How To Grill Up the Perfect Ready-to-Eat Sausage

by Uncle John

Sausage is a great year-round delicacy (yes, we may be biased), but grilling seems to have an extra appeal during summer and fall. Backyard cookouts, beach parties, tailgating… grill masters are out enjoying the weather and festivities with their grill in tow. There are dozens of pro-tips and personal techniques out there, but we’ve got our favorites. And we’d love to share them with you! 

It’s important to remember, when grilling a ready-to-eat, pre-cooked sausage, you don’t need to cook it like you would a raw sausage. When you throw a pre-cooked sausage on your grill, the idea is to warm it up and add some extra flavor and texture to it. The rule of thumb is to keep it simple and don’t overdo it. 

How should I prepare the sausage before grilling?
Bring your sausage to room temperature before grilling. The result of cooking a frozen sausage isn’t pretty. You should let your sausage sit out for roughly 30 minutes before taking it to the grill. Other than letting it come to an appropriate temperature, there is no other preparation required – we told you this would be easy! 

Should I score, prick or split the sausage for grilling?
We don’t suggest splitting, pricking, scoring or puncturing a ready-to-eat sausage when grilling. It’s already safe to eat, so when you do one of the above actions, you have the potential to lose some of the delicious juices inside. If you’re afraid of getting some juice in your eye when taking that first bite, you can puncture the sausage with care after cooking it. 

If you choose to forego the grill and cook in a pan or skillet on the stovetop, splitting or scoring the sausage may help to cook it quicker and give the inside some added snap, but take care not to overdue!

What level of heat should I use to grill the sausage?
Unlike some other types of meat, a pre-cooked sausage should be slowly brought up to a low-to-medium temperature. Be sure not to scorch it and try to keep it off high heat at all costs as grilling over high heat can hurt the flavor and juiciness of the sausage. Plus, no one wants a sausage with a scorched outside and a cold inside!

When grilling with charcoal, keep the sausage over areas of your grill that are on the low-medium spectrum as far as heat goes. For you gas-grillers, this should be easy to control since heat is not as hard to regulate. 

How long should I grill a pre-cooked (ready-to-eat) sausage?
Use your own judgement on this one. Since it’s already been cooked, there is no minimum set time it needs to stay on the grill for it to be edible. It shouldn’t take any more than 10-15 minutes to heat up on low-medium heat on your grill. If it starts to burn, or parts of the casing become charred black when cooking with charcoal, move the sausage to a spot with lower heat if you feel it hasn’t been heated to your liking. If this happens when you’re grilling with gas, then you’ve left it on there just a bit too long. 

It’s a good idea to remove the sausage from your grill just about five degrees below your desired internal temperature (we recommend 160 °F) so that the heat remaining inside will continue to cook the sausage to the perfect temperature for eating. 

Finishing touches?
We recommend letting your sausage rest in a warm spot before taking that first bite. Usually the rule of thumb is 5-10 minutes. The resting process allows all the juices to settle into the meat, resulting in an even more enjoyable sausage. How you dress up your sausage is up to you! Bun or no bun? Ketchup, mustard or both? Peppers and onions? The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

It’s our hope that with these tips, you can grill the perfect ready-to-eat sausage for you and your family. 


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