Whether you'll be grilling up sausages for the 4th of July this weekend, or any other time this summer, there's one thing you should always do before putting your sausages on the grill. It makes all the difference, and you'll be rewarded with better sausages.
When grilled just right, fresh sausage should be lightly charred, although not burnt or split on the outside. And when you cut through the casing, you should expect to find tender meat bursting with juicy deliciousness.
The biggest pitfall when grilling sausages is not using the correct amount of heat. Cook them over a high flame, and you wind up with meat that's unevenly cooked. On the other hand, when the flame is too low, you risk overcooking the sausages (because they take so long to cook).
But there's a foolproof method for perfectly grilled sausage every time.
Poaching makes for better grilled sausages.
For better grilled sausage, poach them first before putting them on the grill. This method guarantees tender and evenly cooked grilled sausage with just the right amount of char and deep color.
Put the uncooked sausages in a saucepan with cold cooking liquid — like water, chicken stock, beer, or wine — until they're just covered. Slowly poach the sausages over low heat until they reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
Transfer them to a hot grill, over moderate direct heat. Since they're already cooked through, they'll only need a few minutes on the grill. Just enough to get a light char and some color on the outside.
And for smokier-tasting sausage, consider poaching them directly on the grill.