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Jun 20, 2011 05:25 PM

Grilling Italian Sausage-split or not to split?

Hi wanted to grill hot italian sausage patties today but the store only had links-in order to put them on a hard roll should I split them before grilling or keep them whole and find some grinder rolls somewhere?

Going to top with peppers, onions and garlic-just want the best sausage flavor


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  1. I parboil them and then split them before putting on the grill. The quick boil sets the meat so they can be easily split.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NVJims

      Jims,Good point about splitting, they are impossibly messy to cut in half when raw-any tips on the cooking times?

      Thanks again

    2. I don't understand why you would split them. The idea is to cook them slowly enough so they get done and have a brown outside. They stay juicy and are delicious this way. Splitting just causes all the richness to run out, and par boiling? WHat's up with that? Low and slow is the key to sausage deliciousness.

      10 Replies
              1. re: rockycat

                +1...don't split them. I wouldn't even parboil them, but that's up to you. Bottom line is parboiling them just isn't necessary unless you're in a hurry.

                As others have stated, cook 'em slow. I do them on the grill, __indirect heat__ and will then put them directly over the hot coals for the last few minutes (though that's not even necessary).

        1. re: roxlet

          What roxlet said. We do these all time during during grilling season at our house. Topped with peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Best ever!

          1. re: roxlet

            I agree with not splitting them.

            But parboiling is a sensible option, and it counts in the "low-and-slow" corner: simmering water is cooler than almost any grill setting.

            Actually, my favorite way to cook fresh sausage links, like Brats or Italian, is to toss them in olive oil and then roast them in a sheet pan or roasting pan at about 300 degrees, turning once or twice over 20-30 minutes.

            1. re: roxlet

              agree! same goes for bratwurst...

              1. re: roxlet

                +1. Never split a sausage link of any kind.

                1. I agree with roxlet totaly. Don't parboil them. Don't split them.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Some people split them to increase the surface area for extra exposure to the grill's heat. It makes them extra crunchy if that's the result you want.

                    1. re: shecrab

                      The farce is not what gets crispy it is the casing that it is stuffed into that does. Splitting it does not expose more of the casing to the grill.

                  2. Time is the factor which determines whether I par-boil/par-poach sausages. If I'm really short on time I'll boil until almost cooked and grill.

                    in general, I like grilling whole from raw. The skin will brown and crisp up. The added bonus is the sausage will split naturally on the casing so you end up with tasty, extra crispy browned bits.

                    I suggest grilling whole and splitting after the sausages are cooked. I usually cut into 1" rounds for people to nibble on.

                    1. People usually grill sausages (especially raw) too hot, so they split and get dry. You need to cook them on medium-low heat and let them slowly come up to temp. Don't be afraid to use a meat thermo with sausages, to be sure (and to avoid overcooking).

                      If I am going to par cook them, I usually start in a CI pan with oil, onions and peppers. Get a good sear on every side, then finish them on the grill.

                      Interesting...the CHOW tip video right now is about how to avoid exploding sausages on the grill. Perhaps they can help.