What Happens If You Eat Slightly Pink Sausage?

Sausages are a staple of breakfast in many countries. You can serve it with eggs for breakfast or use it as a burger topping.

However, if you’ve ever been served a slightly pink sausage, you’ve probably wondered whether it is safe to consume. Here’s a quick answer:

If the temperature of the sausage has reached 165°F, any meat that remains pink is safe to eat.

But what usually concerns most people is what color a cooked sausage should be inside. Should it be slightly pink? Let’s find out.

Is Your Sausage Pink Inside? Here’s why.

Sausages can be pink on the inside and most people associate pink sausages with undercooked meat. Plus, since sausage is made with ground beef, people are more apprehensive about consuming pink sausage.

Therefore, pink sausage isn’t perceived by the public as safe to eat. However, sometimes fully cooked sausages can have a pink interior. As long as your sausages are cooked thoroughly, they will be safe to consume, even if they are slightly pink in the middle.

Keep in mind not all sausages are created equal. This rule only applies to sausages made with ground beef.

What Color Should Sausage Be When Cooked?

A properly cooked pork or beef sausage should have a pink, slightly reddish color. Chicken or turkey sausages usually have a lighter pink color when cooked.

As said earlier, not all meat sausages are the same, so we’ll talk about a few of the different kinds. When it comes to ground beef sausages, the pink color in the sausage’s middle is fine as long as the sausage is seared on the outside and cooked to a safe internal temperature.

If beef sausage is a little underdone, it will usually not cause any health problems provided it is fresh. If you’re cooking pork sausages, it’s best to cook them all the way through until no pink color remains, and they are completely firm inside.

This is because undercooked, pink pork sausages can contain parasites such as roundworms or tapeworms. They cause a severe illness called trichinosis that can cause stomach pain, fever, and headaches. Cooking pork sausages until they’re no longer pink in the middle properly kills parasites.

Slightly pink pork can still be OK as long as the sausage juices run clear. Note that some pork sausages remain somewhat pink because of colorants and seasonings. And this is also why bacon remains pink even once it’s cooked.

If you’re still unsure, use a food thermometer and cook your pink pork sausages to an internal temperature of 160˚F. Do not go higher than this, or the sausages will dry out. To ensure that sausages are cooked properly, first put them into a pot of boiling water and simmer them for a few minutes.

What Gives Sausages A Pink Color?

Some sausages have spices such as paprika or cayenne pepper. These seasonings can give the sausage a deep pink color that will last even if it’s fully cooked.

However, if your sausages are cooked to the correct temperature, they will be safe to consume, even if they are slightly pink in the middle.

What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Sausages?

Undercooked sausages have a weird taste. But more important than the unpleasant flavor are the health risks of eating undercooked sausages.

Bacteria and parasites in undercooked sausage meat may cause food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses. It is most commonly caused by raw or undercooked sausages. The symptoms can include abdominal pain, headaches, and fever. 

Ways to Tell Your Sausage is Under-cooked

To tell whether your sausage is cooked correctly or not, you’ll need a thermometer.

A food thermometer is a good investment that allows you to monitor the inner temperatures of sausages. It also helps eliminate the risks of foodborne illnesses.

To check the temperature of the sausages with the help of a thermometer, you will need to insert the tip of the thermometer into the sausage, making sure to reach the middle.

The internal temperature of beef and pork sausages should be 160°F. The internal temperature of turkey and chicken sausages should be slightly higher—165 °F.

This is when the sausages are cooked and safe for consumption. But temperatures above 165 °F strip away all moisture, and sausages become dry versus juicy and soft.

If you worry about your sausages remaining pink and raw in the middle, you should try the simmer-and-sear cooking technique.

For this method, you should boil the sausages on medium heat for around 7 minutes. This step ensures that the sausages are juicy and soft.

The second step that gives sausages an appealing appearance is searing them in a pan. So, the simmer-and-sear cooking technique can help you cook sausages to perfection.

You can also remove the casing and crumble sausages in a hot pan and fry them. This is a superb cooking technique for sausages if you don’t have a thermometer and need to be sure that the meat is properly cooked.

What Temperature Should Sausage Be When Cooked?

Type of SausageGoal Internal Temperature
Pork Sausage160°F/71.1°C
Beef Sausage160°F/71.1°C
Combined Beef + Pork Sausage160°F/71.1°C
Lamb Sausage165°F/73.8°C
Game Sausage165°F/73.8°C
Chicken Sausage165°F/73.8°C
Turkey Sausage165°F/73.8°C

Other Ways to Cook Sausages

Click on this video to learn how to cook sausages.

Cooking Sausages Cooked On A Grill

If you don’t have a thermometer, we recommend grilling sausages. This technique will provide you with perfectly cooked juicy sausages.

For this cooking method, you’ll need to take sausages out of the fridge 30-minutes in advance, so the internal temperature comes down before you grill them.

Slice one of the sausages on the grill to make sure the entire batch is properly cooked.

How To Check the Doneness of A Sausage Cooked In The Oven?

When cooking sausages in the oven, it is essential to select the right oven temperature and leave the sausages in the oven long enough for them to cook properly.

Pre-cooked sausages usually take 30 minutes in the oven to cook, while raw sausages can take up to 1 hour.

Use a thermometer to check whether the sausages are cooked, or slice one to see how it looks inside.

Can you eat undercooked sausages?

No, you should never eat undercooked sausages. You risk getting trichinosis when you eat undercooked, reddish sausages. Mainly when you do not cook pork sausages properly, the roundworms in pork can be transmitted into your body. This happens because the pork sausages don’t get enough heat to kill the parasites.

Consequently, you may develop symptoms like fever, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, and fatigue.

Final Thoughts
Because sausages contain a wide range of ingredients, it’s essential to cook sausage thoroughly for food safety. This applies whether you’re boiling, baking, or grilling it.

The best way to know sausages are fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer, but with enough practice, you will learn more about how to cook sausage and know when it is done.

Related Questions

Is a pink center in breakfast sausage OK?

According to USDA, a little pink in the middle is OK, and the meat is safe to eat.

Is it safe to eat sausage with a pink tint?

It’s OK to be a little pink in the middle, but sausage shouldn’t look raw. If you’ve cooked sausage for the time it says on the packet; it should be safe to consume.

What’s the best way to cook skinless Italian sausages?

Our favorite sausage grilling tip involves adding a little fat (10-20%) so that they are not dry. You can also add salt, garlic, thyme, chives, and rosemary as much as you want to improve flavor.

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