How to BBQ or grill a sausage perfectly.

How to Grill Sausage?

Grilling sausages is one of those culinary joys that brings people together. Whether you’re at a backyard BBQ, a tailgate party, or just enjoying a sunny weekend, the sizzle and aroma of sausages on the grill are hard to beat. The beauty of grilling sausages lies in their simplicity and versatility. From bratwurst and chorizo to Italian and chicken sausages, each type offers a unique flavor experience.

When it comes to grilling sausages, the basics are pretty straightforward, but a few key tips can elevate your grilling game. First, it’s essential to understand that sausages need a bit of gentle heat to cook through without burning the outside.

Using a two-zone fire setup on your grill—one side for direct heat and the other for indirect heat—allows you to control the cooking process more efficiently.

How to Grill Sausage
Credits to Hey Grill, Hey

Stay tuned as we break down the steps on how to BBQ a sausage, explore different types of sausages, and share some pro tips to make your BBQ experience even better. Ready to become a sausage grilling pro? Let’s get started!

Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling

Selecting the perfect sausage for grilling is where the magic begins. The type of sausage you choose can significantly impact the flavor, juiciness, and overall grilling experience. Here are some of the best types of sausages to consider, along with their flavor profiles and fat content considerations:

Bratwurst

Bratwurst is a classic choice for grilling. Originating from Germany, these sausages are typically made from pork, beef, or veal and are seasoned with spices like nutmeg, ginger, and caraway. Their higher fat content ensures they remain juicy and flavorful when grilled, making them a favorite at many BBQs.

Italian Sausage

Italian sausages come in both sweet and spicy varieties, flavored with fennel, garlic, and herbs. Made primarily from pork, they have a moderate fat content that keeps them moist and flavorful on the grill. The spicy version adds a nice kick, perfect for those who like a bit of heat.

Chorizo

Chorizo, with its bold and smoky flavor, is another excellent choice. There are two main types: Spanish chorizo, which is cured and doesn’t require cooking, and Mexican chorizo, which is fresh and must be cooked. The Mexican variety, with its rich blend of spices and higher fat content, is ideal for grilling.

How to BBQ or grill a sausage perfectly.
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Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: Italian Sausage
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Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: Chorizo
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Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: Chicken Sausage
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Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: Kielbasa
Credits to Meat Eating Military Man
Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: andouille grilled
Credits to RBK

Chicken Sausage

For a leaner option, chicken sausages are a great alternative. They come in various flavors, from apple and sage to spicy jalapeño. While they have less fat than pork sausages, many are infused with additional ingredients to enhance moisture and flavor, making them a healthier yet tasty option for the grill.

Kielbasa

Kielbasa, or Polish sausage, is another popular grilling choice. It’s typically made from pork and beef and seasoned with garlic, marjoram, and other spices. With a robust flavor and moderate fat content, kielbasa grills up nicely, offering a juicy bite with each piece.

Andouille

For those who love Cajun flavors, Andouille sausage is a must-try. This smoked sausage is made from pork and seasoned with garlic, pepper, onions, and wine. Its rich, spicy flavor and higher fat content make it perfect for grilling, adding a distinct taste to any BBQ spread.

When choosing sausages for grilling, consider the balance between flavor and fat content. Sausages with higher fat content tend to stay juicy and flavorful, while leaner options can be just as delicious with the right seasoning and grilling technique. Whichever type you choose, ensuring high quality and fresh ingredients will make your grilling experience all the more enjoyable.

Preparing Sausages for the Grill

Prepping your sausages properly ensures they grill to perfection. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Pre-Cooking Techniques

Pre-cooking sausages can help avoid uneven cooking and flare-ups. Simmer them in water or beer for about 10 minutes before grilling. This method ensures they’re cooked through and reduces the risk of burning the exterior while leaving the inside undercooked.

Perfectly barbecued sausages: Step-by-step.
Credits to America’s Test Kitchen

Seasoning Tips

Sausages are usually well-seasoned, but adding a little extra can enhance their flavor. Brush them lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking and add a sprinkle of your favorite spices or herbs. Fresh rosemary, thyme, or a dash of paprika can elevate their taste. Avoid over-seasoning to let the sausage’s natural flavors shine through.

Preparing Vegetarian Sausages

Grilling plant-based sausages can be just as delicious with the right preparation. Here’s how to ensure they grill well and taste great.

Perfectly barbecued sausages: Step-by-step Vegetarian sausages
Credits to Melanie Cooks
  • Pre-Cooking Tips
    • Vegetarian sausages often benefit from a brief parboil, similar to meat sausages. This helps firm them up and prevents them from falling apart on the grill. Boil for about 5 minutes, then let them cool slightly before grilling.
  • Seasoning and Oil
    • Brush vegetarian sausages with olive oil to prevent sticking and add flavor. Since they can be less fatty than meat sausages, this step is crucial. Season with your favorite herbs and spices, or marinate them briefly in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and herbs for an extra flavor boost.

