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How long do I boil/simmer pork sausages before browning them?

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I want to make all pork italian sausages tonight.
I was going to simmer them before browning them (recommended on a previous post). How long do they need to boil before I brown them?

Is this the best way to cook sausages? Any recs would be appreciated.

Thanks :)

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  1. I never b oil my sausages. If you don't want to pan fry them, simply put them in a casserole dish, and into the oven at about 350. I think I cook them for a bit longer than an hour. They willget nice and brown. Use tongs when taking out of the casserole dish, and all of the juice will stay inside the sausage. If you boil them first, a lot of the flavor will end up in the water, IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: macca

      It depends on how you boil them. If you boil them in straight water, then yes they do loose a lot of flavor, but if you boil them in half water and half beer (or wine) it adds a lot of flavor.

    2. It depends whether you want to keep all the fat in them, in which case use macca's method above, or whether you want a lot of the fat to render out (my preference), in which case it doesn't matter whether it runs out into a dry pan or a wet one.

      I don't actually simmer them, just cook them in a covered pan with a bit of water so that the steam pre-cooks them enough that the inside gets done before the outside starts to burn.

      As for how long, that depends on how thick they are, whether they're frozen or fresh, and how high you turn up the heat. For fresh sausages about an inch thick (typical Italian sausage), I'd put them in a pan with maybe a half cup of water at medium-high heat, give them about 10 minutes after the water starts to boil, then remove the lid. When the water boils away reduce the heat to medium to medium-low, and keep cooking them, turning frequently, until they brown nicely and are done through, usually another 10 - 15 minutes.

      I do the same thing for frozen smaller breakfast sausages.

      1. I do it a little differently per the recommendation of an Italian butcher shop. I pan fry/saute them for about 6 minutes on each side until satisfactorily browned, then add a bit of water to the pan and cover for another 6 minutes. Creates a perfect amount of liquid if you like and also has the unintended benefit of making sure cleaning the pan is easy. I used to do it the other way around and did not care for the results.

        1. I put the sausages in a hot pan with about 1/4 inch of water and some olive oil. Then put a lid on and steam for about 8-10 minutes. Then remove the lid and let the water boil away so you are left with the sausages and the olive oil. Then brown as much as you like.

          1. I am with poulet_roti. I too brown them first and add a bit of water to the pan (not to boil) but to just add a little liquid to help them cook. You didn't say how you would serve them, but my favorite way to serve Italian sausages, is in marinara sauce with peppers over pasta.

            1. Thanks chows!

              The sausages are an inch thick and fresh. I might try the reverse method, brown then simmer. I have tried the other way around, but it did not satisfy. I thought I overcooked the sausages, but maybe it is just the method that threw off the taste.

              I want to preserve the fat as I like juicy sausages. Is there any other sauce to top them with beyond marinara. I like the traditional italian flavours, but want soemthing different tonight.

              I was just going to serve the sausages plain with mac n' cheese on the side, but if there is a different sauce I would be interested.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pancake

                peppers and onions ( sauteed in some butter or oo) are always a favorite. SErve on na nice french roll with fires on the side, and a simple salad.

                1. re: pancake

                  Sausages are especially good with pesto and pasta...I don't actually put them in with the past/pest but serve alongside.

                  A fabulous sausage sauce recipe comes from Lidia B. I think I first saw it on Cooking With Julia (before LB got famous). In any case, it's Italian sausages, casings removed and crumbled and browned. Remove sausages and add lots of garlic. Let garlic sautee a bit and then add a bunch of chopped bitter greens. I almost always use broc. rabe. After the greens have cooked a bit in the sausage/garlic oil, add some chicken stock and let the whole thing simmer for a while (til tender). I then add some hot pepper flakes and put the sausage back, including any juice/oil that accumulated on the dish.

                  Serve with penne or any other pasta (best with non-stringy pasta like penne or fusili. Lidia used orecchiette, I think. Serve with grated parm or pec. This is a stellar dish!

                2. wow......the reverse method is sooooooo much tastier.

                  I just browned, added water, and let them simmer away.
                  The sausages stayed so nice and juicy and plump.....thanks for the valuable advice.

                  1. I used to try the other way, boil then brown and it always created a nasty film in the pan. I found that browning first and then adding a bit of water was most effective. And as mentioned previously, it also serves the dual purpose of making clean up easier. I may make some Italian sausage tonight as well.

                    1. I typically use a brown-then-steam approach like others have described, but occasionally, I follow the "expert-approved" method, which calls for *poaching* (not boiling) the sausages until cooked through and then browning them briefly in a hot pan or over a hot fire.

                      For me, the main advantages of my brown-then-steam-then-brown-again approach are easier clean-up and not having to constantly monitor the poaching liquid to make sure it's staying at the right temperature.

                      1. I poke holes and microwave sausages to remove fat and oil.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          what what what!?!? purposely remove fat from sausages? sacrilege!

                          1. re: hohokam

                            In Phoenix but not in Berkeley.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              Don't let the Fatted Calfsters hear you say that. ;-)

                        2. I wouldnt think of trying to lessen the fat(flavor) on any sausage product.

                          I cook Italian sausages a couple of ways:

                          In the oven on a sheet pan @ 325 degrees until done, or I grill them.

                          served with marinara, on an italian sandwich roll, topped with sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, giradinara, and mozzeralla cheese for a nice sandwich.

                          Or I serve them over pasta with some marianara sauce & some garlic bread on the side.