Sous vide cooking has revolutionized the way home cooks and professional chefs approach preparing meats, vegetables, and more. When it comes to sausages, sous vide offers several distinct advantages over other cooking methods. Here are some of the top reasons to give sous vide sausage a try:
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Consistent Cooking Results
One of the biggest benefits of sous vide is that it eliminates the guesswork and delivers perfectly cooked results every time. With the precise temperature control of an immersion circulator, you can achieve that ideal level of doneness for any type of sausage – juicy and tender but not overdone. No more dealing with raw centers or split casings from uneven cooking.
Juiciness and Flavor Retention
Cooking sausages using traditional high-heat methods like grilling or pan frying inevitably leads to moisture loss as fat renders out. Sous vide allows the sausages to cook gently in their own juices, leading to a final product that is remarkably juicy and succulent. Slow cooking also allows time for the flavors of any marinades or rubs to fully penetrate the meat.
With sous vide, sausages can be held for long periods of time at lower temperatures that kill dangerous bacteria. This makes the method ideal for cooking sausages in advance for meal prep or entertaining. As long as they are kept sealed, sous vide sausages can be stored for several hours in the water bath or fridge before searing or serving.
Convenience and Time Management
Sous vide allows you to cook sausages from start to finish with minimal effort. Once they are sealed and in the water bath, you can go about your day while the immersion circulator does the work. Sausages also require very little attention during cooking compared to grilling or pan frying. The hands-off convenience makes sous vide a great option for easy weeknight dinners.
How to Sous Vide Sausage: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re new to sous vide sausage, have no fear – the process is simple. Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Choose Your Sausages
Almost any type of raw sausage will work beautifully with sous vide, including bratwurst, Italian sausage, chorizo, breakfast sausage, andouille sausage, and more. Focus on quality sausage with vibrant seasoning and a HIGH meat to fat ratio.
2. Preheat Your Sous Vide Cooker
Set your immersion circulator to the desired temperature based on the recipe (typically 155°F to 185°F). Allow at least 15 minutes for the water to come to temperature before adding the sausages.
3. Vacuum Seal the Sausages
To prevent the sausages from floating during cooking, seal them in a VACUUM SEALER bag with all air removed. You can cook multiple sausages together in one bag.
4. Cook the Sausages
Once the water has reached the target temperature, lower the sealed sausages into the bath. Cook for the length of time specified in your recipe, anywhere from 1-4 hours usually.
5. Finish the Sausages (Optional)
For added texture and flavor, quickly sear the cooked sausages in a hot skillet or on the grill. This caramelizes the natural sugars and gives the casing a nice snap when bitten.
6. Serve and Enjoy
Slice the sausages and serve while hot, paired with your favorite mustard, sauerkraut, peppers, onions, buns, or other fixings. Enjoy your perfectly cooked sous vide sausages!
What Is the Ideal Temperature and Time for Sous Vide Sausage?
The precise sous vide temperature and time will vary slightly depending on the type and size of sausage:
- For tender breakfast sausages, cook at 150°F for 2-3 hours.
- For flavorful raw bratwurst or Italian sausage, 155°F for 2-4 hours works well.
- Spicy chorizo links and andouille sausage do best at 176°F for 1-2 hours.
- Larger smoked sausages may need 185°F for 6-8 hours since they have a higher fat content.
In general, a LARGER sausage needs a HIGHER temperature and LONGER time to fully render fat and become tender. Use an instant-read thermometer to confirm the interior has reached safe serving temperature.
Can You Sous Vide Frozen Sausages?
It is absolutely possible to sous vide cook frozen sausages with excellent results. The key is allowing extra time in the water bath for the interior to gently thaw, come to temperature, and cook through.
For sous vide frozen sausages, add 1-2 hours to the recommended cook time for that type of sausage. Monitor thickness and adjust time accordingly. Proceed with sealing, cooking, and searing steps as usual.
One benefit to frozen sausages is that they hold their shape nicely during cooking since casings are less likely to split. Vacuum sealing also prevents freezer burn on frozen sausages stored for sous vide later.
What Are Some Flavorful Sous Vide Sausage Recipes?
Once you master the basics, it’s fun to branch out with global flavors and ingredient pairings. Here are just a few delicious sausage recipes perfect for sous vide:
Sous Vide Italian Sausage
Packed with fennel seed, red pepper flakes, and parmesan, these sausages are fantastic in tomato sauce or sandwiched in crusty rolls. Cook at 155°F for 2-3 hours.
Sous Vide Bratwurst
Buttery, oniony brats are a breeze to make sous vide.Mix up a spicy mustard dipping sauce for serving. 155°F for 3-4 hours works beautifully.
Sous Vide Chorizo
Let the paprika bloom and garlic flavor intensify during a 1-2 hour bath at 176°F. Chop and add to tacos, nachos, empanadas, or potato dishes.
Sous Vide Breakfast Sausage
For tender, fully-cooked sausage perfect on a breakfast sandwich or as part of a big fry up. Go for 2-3 hours at 150°F.
Sous Vide Andouille Sausage
Get that authentic smoky, spicy Cajun flavor when you sous vide andouille low and slow. Cook at 176°F for 1-2 hours. Awesome in jambalaya or gumbo.
Get creative with marinades, spice rubs, and mix-ins like cheese, garlic, peppers, or wine to make your own signature sausage flavors.
Tips for Sous Vide Sausage Success
To get ideal results every time with sous vide sausages, keep these handy tips in mind:
1. Use a High-Quality Vacuum Sealer
Investing in a sturdy VACUUM SEALER with a strong pump and durable bags prevents leakage or floaters during extended cooks.
2. Monitor the Water Temperature
Maintaining an accurate consistent temperature is key for properly cooked sausages. Let your immersion circulator preheat sufficiently and check the bath with a thermometer.
3. Experiment with Seasonings and Marinades
In addition to cooking, think of sous vide as an opportunity to infuse sausages with layers of flavor. Try dry rubs, wet marinades, or stuffing sausages with cheese or other fillings.
4. Use an Instant-Read Thermometer for Food Safety
Always use a thermometer to validate that sous vide sausages reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F before serving.
5. Be Patient and Allow Proper Resting Time
Resist slicing into sous vide sausages straight from the bath. Allow 10-15 minutes of resting time for juices to reabsorb and texture to finalize.
Now that you’re a sous vide sausage pro, it’s time to start cooking! Sausages cooked with precision deliver unbelievable results.
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