Grilling Techniques

Mastering the art of grilling sausages involves knowing the right techniques to achieve that perfect balance of a crispy exterior and juicy interior. Here’s a detailed guide on how to grill sausages effectively.

Direct vs. Indirect Heat

Using both direct and indirect heat is key. Start by searing the sausages over direct heat to get that beautiful char and grill marks. Then, move them to indirect heat to cook through without burning the outside. This two-zone method ensures even cooking and juicy results.

Grilling Techniques to BBQ or grill a sausage perfectly
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Turning and Monitoring

Turn sausages frequently to ensure even browning and prevent burning. Use tongs instead of a fork to avoid piercing the sausages and losing juices. Monitor them closely and adjust the heat if needed to maintain consistent cooking.

Grill Temperature and Setup

Different sausages require specific temperatures and grill setups to achieve optimal results.

  • Bratwursts and Kielbasa: For bratwursts and kielbasa, aim for a medium heat of around 350°F (175°C). Set up your grill with a two-zone fire: direct heat on one side and indirect on the other. Start with direct heat for a quick sear, then finish on indirect heat.
  • Italian and Chorizo: Italian sausages and chorizo benefit from slightly higher heat, around 375°F (190°C). The two-zone method works well here too. Ensure the direct heat side isn’t too hot to avoid charring.
  • Chicken Sausages: Chicken sausages should be grilled at a medium heat, around 325°F (160°C). Their lower fat content means they can dry out quickly, so use indirect heat for most of the cooking time.
  • Vegetarian Sausages: Vegetarian sausages need medium heat, around 350°F (175°C). They can be more delicate, so consider grilling them on indirect heat or using a grill basket to prevent sticking and falling apart.

Grilling Time for Sausages

The grilling time for sausages varies depending on their size and type. Here’s a handy guide to ensure they’re cooked thoroughly.

How to cook a sausage on the barbecue to perfection.
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  • Bratwursts and Kielbasa Grill bratwursts and kielbasa for about 15-20 minutes. Start with 3-4 minutes on direct heat for searing, then move to indirect heat for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently.
  • Italian and Chorizo Italian sausages and chorizo typically take 12-15 minutes. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side on direct heat, then finish on indirect heat for another 8-10 minutes.
  • Chicken Sausages Chicken sausages need 15-20 minutes of grilling. Start with 2-3 minutes on direct heat, then move to indirect heat for 12-15 minutes, ensuring they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • Vegetarian Sausages Vegetarian sausages grill quickly, usually within 10-12 minutes. Use indirect heat or a grill basket, turning frequently to avoid sticking and ensure even cooking.

Knowing When Sausages Are Perfectly Cooked

Ensuring sausages are perfectly cooked is crucial for both flavor and safety. Here’s how to tell when they’re done:

  1. Visual Cues: Look for a nice golden-brown color with slight charring on the exterior. The sausages should be firm to the touch but not hard. Avoid sausages that are overly blackened or shriveled, as this indicates they may be overcooked.
  2. Internal Temperature: The most reliable way to check doneness is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the sausage. For pork, beef, or lamb sausages, an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) is ideal. For chicken sausages, aim for 165°F (74°C). Vegetarian sausages should be hot throughout, usually around 165°F (74°C) as well.

Common Questions and Myths

Grilling sausages often comes with its fair share of misconceptions. Let’s debunk a few:

Should You Puncture Sausages?

Pros

  • Preventing Splitting: Some believe puncturing sausages prevents them from splitting open during grilling.
  • Fat Reduction: It allows excess fat to escape, which can be appealing if you’re aiming for a leaner result.

Cons

  • Loss of Juices: Puncturing sausages causes the flavorful juices to escape, leading to drier, less tasty sausages.
  • Reduced Flavor: Much of the seasoning and spices can be lost with the escaping juices, diminishing the overall flavor.

Should You Slice Sausages Before Grilling?

Pros

  • Quicker Cooking: Slicing sausages can reduce cooking time, making them a good option for a quick meal.
  • Caramelization: Sliced sausages have more surface area exposed to the grill, leading to more caramelization and crispy edges.

Cons

  • Dryness: Sliced sausages can dry out more quickly as the juices have more opportunity to escape.
  • Loss of Structure: Slicing can cause the sausage to lose its shape and fall apart more easily on the grill.

In general, it’s best to avoid puncturing or slicing sausages before grilling to retain their juices and flavor. Use the two-zone grilling method to prevent splitting and ensure even cooking. If you do prefer sliced sausages for specific recipes or quicker meals, keep an eye on them to prevent drying out.

Serving Grilled Sausage

Side Dishes

  1. Grilled Vegetables: Peppers, onions, zucchini, and corn on the cob complement sausages well and add a healthy, colorful touch to your meal.
  2. Potato Salad: A classic side that pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of grilled sausages. Try a German potato salad with a tangy vinegar dressing for a unique twist.
  3. Coleslaw: Creamy or vinegar-based coleslaw adds a refreshing crunch and balances the richness of sausages.
  4. Baked Beans: Slow-cooked, smoky baked beans are a hearty side that complements the flavors of grilled sausages.
  5. Crusty Bread or Rolls: Serve sausages in a hearty bun or alongside crusty bread to soak up the juices and condiments.

