Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Whenever I go to a BBQ and sausages are cooking, the chef will always prick the sausages while they are cooking. I have no idea what this does, I assume it's to get the fat out, however I recently read that you should never prick sausages as it results in them being dry inside?

So my question is, should I prick sausages with a fork or knife during cooking?

share|improve this question
    
I assume that you're pan-frying them, so I've retagged accordingly; the method of cooking would of course have a significant impact on the correct answer. –  Aaronut Nov 1 '10 at 0:13
    
it's actually on the BBQ as stated in the question... but still should have been tagged appropriately –  lomaxx Nov 1 '10 at 1:10
    
Ah, somehow I managed to skip over the word "BBQ" in the question. Thanks for retagging in any case. –  Aaronut Nov 1 '10 at 2:31
add comment

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'd say no never prick the sausages if you can help it. the fat inside helps to keep them succulent and moist, and if you have a problem with the splitting and are pricking them to release the pressure as was stated by @foodrules, then I'd say you are cooking them over too high a heat. Lower the heat, or if you are BBQing move them further from the source, then you will get to have unsplit, moist sausages. When pan frying I prefer a very low heat for a long time. This allows a delicious sticky crust to develop on the outside of the sausages. mmm...

If they were meant to be pricked why would they not come pre pricked?

share|improve this answer
    
Exactly right - I fry sausages in very little oil, on the lowest flame I can get, for an hour or so. I'd aim for an equivalent on a BBQ. –  slim Jan 14 '11 at 11:47
1  
you talk like a communist. –  Doug Oct 30 '11 at 8:03
add comment

Here in Argentina is very common to bbq LOTS of sausages for big parties. Just for reference:

alt text

To ease the work of turning them, we usually hold them together with metal skewers, that also serve the purpose of draining the fat:

alt text

But if you don't prick them (besides of the aforementioned holes), they usually EXPLODE.
Note: here the skins are usually made from cow guts

share|improve this answer
5  
+1 for mouthwatering pics –  Willbill Nov 1 '10 at 9:31
    
+1 for Argentinian BBQ masters (I know some) –  BaffledCook Nov 1 '10 at 9:37
    
@GUI Junkie Humbly, one here :) ... You really learn how to BBQ after facing a party of 100 starving guests. You learn for example that you should prick the "chorizos" as late as possible allowing the fat to melt well and fry the meat "from inside". The second photo shows clearly a stack: the upper sausages are kept hot but will not be put on high fire to finish them until pricked. –  belisarius Nov 2 '10 at 0:59
    
All I've had all day is pretzels, and I have to come across this photo? Mmmmm... –  ceejayoz Nov 4 '10 at 21:45
1  
@yoda Mate. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerba_mat%C3%A9 –  belisarius Jun 3 '11 at 21:41
show 4 more comments

I think the whole point of putting the fat into the sausages is having the meat cook in it. I would prick them as little as possible.

share|improve this answer
add comment

A very simple answer why you prick sausages. When the sausages get heated up, the fat content and also air pressure inside start to grow. Pricking sausgaes allow the air and fat to be 'released', otherwise, the skin of the sausages will start to crack which eventually will result in losing more juice and 'fat'.

Yes, Pricking may lead to dry sausages, so you don't have to overdo it and also use the small toothpick to do it which will reduce the damages.

share|improve this answer
    
Just a week ago I've eaten one that had the toothpick still sticking in the sausage. Maybe that helps keeping it from cracking while not letting it dry out. –  Georg Schölly Nov 1 '10 at 11:38
add comment

I always do when pan-frying - it's astonishing how much fat comes out. I prefer the resulting texture. Barbequed sausages really can't be pricked much because of flareups, and I usually try to eat something else if I have a choice, because I find them too greasy. Perhaps my "just right" is someone else's "too dry" - it's certainly true that pricking them makes a very noticeable difference.

share|improve this answer
1  
The flares are avoided with a well designed barbecue –  belisarius Jun 3 '11 at 21:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.