To Prick Or Not To Prick - Sausages

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haras2 | 12:33 Thu 28th Jan 2021 | Recipes
16 Answers
I was reading the labelling on a pack of sausages, Tesco chipolatas , yes I get a bit bored sometimes
It advised not pricking the skins - what is the reason?
Since time immemorial, and my mother before me, I have done this because it cuts down the fat content and also Shady the cat is very partial to licking the dish
If anyone else is bored enough to be bothered, I'd be interested to hear


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Pricking skins lets moisture and fat out, making for drier and less tasty sausages. I think initially the theory was that pricking skins makes them healthier by releasing the fat, but the problem is that it won't let out nearly enough fat to make a ha'pennorth of difference to the health value (none of note), while reducing the flavour.

See, for example: , along with many other links that carry the same message.
Never prick sausages. What is the difference between a sausage and a chipolota?

When I was little sausages had such a high fat content they would explode if the skins weren't pricked to allow the very hot fat to escape
Question Author
I think that's why my mother used to do it back in the fifties
I thought the reason they are called "bangers" is that if you don't prick them, especially cheap ones, the fat can melt in the skin and build up pressure and they can explode and shower you in hot fat!
Perhaps it made more sense in years past, although perhaps even then the answer was to cook sausages over a lower heat where possible, rather than let the fat out.
sorry barry missed your answer
I thought pricking sausages stopped them bursting.
we bung them on the George un pricked, works ok!
My late Mother -in - law used to peel the skins off sausages before cooking them. When I asked her why didn't she just buy the skinless ones, she said it was because they weren't tasty enough.
Call me old fashioned but I still prefer sausages fried in dripping or lard especially when they've gone cold.
I recall one of my first jobs as a trainee cook in a middling restaurant and a misunderstanding over 'prick the sausages'.

Luckily it was well before the Food Standards Agency times and they had cooled enough so as not to cause serious injury.
The old ones are the best, douglas. Sniggger, snigger, someone said 'prick'
Question Author
Thanks all
I think I will cook them in the old Rayburn at about 150*C (can't find degree symbol) until cooked and flash under the grill if they're looking a bit anaemic
No pricking tho'
Do you remember when the nurse would say 'Just a little prick' before giving you an injection?
That seems to have changed now to, 'Just a little scratch'.
I can imagine why.
A good quality sausage should not need anything doing to it, apart from putting in the frying pan, if that's how you cook them. The only reason a sausage will turn into a potential firework is because of the poor content. High content of water is the main reason sausage bursts in the pan, and a large percentage of gristle, the gristle content is through poor cuts of meat. Also the skins that contain the so called meat are now , most times artificial casings.
If you add cold water to hot fat, you will get a mini explosion, that's what your seeing when water finds its way out of the meat in the hot pan.
doug 12:20, I assume a similar misunderstanding occurred at xmas when being told to stuff the Turkey!

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To Prick Or Not To Prick - Sausages

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