How to Cook Cased Sausage in a Cast-Iron Skillet

By A.J. Andrews

To prick or not to prick -- the question facing anyone who cooks cased sausages -- can be answered with a resounding "no." The next common dilemma -- cooking fast over high heat or cooking slow over low -- can't be answered as easily, because both techniques work in a cast-iron skillet. Cast-iron's claims to fame are its even heat distribution and retention, which means that you can cook in cast-iron for a prolonged period without much fluctuation in surface temperature. That gives you two choices when cooking sausages in cast-iron, both of which work equally well: slow-frying and poaching, then searing.

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Dry Heat

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Step 1

Take the sausages out of the refrigerator and let them approach room temperature, about 15 minutes.

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Step 2

Add a tablespoon or so of butter to the cast-iron skillet and warm it over low heat for 5 minutes. Pat the surface moisture from the sausages with a paper towel and place them in the pan, spacing each at least 1/2 inch away from the next.

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Step 3

Fry the sausage until they develop a crisp, brown crust, about 35 to 40 minutes, turning every 5 or 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature of a sausage in the center using an instant-read thermometer; sausage needs to cook to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moist Heat

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Step 4

Take the sausages out of the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before you want to cook them. Add about 1 inch of water to the cast-iron pan and set it over medium heat.

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Step 5

Heat the water until it reaches 150 F. Adjust the heat on the stove as needed to keep the water temperature between 140 and 150 F.

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Step 6

Add the sausages and poach them for 20 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate lined with paper towels and pat them dry.

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Step 7

Pour out the water from the cast-iron pan and wipe it dry. Add a tablespoon or so of butter and set it over medium heat; heat the butter until it starts to caramelize, about 4 to 5 minutes.

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Step 8

Add the sausages to the pan and fry them until crisp and crusty on the outside, about 3 to 4 minutes.