Papa Cantella's Blog

3 Ways Not to Grill a Sausage

Posted by Papa Cantella's on Sep 4, 2017 9:33:00 AM


Grilling a sausage should be simple, right?

Open the package, crank up the heat, then pop that delicious meat on the grill until it’s juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Unfortunately, grilling sausage properly takes a bit of nuance. The internet is chock-full of “recipes” and “techniques” for grilling everything from brats to bangers, but some of these tricks can leave you with less than you desire.

Trust us. We’re the sausage experts – we’ve tried it all! – and there are few ways you definitely do NOT want to go about grilling your sausage...


This method for cooking sausage is all over the internet. Everyone from food bloggers to famous chefs extol the virtues of poaching your sausage in poaching liquid to cook it almost all the way through before throwing it on the grill to crisp up.

First of all, this method leaves out that smoky, charcoal flavor you can only get from a substantial amount of time on the grill! Worst of all, poaching your sausage in liquid – yes, even if it is beer – will actually leech moisture out of the sausage itself, especially if your liquid is too hot. Hard to believe, but this method is more likely to leave you with dry, flavorless sausage than traditional grilling.


The absolute worst thing you can do to a fresh, raw sausage is to puncture its skin before grilling. Never cut, score, or skewer fresh sausage links before grilling – its natural juices will leak right out! Sausage casings are designed to lock in all the natural flavorings and moisture in a sausage; let them do their job.

Caveat: Butterflying sausage (i.e. cutting it in half, lengthwise) before placing it on the grill is actually a good technique for fully cooked sausage! For smoked or cured sausages like Andouille, butterflying can actually give you more surface area for deliciously charred grill marks and a faster cook. 

3.Fast, High Heat

Sausages are meant to be cooked low and slow, not hot and fast. Perfectly-prepared sausages don’t need much – no marinating! no seasoning with salt and pepper! – but they do need even temps to cook through without burning.

Resist the urge, even for pre-cooked sausages, to crank your grill up high before adding the links. We like to grill over low heat until our sausages are cooked through (a 165 degree internal temp, to be exact), then crank the grill up high just for the last few minutes to get a little extra char. Delicious!


Now that you know how NOT to cook a sausage, do you know what you’re going to do with your perfectly-prepared meat? Don’t forget that Papa Cantella’s has dozens of tried-and-true sausage recipes…choose your favorite and let us know how it turns out on the Papa Cantella’s Facebook page!


Topics: Grilling Season, Italian Sausage