This post is brought to you by Southside Market & Barbeque, which provided advertising support.

There is something deeply satisfying about the first bite into the crisp, blistered skin of a just-cooked sausage. Long before you enjoy that mouthful and even before you ignite the coals, you face your most important task: choosing the type of sausage you want to eat. Your options are fresh, cooked, smoked, or cured.

While we at have favorite recipes for all varieties of sausage, we harbor a special appreciation for the versatility of links when they are fresh (raw). Fresh sausage is uncooked and uncured ground meat (in a casing) and can be smoked, grilled, or sautéed—all to fabulous results.

We’ve laid out key preparation methods below to help you choose your best option.


How to Smoke Fresh Sausage

Prepare your smoker to a cooking temperature of 200-250°F. Smoke for 1½ -2 hours until 165°F, turning sausage several times to ensure even smoking.


How to Grill Fresh Sausage

Always grill sausage over indirect heat to avoid flare ups. Heat your grill to 300-350°F and grill for 40-50 minutes until 165°F internal temperature is reached. Be sure to turn the sausage once during cooking time.

Close up of rope sausage with grill marks

How to Sauteé Fresh Sausage

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. With this method, turn the sausage several times to cook it evenly.


How to Know When Fresh Sausage is Done

You can use a meat thermometer to test—as stated above, sausage should be heated to an internal temperature of 165°F, especially fresh sausage which you purchase raw. Apart from temperature, you can also study the juices flowing from the meat to determine doneness. When the natural juices of the sausage break through the casing and are flowing clear, that’s a great indicator that the sausage is ready.


Where to Buy Fresh Sausage

Southside Market Fresh Rope Sausage

Southside Market has an ideal fresh rope sausage known by long-time customers as “Elgin Hot Sausage” or simply “Hot Guts.” One look at the reviews on this page will tell you that this is a sausage worth traveling to Texas for. Not in the area and want to give it a try? Their signature Fresh Original Beef Rope Sausage is now available to buy online exactly how they sell it fresh in their meat markets.

Prepared fresh in-house daily, you can order online in 4-pound increments for $35 each, or save with bulk (8 pounds for $65).


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