Everyone loves sausages!
Our holiday backyard parties would have been incomplete without them. Moreover, hotdogs are sausages in bread.
The minced meat in it and the taste make it comply with any food items.
Even though we have been seeing and eating sausage almost every day now, some may ask, “Can sausage be pink?”.
We all know that sausages can be pink, but a lot of us don’t know if it is safe or not.
So yes, a sausage can be pink on the outside.
But if you think of the inside, then that can remain pink inside as well.
According to some food experts, if there is nitrate in the sausage, then the sausage will retain its pink color.
Those sausages which are not salt treated, they can remain pink when cooked.
If you cook them and measure the temperature with a thermometer and get things right scientifically, then those sausages can remain pink and also safe after cooking.
The color of the sausage can tell a lot about it.
So let us explore and see whether we should eat pink sausages, or should we cook it more.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Color Should Sausage Be?
- 2 Are Some Sausages Pink When Cooked?
- 3 Can Sausage Be Pink?
- 4 Is It OK For Italian Sausage To Be A Little Pink?
- 5 Can Pork Sausage Be Pink? / Is Pork Sausage Pink When Cooked?
- 6 Can Turkey Sausage Be Pink?
- 7 Why Is Chicken Sausage Pink?
- 8 How to Tell If Sausage is Fully Cooked?
- 9 Dangers of Uncooked Sausages
- 10 Can Pink Sausages Make You ill?
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions
- 12 Final Thoughts
What Color Should Sausage Be?
The color of the sausage is dependent on the meat it is used to make.
The color of beef and pork sausages will differ from the color of poultry sausages.
Moreover, the way the meat is treated and prepared also affects the color of the sausage.
If we want to generalize a rule for the color of sausages when they are cooked, then we would say that the outer layer of the sausage should be golden brown, and the inside should have a pale color.
The color in the center can differ on the meat.
But the inside should have a reddish color after cooking.
Are Some Sausages Pink When Cooked?
The sausages which are pre-salt treated can remain pink after cooking.
They will be safe to eat despite the color.
The salt treatment has already cured the meat of all bacteria and made it safer even before cooking.
Those sausages just needed to be cooked to make them soft and juicy.
And in terms of those sausages which are not salt treated, they can remain pink when cooked.
If you cook them and measure the temperature with a thermometer and get things right scientifically, then those sausages can remain pink and safe after cooking.
So, the answer to “Can Sausage Be Pink?”
Yes, they can.
Can Sausage Be Pink?
We have already discussed the answer to “Can Sausage Be Pink?”.
Yes, they can.
Let us explore a little more why a sausage can be pink.
A sausage naturally remains pinkish when they are not cooked.
It is because the color of the meat is naturally pink after getting rid of all the blood in it.
But there are some sausages which have a reddish color.
It happens mostly with sausages made with beef and pork.
That is because those sausages contain some trace of blood even after the beef is minced.
On the other hand, some cheap beef sausages stay pink when uncooked.
Those sausages contain fat and rice fillers.
The pink color of the sausage indicates that it is uncooked.
Uncooked sausage is dangerous.
Unlike traditional steak or beef, the bacteria in the sausage do not remain on the outer layer.
The meat of the sausage is minced. It means that the bacteria get all inside to the center of the sausage.
So, when you cook and heat the sausage, the bacteria inside dies and it becomes safe to eat.
The easiest way to understand when it is safe to eat is to check the color.
If the color is not pink, then it is most likely to be safe to eat.
But if you check the temperature with a thermometer and keep it to optimal, then you can make the sausage safe even without changing its color.
So yes, a sausage can remain pink on the outside.
But if you think of the inside, then that can remain pink as well.
If you are not cooking without a thermometer, then you can cut the sausage in the middle and see if the center is pink or not.
If the center is pink or reddish, that means that the sausage is cooked and safe to eat.
In the case of a salt-treated sausage, the inside and the outside can remain pink.
That is because the salt has cured the sausage of all bacteria.
You can get the same pink result for a non-salt-treated sausage by cooking it at the optimal temperature with a thermometer.
Either way, the outside, inside and the center of the sausage can remain pink as long as all the harmful bacteria are killed.
Some food experts suggest that if there is nitrate in the sausage (which is usual), then the sausage will retain its pink color.
Is It OK For Italian Sausage To Be A Little Pink?
Yes, Italian sausages can be a little pink even after they are cooked.
Normally fresh Italian sausages have a soft pinkish color when they are uncooked.
Just like any other type of sausages, the Italian sausages turn golden brown on the outside and pale pink/ red in the center when they are fully cooked.
This color of the sausage changing to the center means that the heat of the fire has reached in.
That means the harmful bacteria in the sausage has died and the sausage is safe to eat.
