How to Tell When Chicken Sausage is Done: 4 Ways to Be Sure

December 5, 2022

You can tell if your chicken sausage is cooked by checking its color and by touching it. A fully-cooked sausage has an even brown color on the outside and is light pink on the inside. It is also firm to the touch all through.

As a seasoned line cook in a barbecue restaurant, I spend a lot of time cooking chicken sausages since they are a favorite menu item for most of our customers. I have learned that if you stick to a few key guidelines, you can not go wrong.

In this article, I discuss four ways to tell if chicken sausage is cooked. I will also outline how the chicken sausage is made, its impact on health, and how to avoid contracting food-borne illnesses from raw chicken sausage.

How to tell when chicken sausage is done

How Do You Tell If Chicken Sausage is Fully Cooked?

There are 4 ways to definitively tell when your chicken sausage is cooked. Please note that raw chicken sausages are different from precooked chicken sausages and that the methods below apply to raw chicken sausages.

Check The Color

A fully-cooked chicken sausage has an even golden brown color on the outside and is light pink on the inside. This color should be consistent throughout the sausage. Any pink hues on the outside usually imply the meat is raw so cook longer.

Touch Test

A done sausage is firm to the touch. Lightly press the sausages with your spatula. Under-cooked sausages will still be squishy so let them cook longer.

Run an Experiment

Cut one sausage in half and observe the meat inside. If it is evenly firm throughout, it is done. If not, let it cook longer or slice them all through the middle to cook faster.

Using a Meat Thermometer

You can also tell if your chicken sausage is fully cooked by checking the internal temperature using a meat thermometer.

Chicken sausage is cooked at an internal temperature of 165°F.

Though it is rather impractical, this is the most accurate way to tell whether your chicken sausages are fully done.

What is the Best Way to Cook Chicken Sausages?

The best cooking method for chicken sausage depends on what appliance you have. There is no correct way to cook. You can cook it in the oven, on the grill, in the skillet, and even in the air fryer.

When cooking raw sausages I recommend that you immerse your sausages in boiling water for 6 – 8 minutes. Boiling before frying ensures that they are cooked long enough even when you are unsure they got to the desired temperature during frying.

Cook Chicken Sausage In The Skillet

Grab your heavy-bottomed pan and put it on medium heat. Give it a few seconds to heat up. Drizzle in some olive oil. Add your chicken sausages and fry for 8-10 minutes or until brown. Test for doneness and serve. Enjoy!

Cook Chicken Sausage In The Oven

If you prefer the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, place your chicken sausages. Add a little olive oil. Cook for 15 – 25 mins. Test for doneness and serve.

Cook Chicken Sausage On The Grill

For grilling lovers, I recommend cooking on indirect heat till almost cooked through. This will keep the sausages from burning to a crisp and acquiring a bitter taste.

Set up your grill or smoker for two-zone cooking. For a coal grill, place your coal on one side of the grill and light it leaving the other side to only get warm. Place your chicken sausages on the warm side and brush with a little olive oil.

Cover and smoke for 10 minutes. When cooking chicken sausages, turning frequently is essential to ensure they are cooked evenly. Smoke for another 8 minutes. Test for doneness.

When cooking chicken sausage on a gas grill, set the burners on one side on medium-high heat and cook on the other side for 6 minutes. Turn frequently until done. Serve immediately.

Cook Chicken Sausage In The Air Fryer

If you are using an air fryer, preheat it to 350° Fahrenheit. Place chicken sausage in the air-frying bowl and brush with some olive oil. Fry for 12-15 minutes. Test for doneness. Serve hot.

Bunch of Tasty Sausages on the Grill

Can Cooked Chicken Sausage Be Pink in the Middle?

Yes. Chicken sausage can be fully cooked yet pink in the middle. This is because it is mainly from finely ground chicken meat.

How to Cook Your Chicken Sausage Quicker?

To get your chicken sausage fully cooked in a shorter time:

Thaw Your Sausage

Frozen chicken sausage will cook a lot slower and is more likely to burn on the outside and be raw in the middle so it is advisable to let the sausages fully thaw before frying.

