Pork sausages are tubes of finely minced pork, usually taken from the shoulder or leg of a pig, then seasoned and stuffed into a thin casing or skin. The casing can be made from various materials. In the past, sausage casings were made from the cleaned intestine of the pig, but they have gradually been replaced with casings produced from cellulose, collagen or plastic. The pork sausages are fried; grilled; or smoked, cured and preserved to be eaten cold at a later time. This form of food preparation and preservation is an ancient one, dating back to 4,000 B.C. and the Sumerians.
Certain sausage manufacturers use non-meat fillers and extenders in their products. These fillers serve to contribute to water binding and create a sausage that has a tighter or more resilient quality. Ingredients such as flour, processed potato and corn syrup are sometimes used. Extenders such as plant proteins — primarily soybeans — are inserted into the pork sausages to enhance their overall bulk. In many countries, these fillers are regulated and restricted as to the quantity and quality of additives used, even going as far as renaming the product if the ratio of fillers to pork is too high.
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to cooking pork sausages. Either way, the pan frying method usually is preferred over grilling. The sausages are arranged in a preheated pan that has been glazed with a dab of butter, and then they are allowed to gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while the cook makes sure not to allow the sausage casing to burn or stick to the frying pan. There is a theory that poking a few tiny holes in the sausage with a fork will enhance the flavor. Other people claim that allowing the pork sausages to simmer without any holes is the way to go.
Another popular method of cooking pork sausages is for the cook to first place them in a pan with a thin layer of water, to essentially boil them for several minutes. After this has been accomplished, the sausages are then allowed to simmer in butter or oil for the remaining cooking time. This method is intended to extract even more flavor from the sausages. The non-water proponents, however, are just as vociferous in their claims about their particular process. Ultimately, the method used to cook pork sausages is subjective and up to individual tastes.