Why Poking Holes In Sausage Casing Before Cooking Is A Mistake

Whether you cook sausages in a sheet-pan dinner with vegetables or simply sear them on the grill, you should treat the casings carefully. Sausage casings hold together the meat, spices, and other ingredients, of course, but they also serve another important function in retaining the meat's moisture. When you leave the casings on your links, you might be quick to poke holes or score them before cooking to prevent an explosion — but all you're doing is damaging the sausage's structure, causing it to turn out dry. Prodding the casing causes all the delicious fats and juices in the meat to seep out as it cooks, wasting all that flavor.

Sure, some recipes suggest that you poke or score the casings, because it might prevent the sausages from bursting at the ends, while helping the interior cook slightly faster and more evenly. However, you should skip that step and simply cook the sausages at the right temperature for the proper amount of time. The intact casings will keep the sausages filled with juices for flavor-packed bites that aren't dry or bland. 

Cutting the cases also create more of a mess for you to clean after dinner, and can even cause flare-ups on the grill. When the sausages' fat and juices drip out of the compromised casing and hit the flames below, the fire can dramatically rise up, covering your food in soot or even causing an injury.

Cooking sausages without poking holes in the casing

Sausages casings are often made from the intestines of the animals that the meat comes from, whether it be cows or pigs. However, synthetic casings are also common. These casings, used for sausages like kielbasa, are still made from animal sources, so they're usually edible. There's no need to remove the casings, or poke holes in them to make them easier to remove after cooking.

Tthe biggest argument for poking holes or scoring sausage casings is to prevent them from bursting, but there's a way to prevent that without leaking the juices. A big mistake is using heat that's too high, which can cause exploded casings and uneven cooking. More moderate heat is the way to prevent sausages from bursting. For properly-cooked and juicy sausages, cook them in the oven around 355 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the links. On the grill, sausages should be fully cooked in about 10 minutes, but again, the time might vary due the size. And of course, don't cook them over a super hot zone of your grill.