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Oct 7, 2006 06:17 AM

Boiling Sausage in Beer - safe for kids?

A lot of recipes, or rather cooking methods I see for fresh polish sausage (kielbasa), italian sausage and bratwurst have boiling the sausage as at least part of the cooking method. For polish, some say just boil for 45 min and serbe...others say boil for 10-60 min, then braise or pan fry or grill to get a "crusty skin".

A number of the "boil" proponents say not to boil in water but to do so in beer or something else. The question I have is if boiling sausage in beer causes the sausage to become unsafe (from an alcohol or other standpoint) for minors.

Appreciate any advice on great ways to cook fresh polish, italian and bratwurst sausages.

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  1. I would think that it's perfectly fine for kids. I believe that the alcohol in the beer will evaporate away during the cooking process.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kainoa

      I think it's actually not true that alcohol boils away in cooking (at least not terribly quickly) but I also can't imagine that any significant amount of alcohol seeps into the sausage.

    2. Millions of kids have safely eaten brats and other sausage cooked in beer.

      Just and aside but why would small amounts of alcohol be unsafe for minors? I was brought up with wine at dinner from a very young age and although I was brought up in the States, in Europe this is common. Maybe not so common, I received my first pro wine tasting cup on my fourth or fifth birthday and learned to savor and appreciate wines and spirits well before my teens.

      Children who are exposed to proper alcohol use learn appropriate drinking and the surrounding behaviors and don't become the binge drinking maniacs that kids who never get any experience with alcohol and suddenly go away to college become. Also statistically teens who learn how to handle their alcohol before they learn to drive have a much lower unsafe drinking and driving record than those who have to learn safe alcohol use after learning to drive.

      1. I have a very good friend who's been in AA for decades now who tells me not to worry about, for instance, putting white wine in my moules mariniere or red wine in a boeuf Bourguignon. This same friend will ask me to taste a dessert he's been served to make sure there's no rum or other alcohol in it. I don't know for sure whether the alcohol cooks away or not, but I do know he wouldn't eat it if he weren't pretty darned sure it did.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoanN

          Heating the alcohol, as in a stew or moules, will cook off most of the alcohol, if not all. Stirring a few Tbs. of liqueur into a cream filling for a dessert will have no such effect-- the alcohol wont burn off -- but I suspect it's the very "boozy" taste in a rum dessert that your AA friend objects to.

          I serve brats cooked in beer all the time to my friends' kids. They never seem affected by alcohol, but perhaps it's soaked up by the mass quantities of Pirate's Booty that serves as the amuse for the younger set.

        2. A sausage boiled in beer probably picks up less alcohol than you'd get from eating a ripe orange.

          1. I drink plenty of beer but don't waste any cooking bratwurst or other sausages (!), I just boil in water and then brown in pork fat. I don't think that boiling in beer is a worry for kids though, more a problem for an alcoholic I'd guess. Heating will drive off the alcohol as it has a lower boiling point than water, that's how distilling works - the alcohol vapor is cooled and collected in long tubes that drain away the last bits of water.