
Also, I like his idea of brushing the sausages with oil before grilling to crisp the skins. Last week, I had the privaledge of trying Steven's brauts firsthand. Those were pretty much perfect sausages. Nice smoke-rings too.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Wed May 05, 2004 12:19 pm
RichD medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Actually, when I boil / simmer them it is to infuse a little flavor and render some of the fat just starting the cooking process. If you allow the to boil or simmer too long you will render out too much fat and they will cook so quick on the grill that you'll have dry sausage before you know what happened.
I had sausage last night and just cooked them on the grill. Started them high to sear and finished them with medium heat.


Post Wed May 05, 2004 12:29 pm
hankgni medium-rare

Posts: 56
Location: Chicago Ridge, IL

I agree wholeheartedly with what has been said by most of the previous replies. Never, Never boil the sausages whether fresh or previously cooked by a food processor. Most of the flavor will get leached out of the product by boiling or simmering. What a waste! For some reason my wife also like todo this and for the life of me I can't figure out why, when she cooks sausages her way she boils them for an awful long time then she puts them on the grill and cooks them somemore. I keep telling her once the sausages hit over 160°F they are fully cooked.

Now saying that, I have a friend that does also boil the fresh sausages like bratwurst, but he boils them in beer. Now this will impart some flavor grant it, but he also says that he does it to reduce flare-ups. Well if you follow Steven's rules about not abondoning your post and having multiple cooking zones this should not be a problem, especially with a water spritzer. Also using tongs instead of a fork will also stop some of the flare-up problem.

Good Luck and happy grilling.

Post Wed May 05, 2004 1:29 pm
RichD medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Sounds like your wife is boiling them too long and rendering out all of the fat. When she puts them on the grill they will dry out right away.
The type of boil / simmer I am talking about is a very short ( maybe 4-8 minutes) just to start the process and add flavor if that is what I want at that time. Done right when transfered to the grill and finished you will still get a flavorful and not dried out sausage.
Keep in mind I do them both ways it just depends on my mood at the time.
I do agree however that if you are going to do them on the grill that a 2 or 3 zone fire is needed and definitely use tongs. On a gas grill start on high to sear then reduce to med / medium low to finish.


Post Wed May 05, 2004 8:03 pm
AndyC medium-rare

Posts: 87
Location: Oshkosh, WI

If I'm using links - I don't like to boil or simmer them as it leaches out a lot of flavor. I cook them indirect to avoid flare-ups. If you want to impart more flavor, like beer, soak them in beer, garlic, onions, etc before grilling.

My favorite may to cook sausage is out of the casing , flat , directly on the grate. Or you can make your own:

Sweet Basil Sausage


Fennel Sausage
My BBQ/Grilling log -

Post Thu May 06, 2004 10:59 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Boy Andy does that look GREAT!
You've got me hungry.

Post Thu May 06, 2004 12:09 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
I knew this thread would go about like it did. :lol: Me, I'm not much on boiling meat no matter how long.

Post Thu May 06, 2004 12:15 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5469
Location: Damascus, Maryland

When you get in that close it starts to look scary!

We do our Jimmy Dean and Bob Evans patties the same way. No grease in the kitchen
and better flavor.

Still haven't gotten her used to that morning single malt while grilling! :wink:


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