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How to cook perfect pork and beef sausages

<p>When you’re looking for ways to save money on groceries you can’t beat sausages. They’re a great budget friendly option for meat eaters.</p><p></p><p></p>

Kiwis love sausages. Everyone has their favourite type and their favourite way to cook them. We review the wide variety of fresh sausages available, how to cook sausages, popular sausage recipes and how you can use leftovers so nothing goes to waste.

What is a sausage?

Sausages are mostly made with finely minced pork or beef, mixed with seasoning, herbs, spices and sometimes a binding ingredient. This mixture is placed into a thin edible sausage casing which forms a skin.

A good sausage has a balanced fat-to-meat ratio with 20-30% fat - considered perfect for deliciously succulent sausages. This can be achieved by combining different cuts of meat from the animal. Generally, cheaper sausages contain lower quality meat, a higher fat content with more fillers.

Sausages can be eaten at any time of day, from thin breakfast sausages, to small chipolatas for lunch and thick pork sausages for dinner served with mashed potato and veges.


How to store sausages

Keep fresh sausages chilled in the refrigerator between 1-4C and eat by the use by date. Uncooked sausages should last between 2-4 days in the fridge.

If you plan to freeze your sausages do so immediately and they will last up to 2 months in the freezer. Always defrost thoroughly in the fridge before cooking sausages within 2 days of thawing.
Cooked sausages can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.


How to prepare sausages

Sausages don't need much prep. Just remove them from the fridge, snip links and bring to room temperature before cooking. If you have a large volume to cook, consider steaming the sausages first to cook the meat thoroughly, then all they'll need is browning.

Precooked sausages including the big red Saveloy Sausages are even more convenient as the prep has been done for you. They've been steam cooked during processing and are sold ready to sear in a pan or barbecue. They are a great choice when you have limited time or a large crowd to feed.


The best way to cook sausages

Most of us have barbecued and burnt a few sausages in our time. Discover how to cook the perfect sausage every time with our advice and cooking tips.  

How long does it take to cook sausages?

A sausage, regardless of its cooking method, requires a good 30 minutes cooking time. Don't try to rush this process by turning up the heat. You'll end up with burnt skins and undercooked meat.

Top tips for perfect sausages

  • Remove sausages from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking and bring to room temperature. This helps them cook evenly.
  • Don't prick sausages - you don't want the juices to escape.
  • Check the internal temperature (70 C) to confirm a sausage is cooked completely through.
    For extra juiciness, rest sausages for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cooking precooked sausages

Precooked sausages still need to be cooked before consuming. Bring a pan of water to the boil, take off the heat then add the sausages. Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 15 minutes until piping hot. Check the internal temperature of the sausage is at least 70 C before removing. Finish on the grill, BBQ, hot pan or oven to brown.

Oven baked sausages

Oven baking sausages is one of the healthiest ways to cook them as they don't require any extra oil. Place sausages on a lined baking tray and cook sausage for 25-30 minutes at 180 C turning regularly until evenly browned.

Frying sausages

Add a teaspoon of sunflower oil to a cast iron pan, bring to a medium heat and fry the sausages gently, turning frequently until evenly browned and cooked through.

Grilling sausages

Place the sausages on a baking tray and place under the indirect heat of a medium low grill. Watch closely and turn regularly until they are cooked through and brown all over.

Cooking sausages in an air fryer

The air fryer is one of the healthiest and cleanest cooking methods. Arrange the sausages in a single layer in the basket. Cook at 180C for 15 minutes, stopping to turn every 5 minutes for even cooking.

Barbecuing sausages

Barbecuing sausages is a popular way to cook sausages. The high heat and smoky flavours create a crunchy, juicy snag unmatched by other cooking methods.
The sausages should be cooked through completely over the coolest part of the BBQ first, (or use precooked sausages). Once cooked use tongs to prevent piercing the skin and move the sausages to the hot side of the barbecue to quickly sear, creating delicious charred grill marks and a crispy skin.

Rest for a few minutes before serving in a bun with sauteed onions, mustard and tomato sauce.

How to cook sausages in the slow cooker

Sausages are great for cooking in slow cooker casseroles or stews. Just as you would brown meat, we recommend you brown your sausages in a frying pan before adding them to the slow cooker. This is because they won't brown in the casserole and pale sausages don't look very appetising.



Common types of sausages available to buy in New Zealand

Pork sausages

They can be made from:

  • Boneless pork shoulder or butt which contain the perfect 20-30% fat-to-meat-ratio for a juicy sausage
  • Lean pork loin which requires additional fat to be added
  • Pork belly which is mixed with leaner cuts of pork to reduce the fat-to-meat ratio
  • Bacon which is great for adding flavour

Buy pork sausages


Beef sausages

They can be made from:

  • Beef chuck which comes from the neck, shoulder or ribs and has 15-20% fat content
  • Beef brisket has a great fat-to-meat-ratio and is wonderful mixed with herbs and spices
  • Eye round and sirloin tip leaner beef cuts

Buy beef sausages


Sausages on a healthy diet

Healthier sausages are now being made with leaner types of meat including venison, lamb and chicken and this has broadened their appeal. If you're restricting calories or fat, you can still enjoy a tasty sausage for dinner. Avoid pork and choose a chicken sausage which is much leaner, or look for gourmet sausages where the sausage is less processed and filler-free. Choose a low fat cooking method like oven baked or BBQ grilled.


Using leftover sausages

There's no need to waste leftover sausages when they can be used up in so many different ways:

  • Make sausage sandwiches
  • Slice cooked sausages into pasta dishes
  • Reheat in the microwave and add to your full English breakfast
  • Add to an omelette
  • Slice, reheat and add to baked beans on toast
  • Toss into your favourite salad
  • Add to your pizza topping
  • Wrap in pastry to make sausage rolls
  • Uncooked leftover sausages can be split and the filling removed. Cook in a pan with 1 Tbsp of oil, cauliflower rice, diced sweet potato and onion for a heartwarming one pan breakfast griddle
  • Use sausage filling to make a meaty pasta sauce


Save money on meat and eat well for less

Buying meat that is processed is often cheaper than buying the primary cuts of meat and sausages fit the bill perfectly. They’re the perfect way to make your weekly food budget stretch further so you can continue to eat well, whilst spending less. They’re available throughout the year and can be enjoyed fresh or frozen, their versatility has no limits.

Buying produce that is in season is another great way to budget wisely. Find out what else is in season at this time of year by visiting the Pak’nSave Fresh Market Update. You can also discover how to save money on meat here with our fresh guarantee.