Have you been trying to cook sausage and realized that the more it cooks, the more the sausage shrinks?
While there will always be some shrinkage, how much your sausage shrinks is up to you.
How Do You Keep Sausage From Shrinking?
Your cooking temperature is the secret to keeping a sausage’s shape and reducing excessive amounts of shrinking. When you cook your sausage at a medium to high heat level, significantly above 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the casing will shrink and force out the juices and fat stuffed in the sausage. This means that when you start cooking your raw sausage, you need to start with a lower temperature and either maintain the slow cook or gradually increase it.
Does the Sausage Casing Have an Effect on Shrinkage?
Even if you start with a low temperature, a casing that is stuffed too full could still cause the sausage to shrink. When the casings are stuffed via a sausage stuffer, they must be full but not overstuffed. This already puts unwanted pressure on the sausage casing, so it could break down before you start the cooking process. The first bit of heat could be just enough to cause it to break and allow all the fat and juice to leak.
Is Sausage Shrinking Common Among All Meats?
While you can have all types of sausage with different proteins, sausage shrinkage is more common in fattier sausage meat. Super-lean sausage like venison will not have as much shrinkage when cooking. If you notice they are shrinking a lot, then they are probably paired with pork. Pork most frequently experiences lots of shrinking because of the high fat content. As pork sausage cooks, the fat is rendered down and can break down the casing, allowing room for shrinkage.
Is There Always Some Shrinkage?
You cannot prevent sausage from shrinking, but you can manage it. Even at the lowest temperature, you can expect a small amount of shrinkage with your sausage. This is because the fat will start to cook down no matter what the protein is. The temperature you use can determine how much and how fast it shrinks.