Can Sausage Be Pink? Is it Safe?

Aromatic Grilled Sausages On A Cutting Board.

Sausages are probably one of the most versatile meats in the universe. You can serve it with eggs and toast for breakfast; add it to pasta, or use it as a burger topping.

However, if you’ve ever cooked sausage, you’ve probably noticed that there is a little tinge of pink. Pink sausage will make you wonder whether it is safe to consume.

Can Sausage Be Pink?

Believe it or not, sausage can be pink on the inside. Most people associate pink sausage with undercooked meat.

Furthermore, since sausage is made with ground beef, people are more apprehensive about consuming pink sausage. Therefore, pink sausage is not generally perceived by the public as safe to eat.

However, the truth is, even if the sausages are fully cooked, they can have a pink interior. Most sausages contain salt, with helps preserve their pink color.

Moreover, sausages may contain spices such as paprika or cayenne pepper. These deep red seasonings can give the sausage a pink color that will last even if it’s cooked.

All in all, as long as you cook your sausages thoroughly, they will be safe to consume, even if they have a pink interior.

However, all sausages are not the same. This rule only applies to sausages made with ground beef or pork.

Ground beef sausages can have a pink, slightly reddish color on the inside. However, the outside of the sausage must be seared on the exterior and have a firm interior.

In the case of pork sausages, you should always cook them to the recommended temperature. In addition to this, the sausages should have a firm texture and be free of any pink colors.

Pork can contain parasites like tapeworms or roundworms. These parasites can cause trichinosis.

Symptoms of trichinosis include fever, abdominal pain, and headaches. Cooking the pork sausages to the recommended temperature will neutralize these illness-causing parasites.

Nevertheless, pork sausages with a slight pink tinge can be safe to eat if the juices that run from the sausages are clear and free of blood when the sausage is sliced. As I mentioned above, seasonings, salt, colorants, and nitrates can be added to the sausage to preserve the meat and its color. This is why hotdogs have a pinkish-reddish color when they are fully cooked.

If you are unsure if your pork or beef sausages are fully cooked, use a thermometer to measure their internal temperature. Fully cooked pork sausages have an internal temperature of 160˚F. 

Do not cook the sausages above 160˚F. The juices will start to evaporate, leaving you with a dry sausage.

Can Chicken Sausage Be Pink?

Chicken sausages are a different ball game compared to their beef and pork counterparts. Chicken sausage should never be pink unless it contains paprika, salt, or other seasonings like cayenne pepper or chili powder which can impart a pink color to the meat. The ingredient list on the back of the package of chicken sausage will let you know if the chicken sausage contains colored seasonings or salt.

Undercooked chicken sausage looks bloody and has a soft texture. Therefore, unless the sausage contains colored ingredients, the chicken sausage should have a pale, brownish interior.

Bacteria can be present in undercooked chicken sausages. Therefore, use a thermometer to ensure the chicken sausages are cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. 

Can Turkey Sausage Be Pink?

Turkey sausage is in the same boat as chicken sausage. There should not be any pink unless it was made with colored ingredients.

This is why you should use the internal temperature to measure the turkey sausage’s doneness. Fully cooked turkey sausages have a temperature of 165°F.

Can Italian Sausage Pink?

Yes, Italian sausage can be pink. However, make sure you cook the Italian sausages to 160°F.

What Color Should Cooked Sausages Be?

If sausage with a pink interior is nothing to panic about, what color should cooked sausages be? Beef and pork sausages should have a deep brown color with a slight reddish-pink tinge in the center. 

In contrast, poultry sausages should have a light pinkish reddish color. However, the sausage’s texture should not be overly wet or dry.

Can You Eat Undercooked Pork Sausage?

To answer whether or not you can eat undercooked pork sausage, let’s discuss the types of pork sausages. There are 3 primary types of pork sausages: fresh, ready-to-eat, and dry or semi-dry sausages.

Fresh sausages are with raw ground pork, a binder, or an extender. Since they are raw, they must be cooked to 160°F.

Ready-to-eat sausages can be cooked or smoked. They are made from ground meat and seasoned before they are cooked.

Ready-to-eat sausages would be bologna, hot dogs, or kielbasa. Since they are fully cooked, these sausages can be eaten warm or cold even though they have a pink color. 

Dry or semi-dry sausages have a distinctive tangy taste. The tangy flavor comes from the meat’s exposure to bacteria. This process preserves the meat and allows it to last longer. Pepperoni and summer sausages are the most popular types of dry or semi-dry sausages.

You do not have to cook dry sausage. You can serve them as they are. However, there is a risk that comes with eating dry sausages: E.coli.

Older individuals, children under 5, and persons with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk of developing food poisoning from dry sausage. So, it’s best to feed these persons fully cooked sausages.

In addition to this, you should pay attention when cooking of sausages. Make sure pork, veal, lamb, and veal sausages have an internal temperature of 160°F.

Moreover, make sure your chicken sausages have a temperature of 165°F. These precautions will ensure your family members are not exposed to food poisoning.

Final Thoughts

Even if they are fully cooked, sausages may have a pink interior. However, sausages can brown prematurely.

For this reason, the color is a horrible test of sausage’s doneness. Therefore, use a food-grade thermometer to ensure your sausages did not brown prematurely.

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