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I cooked turkey breakfast sausages in a 350 F convection oven and one exploded. The stuff that came out looked a little foamy and the juices before it was cooked looked a tiny bit foamy. This may be completely normal but just want to be sure if it sounds safe to eat. The sausages were packaged five days ago and expire in two days. They didn't smell bad or anything. Thanks!

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    If you didn't pierce the skin of the sausage, yes, they can explode. If the foam you mention looks like the scum that you get from cooking down bones for for stock, yes, that's normal too. – Joe Sep 25 '14 at 2:59
  • Is a bit of foam in the juices before it is cooked okay too? Thanks. – Padma Sep 25 '14 at 3:08
  • Yes, it's just from protein-laden moisture, agitated as the moisture evaporates and bubbles. – Joe Sep 25 '14 at 3:24
  • @Joe nag nag nag write an answer! – Cascabel Sep 25 '14 at 3:33
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    @Jefromi : maybe after I finish auditing all of my servers. #$@^& bash exploit. – Joe Sep 25 '14 at 5:06
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That foam is perfectly natural.

The foam is the result of meats natural protein composition. If you've ever poached eggs, or boiled lobster, or cooked a stock, you'll know that the water can become a little scummy. If you leave the pot on, that scum makes a white-ish or grey-ish foam that forms lovely looking rafts. That foam is made of water soluble protein.

In your case, you have wet sausage meat in a case. A small amount of that meat's proteins, mostly sarcoplasm and myoglobin, are going to escape from their cells and into the meat juice.

When the sausage case breaks, that juice, a mix of water and protein, is escaping into a hot oven, and the proteins are going to spontaneously denature, forming a foam much like scrambled eggs.

If anything, you should be happy- water soluble albumin foam is a sign that the sausage is full of proteins, and is definitely made of meat, and not, say, recycled chipboard.

Enjoy the sausages!

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I suspect the foam is because turkey breakfast sausages have listed as their main ingredients 'turkey, water and then potato extract - the amount of protein per 2 sausage serving appears to be only 13g, along with 7 g of fat. Calcium and salt are added, along with other nameless 'flavourings' and probably preservatives. If a sausage bursts, it's likely to look foamy when heated because of the potato starch and water combination but certain preservatives will contribute to a white or whitish foam when the product is heated (commonly seen with bacon); indicates a wet cure, or a product with a high proportion of water and some salt - it's likely the same with the sausages. Figures taken from Shady Brook Farms Turkey Breakfast Sausages - the packet also carries instructions about being careful regarding not piercing the skins, presumably because of what happens when you do - foamy stuff.

  • There are multiple factually incorrect claims here. "the protein must be coming from the fat" - no, this is chemically impossible. Fat does not contain protein, they are separate nutrients. "it's likely to look foamy because of the potato starch and water combination" - a slurry (=mixture of starch of water) does not foam at all. Even when there are bubbles forming in it, they look nothing like, you can see them when you cook a pudding. "There's no actual meat in them" - then it would be illegal to call them sausages. "turkey water" does not exist, you probably overlooked a comma. – rumtscho Sep 25 '14 at 12:56
  • So the simple explanation is that there is turkey meat in your sausages, and the protein comes from the turkey meat (it cannot come from any other animal source, and a plant source would have had to be declared on the label). The starch (of which hopefully there isn't too much inside the sausage) does not contribute to foaming. – rumtscho Sep 25 '14 at 12:58
  • @rumtscho - possible I overlooked a comma, though its hard to see the label clearly at all. I'll have another look... still not much protein though is it, either way – bamboo Sep 25 '14 at 12:59
  • @rumtscho - you were right - missed the comma, had to get two pairs of glasses to see it, even then it wasn't clear. Answer edited appropriately – bamboo Sep 25 '14 at 13:03

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