But, as we have discussed previously, the same result of killing all the harmful bacteria in the sausage can be achieved without changing the color of the sausage.
The sausage can retain its original color and still be safe to eat after cooking.
It just needs to be cooked at the optimal temperature with the required time.
It should be cooked using science with a thermometer.
That way, all the bacteria in the sausage will die and the color can remain pink.
So, if an Italian sausage is cooked optimally, then it is OK for it to be a little pink in color.
Can Pork Sausage Be Pink? / Is Pork Sausage Pink When Cooked?
In “Can Sausage Be Pink?” We have discussed that the pork and beef sausage usually have a reddish color.
But they can be pink as well when uncooked.
Usually, we see pork sausages to be grey, or golden brown when cooked. But they can be pink too.
If you cook the sausage at the optimal temperature with the required time on all sides, the bacteria inside will die.
This will make the sausage safe to eat without turning its color to brown.
So yes, a pork sausage can be pink after being cooked properly.
But it may taste a little raw in our opinion.
Can Turkey Sausage Be Pink?
Turkey sausages can also be pink after cooking.
It is true that the pink-colored sausages raise a lot of red flags, but don’t be too alarmed.
Pink turkey sausage can be safe for eating.
It just needs to be cooked at the optimal temperature to kill all the bacteria inside of the sausage.
It can be achieved by using a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the sausage.
For turkey sausages, the optimal internal temperature is rated to be 74oC (165oF).
So, if you ever see a pink turkey sausage in a restaurant, just plunge a thermometer in it.
If the temperature is right, then it should be safe to eat.
Why Is Chicken Sausage Pink?
Fresh chicken sausage does not remain pink after cooking to the optimal temperature.
However, if your chicken sausage still retains the pink color after cooking at the right temperature, then don’t panic.
The reason could be that your sausage contains nitrate.
Nitrate is not harmful in sausages. It is used to preserve the sausage from rotting.
While it is not common for chicken sausages to contain nitrate, some brands use it for a more life expectancy of their products.
You may happen to get one of their packages.
If you want to be double sure of nitrate being the cause of your pink chicken sausage, then check the ingredients written on the package.
So, the Richmond sausage stay pink when cooked.
How to Tell If Sausage is Fully Cooked?
You just need to insert the needle tip of the thermometer into the end of the sausage and measure the internal temperature of the meat.
The internal temperature of fully cooked pork and beef sausage should reach 160°F for at least 30 seconds.
The internal temperature of the chicken and turkey sausage should be 165°F for at least 30 seconds.
It means the sausage is fully cooked and ready to serve.
At higher temperatures, the fat inside the sausage will get melted and drip away which results in a dry sausage.
But raw meat isn’t safe to eat at lower temperatures because it can still contain various types of bacteria.
Dangers of Uncooked Sausages
Pink sausages are usually an indication of uncooked/ undercooked sausages.
Not only do uncooked sausages taste bad, but they also cause critical health issues.
Uncooked sausages have many harmful bacteria (Sometimes they don’t. It depends on where they are processed. But better safe than sorry).
Those bacteria are not just on the outer layer, but they are all over the sausage.
So, the sausages had to be cooked properly to kill all of them.
If those bacteria are not killed and you eat them, there will be many problems.
Those bacteria will attack your organs and disable them.
It may cause you thousands of dollars in the hospital.
Can Pink Sausages Make You ill?
Can pink sausages make you ill? That depends.
Suppose that the sausage is cooked properly with the optimal temperature and time to kill off all the bacteria in it, then that pink sausage will not make you ill.
But if the sausage is not cooked properly/ undercooked, then it may make you ill. If that sausage is minced and processed in a bacteria-free facility, then it will not make you ill.
But if it is not minced in a bacteria-free facility, then you will be ill.
Moreover, if the pink sausage is salt-treated, then there is no need to be worried. It will be safe to eat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Richmond sausages stay pink when cooked?
If you look at the ingredients of Richmond sausage, it includes potassium or Sodium nitrate used as the preserving salt.
Why is summer sausage pink?
Summer sausage is fermented sausage. It is then smoked for hours at temperature which promote unwanted bacterial growth.
So, to prevent this Cure#1 (Pink Salt) is used.
Pink salt enhances the flavor, tenderizes meat, prevent the food poisoning. It also develops pink color extensively known and associated with smoked meat.
So that summer sausages are pink.
We have reached the end of our discussion.
So, can sausages be pink?
Yes, they can.
If they are salt treated, then there are no issues with pink sausages.
If they are not salt-treated, then they need to be cooked optimally to kill all the bacteria and remain pink.
Most sausages (beef and pork) contain nitrates as preservatives.
Those nitrates make the sausage retain its pink color.
So these are the possible reasons for a sausage to be pink.
No matter which way you look at it as long as the bacteria in the sausage are killed, it will be safe to eat.