The Best Way to Grill Wurst

The traditional way to cook sausage often leads to colossal conflagrations and flare-ups.
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I already told you about 10 sausages from around Planet Barbecue you need to know about. Now I'll tell you how to cook any sausage--fresh (raw), cooked, cured, or smoked, using a revolutionary new method pioneered by yours truly. Read on.

The traditional way to grill sausages is directly over the fire. The traditional way to cook sausage often leads to colossal conflagrations and flare-ups.

If you choose to direct grill your sausages (as most people do on Planet Barbecue), work over a moderate fire and leave at least a third of your grill fire free and a third of your grate food free. This gives you a safety zone and room to maneuver should the dripping fat cause flare-ups.

Easier is a method I pioneered a few years ago that cooks sausage using indirect grilling. Set up your grill for indirect direct grilling and preheat to medium-high (400 degrees). Lightly brush the sausage casings with oil. Indirect grill until sizzling and browned and the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees--see below. The beauty of this method: you can toss wood chips on the coals to add additional smoke flavor to the sausage. And indirect grilling locks the juices in the sausage, making for wurst so moist they actually squirt when you cut into them.

Here are a few additional sausage grilling tips:

• Never prick a sausage prior to grilling. This drains the juices.

• You don't need to parboil sausage before grilling. Just work over a moderate fire if direct grilling.

• To test a sausage for doneness, insert the probe of an instant read meat thermometer through one of the narrow ends--the internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees.

• Some raw sausages, like Argentinian longaniza and English Cumberland, are sold in thick coils. Run two slender bamboo skewers through the center at right angles to keep the coil spooled. Alternatively and to avoid piercing the sausages, use butcher's string to secure the coil, running it through the center and tying it off at the outermost loop of meat. Use a wide spatula for turning.

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Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Primal Grill on PBS. His web site is