Condiments

  1. Mustards: Offer a variety of mustards, from spicy Dijon to sweet honey mustard.
  2. Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage adds a tangy crunch that’s perfect with bratwurst and Polish sausages.
  3. Relishes: Sweet or tangy relishes, such as pickle or onion relish, enhance the flavor of grilled sausages.
  4. Chutneys and Jams: Fruit chutneys or onion jam can provide a sweet contrast to savory sausages.
  5. Grilled Onions and Peppers: Add these as toppings for a delicious and colorful addition to your sausage sandwich.

Featured Recipes

Grilling sausages can be a delightful culinary adventure. Here are a few selected recipes to help you grill different types of sausages, from Italian to Bratwurst to Polish.

Grilled Italian Sausage Recipe

Mastering the art of grilling sausages: Grilled Italian Sausage Recipe
Credits to HowToBBQRight.com

Ingredients:

  • Italian sausages (sweet or hot)
  • Olive oil
  • Bell peppers and onions, sliced
  • Fresh basil
  • Provolone cheese
  • Hoagie rolls

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Grill: Set up a two-zone fire with direct and indirect heat.
  2. Prepare the Sausages: Brush sausages lightly with olive oil.
  3. Grill: Place sausages on direct heat. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side until nicely browned.
  4. Move to Indirect Heat: Transfer sausages to indirect heat. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally.
  5. Cook the Peppers and Onions: Grill bell peppers and onions until tender and slightly charred.
  6. Assemble: Place sausages in hoagie rolls, top with grilled peppers, onions, fresh basil, and provolone cheese.

Serve with a side of potato salad or coleslaw for a complete meal.

How to Grill Bratwurst

Choosing the Right Sausage for Grilling: brutwusk

Ingredients:

  • Bratwursts
  • Beer or water for pre-cooking
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mustard (variety of choices)
  • Hot dog buns

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Grill: Create a two-zone fire with direct and indirect heat.
  2. Simmer the Bratwursts: In a pot, simmer bratwursts in beer or water for about 10 minutes to pre-cook.
  3. Grill on Direct Heat: Place bratwursts on the direct heat side of the grill. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side until they have nice grill marks.
  4. Move to Indirect Heat: Transfer to indirect heat. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).
  5. Serve: Place bratwursts in hot dog buns, top with sauerkraut and mustard.

Pair with grilled corn on the cob and a cold beer for a traditional BBQ experience.

Grilled Polish Sausage Recipe

Mastering the art of grilling sausages: 
 Grilled Polish Sausage Recipe
Credits to Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • Polish sausages (Kielbasa)
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme)
  • Rye bread
  • Pickles

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Grill: Set up a two-zone fire.
  2. Prepare the Sausages: Brush sausages with olive oil and sprinkle with minced garlic and fresh herbs.
  3. Grill: Place sausages on direct heat. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side until nicely browned.
  4. Move to Indirect Heat: Transfer to indirect heat. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally.
  5. Serve: Slice sausages and serve with rye bread and pickles.

Enjoy with a side of grilled vegetables for a hearty meal.

Nutritional Information

Typical Grilled Sausage Serving: The nutritional content of grilled sausages can vary based on the type of sausage and preparation method. Below is a general breakdown for a typical serving size (one sausage, approximately 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) of various popular types of grilled sausages:

Italian Sausage

  • Calories: 270
  • Total Fat: 22g
    • Saturated Fat: 8g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0g
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 14g

Bratwurst Sausage

  • Calories: 300
  • Total Fat: 25g
    • Saturated Fat: 9g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 750mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0g
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 13g

Chicken Sausage

  • Calories: 150
  • Total Fat: 10g
    • Saturated Fat: 3g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 60mg
  • Sodium: 550mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 1g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0g
    • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 14g

Vegetarian Sausage

  • Calories: 180
  • Total Fat: 9g
    • Saturated Fat: 1g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 6g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 15g

Health Considerations

  1. Fat Content: Traditional pork sausages like Italian and bratwurst have higher fat content, especially saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation to maintain heart health. Opting for chicken or vegetarian sausages can lower fat intake.
  2. Sodium Levels: Sausages tend to be high in sodium, which can contribute to hypertension if consumed excessively. It’s important to balance sausage intake with low-sodium foods throughout the day.
  3. Protein: Sausages are a good source of protein, essential for muscle repair and overall health. Including a variety of protein sources in your diet ensures a balanced intake of amino acids.
  4. Portion Control: Given the calorie density of sausages, portion control is key. Pairing sausages with vegetables and whole grains can create a more balanced meal.
  5. Ingredients and Additives: Check the ingredients list for added preservatives or artificial ingredients. Opting for sausages with natural ingredients can be a healthier choice.

Disclosure: Our blog contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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