Italian sausage is a great food. It can be used as an ingredient in countless recipes, as a tasty topper on pizzas, and let’s not forget the delicious sausage and pepper sandwich.
In most regions, Italian sausage (salsiccia in Italian) usually refers to pork sausage that uses fennel as the main seasoning. Italian sausage comes three ways:
- sweet (basil is added)
- hot (hot pepper flakes are added)
No matter what your preference, they all have their delightful qualities. However, some people tend to shy away from pork. One of the reasons is the fear of getting sick if it’s undercooked.
Pigs can carry certain parasites and bacteria that can only be killed during proper cooking. So, what if you’ve cooked your pork and it’s still a little pink inside? Does that mean it’s not done? Is it safe to eat? Most importantly, can you eat Italian sausage if it’s a little pink? Yes. An Italian sausage that is a bit pink inside is perfectly fine to eat.
Why Is Your Italian Sausage Pink Inside?
The main reason your Italian sausage may still be pink after cooking it is the nitrates or salt. The salt will cause the sausage to stay a bit pink.
Another reason is that pork inside the sausage casing is minced. Minced meat tends to have a pink hue even after it’s properly cooked.
Sausage often has red pepper flakes and paprika in it, so this is also a reason the meat may be pink. As long as your sausage is fresh and you have cooked it to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, a little pink is harmless.
What Are The Best Ways To Properly Cook Italian Sausages?
If you’re looking for a surefire way to cook your sausages all the way through without drying them or burning them, we’ve got you covered. But first, let’s begin with what not to do. You should not cook it:
- too fast
- too hot
These 3 things can cause your sausage to be dry and singed on the outside and still be raw on the inside.
Another thing you should never do is poke holes in it. It is sometimes recommended that holes need to be poked into the sausage casing to reduce cooking time. It does not help them cook quicker. But it does allow all the juices to escape, which will dry out the meat.
The purpose of the casing is to keep the meat and its juices in. So here are some great ways to cook your sausage.
-Put your sausage in a skillet with water.
-Bring to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
-Uncover and allow any water to evaporate, while continuing to cook and turning frequently until browned evenly on all sides.
-Place links on a foil-lined baking sheet.
-Place sheet in a cold oven and turn to 350 degrees.
-Cook for 25 to 35 minutes or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
-Place on a 375-degree grill and close the lid for about 3 to 4 minutes.
-Turn every few minutes until all sides are evenly brown (about 15 to 20 minutes).
How Can You Tell If Your Italian Sausage Is Spoiled?
Not much smells worse than rotten meat. So if your sausage smells like anything other than the spices it contains, chances are it’s bad. Sausage will also start to turn green and grow mold if it’s spoiled.
Can You Eat Sausage That Has Turned Brown?
When the sausage starts to turn brown it could be a sign that it’s getting old. The reason could also be that it had prolonged exposure to oxygen (much like what happens to an apple when it’s cut).
It does not necessarily mean the sausage is bad. As long as it has no other signs of spoilage, it is OK to consume it. However, it may be dry and not as flavorful.
Is Expired Sausage OK To Eat?
Usually, sausage is safe to eat for 3-4 days after the date on the package. As long as it’s been in the refrigerator since you purchased it. It will be OK to eat for up to 2 months after the package date if it’s been in the freezer since it was purchased.
How Should You Store Your Raw Sausage?
Sausage can be stored in the fridge or the freezer, depending on when you plan to cook it. If you are going to eat it within 2-3 days, then keep it in the refrigerator. If not, then it’s best to freeze it, where it will stay for up to 2 months.
When freezing, keep them in the original package and then wrap in foil to prevent freezer burn. Cooked sausage will last 3-4 days in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer.
What Are Some Recipes That Use Italian Sausage?
Now that you know all about sausage safety, why not apply that knowledge? Take these savory and savory links and create some of these delectable dishes.
- sausage and peppers (a classic and easy to make)
- sausage stuffed peppers (sausage is always a great alternative to ground beef)
- Italian sausage breakfast casserole (a simple way to spice up breakfast time)
- Italian sausage meatballs
- sausage and herb stuffing
- Tuscan sausage pasta
- broccoli and sausage soup
- Italian sausage quiche
- Italian sausage quesadillas (use some mozzarella)
- Italian sausage gravy
- sausage dip