Boil Your Sausage

Boiling raw chicken sausage before frying kills harmful bacteria and brings it to temperature. Boiled sausages remain firm during and after frying.

Slice The Sausage

If you prefer to not boil the sausages, slice them. Larger pieces of sausages take longer to cook compared to smaller pieces. They also absorb more flavor.

Always reheat leftover sausages and frozen sausages properly in the microwave before eating even if they were properly cooked before.

What are Chicken Sausages?

Chicken sausages are made of various seasonings, mixed into finely ground chicken meat and non-meat ingredients then stuffed into casings. The meat may be fresh, smoked, cured, or pre-cooked.

Chicken used in the preparation of chicken sausage is inspected by a licensed vet before slaughter to keep unhealthy chicken from ending up in your chicken sausages.

The variety of chicken sausages is limited to the manufacturer’s imagination and knowledge.

The particular cut of chicken meat used in sausage or the spice formula cannot be used to classify chicken sausages because most manufacturers include similar combinations of meats and spices in varying proportions based on demand.

What are Pre-Cooked Chicken Sausages?

Pre-cooked chicken sausage is seasoned and cooked during the production process, saving you the trouble of having to tell if the chicken sausage is cooked through. Pre-cooked chicken sausages will be labeled as RTE (ready to eat) on the packaging.

They are, therefore, safe for consumption straight out of the packet.

Since ready-to-eat chicken sausages are cooked during processing, cooking them can be as simple as drizzling a little olive oil and frying until the outside is brown, firm, and a little crispy depending on your preference.

BBQ Sausages with Tomatoes

What Happens If I Eat Undercooked Chicken Sausage?

Chicken sausage, unlike other sausages, has a low bone density. This design makes it easy for bacteria to seep beneath the top of the flesh.

Some of these bacteria are harmful and are highly likely to make you a victim of food-borne disease if you eat undercooked sausages. This is called food poisoning.

Salmonella bacteria is the most common one. It thrives in the stomachs of healthy birds. Eating raw meat increases your chances of getting food poisoning.

Salmonella food poisoning symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, nausea, and headaches. People who experience severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized or take antibiotics.

Campylobacter poisoning is a foodborne disease caused by eating undercooked meat, including raw chicken sausage. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Complications arising from the later stages of the infection can cause gallbladder infection(cholecystitis) which brings with it its set of unpleasant symptoms.

Trichinosis is another foodborne disease caused by consuming under-cooked or raw meat infested with the larvae of a worm called Trichinella spiralis. This parasite is often found in pigs and chickens.

Symptoms of trichinosis include stomach pain, sore muscles, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and even frequent fever. In severe cases, symptoms may include, light sensitivity, conjunctivitis, swelling of the face, and lethargy.

If you suspect you have eaten under-cooked meat, seek medical attention. These illnesses are easily treatable with a smooth recovery process.

Is Chicken Sausage Healthy?

We all love chicken sausages and while they are such a beloved food item, consumption should be moderate at best. They are processed food which means that consuming them regularly can be detrimental to your health.

While they contain a small amount of chicken meat, the quantity may not be enough to supply you with the benefits of eating chicken meat.

Consuming chicken is the better choice and has the following benefits:

Stronger Bones and Muscles

Lean protein in chicken is rich in amino acids. The body uses amino acids to build muscle tissue thus helping to maintain bone density. This is essential as we age because it reduces the risk of injury to the bones and illnesses like osteoporosis.

Great Nutrition

Aside from the high-quality protein in chicken, it also contains vitamin B12, choline, iron, zinc, selenium, and a lot more minerals.

Better Heart Health and Weight Management

Research shows that around 25 grams of protein per meal will make you feel more full. Chicken can make you feel fuller for longer despite eating less food.

This is good for weight management and consequently reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Additionally, white meat is a great substitute for red meat which has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, renal ailments, and type 2 diabetes.

Pan Fried Sausages with Spice Gravy and Coriander Leaves

Finally

Chicken sausage is a delicious meal that is easy to fix but eating under-cooked sausages can cause severe health problems. It is therefore critical to ensure you do not serve raw chicken sausage by learning to tell if chicken sausage is cooked to perfection.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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