Can sausage be pink? [All You Need to Know]

Published Categorized as Guide, Meat

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Sausages are a deliciously varied and hearty food type loved across the world, whether they are made with pork, poultry, beef or even vegetarian varieties. However, due to how they can often be made with different ingredients or types of minced meat, the result when you cook sausages can also vary greatly.

As such, since meat being pink is often a sign it is raw, you may be wondering, can sausage be pink when cooked? The answer is yes, it can be pink if the meat is salt-treated and/or the sausage itself contains red food seasonings.

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What Colour Should Sausage Be?

We’ve mentioned above that sausages can be made from a variety of different ingredients and come in a few different shapes. However, in most scenarios one uncooked or cooked sausage will look somewhat similar to another.

Naturally, when talking about this, we need to discuss both the outside and inside of the sausage, as we have done so below:

Uncooked Sausages

  • Outside: Slightly translucent white or yellow sausage skin with the colour of the filling being slightly visible.
  • Inside: Mostly deep pink in colour due to the raw meat. Other colours may also potentially be visible due to the presence of additional filings aside from minced meat.

Cooked Sausages

  • Outside: Will have browned somewhat and may have a slight char. The skin should cling closely to the filling, however. As such, the slightly translucent nature will help show the colour of the insides.
  • Inside: A pork sausage, the most common sausage in most places, will typically become a golden brown or slightly grey colour when properly cooked.
Can sausage be pink?

Can Fully Cooked Sausages Be Pink?

When it comes to cooking, you don’t want to take the risk of an undercooked sausage, or indeed any other type of meat. This is because when cooking meat potentially dangerous bacteria that will give you food poisoning will be killed by the heat.

At the same time, however, you don’t want to overcook sausage since whilst these will be safe to eat, they likely won’t be very safe to eat. Naturally then, if you’ve followed how to correctly cook your sausages and they’re still a little pink you may be confused, along with being concerned about consuming potentially tainted meat.

Pork Sausages

We’ve mentioned above how typically when cooked properly, pork sausages will be either a golden brown or slightly grey colour. However, are some pork sausages pink when cooked? 

In most circumstances, it is probably not advisable to eat pink sausages derived from pork. However, there are a few circumstances where an exception can be made:

  • If the meat used in the creation of the sausage has undergone a salt treatment or been cured then it may remain pink even after being thoroughly cooked.
  • Depending on the other ingredients used, the inside of a completely cooked sausage may appear slightly pink. For example, if pink salt or paprika is added to the sausage meat mixture then these will likely retain their colour whilst potentially dying the meat with a slight pink tint.
  • Some types of meat, particularly pork products such as bacon and ham can have a slight pinkness to them, even when cooked. As such, if they have been thoroughly cooked at the right sausage cooking temperature and are still slightly pink, then they will probably be safe to eat. However, they may taste slightly raw in some cases.

Beef Sausages

Similarly to pork sausages, beef sausages will often start out as pink when raw and turn either grey or golden brown when cooked properly. 

However, cheap beef sausages will be more likely to remain at least slightly pink due to the presence of fat and rice fillers.

Additionally, many of the factors above related to pork sausages will often apply to beef sausages. 

Like with pork sausages as well, be very careful with beef ones since like undercooked pork sausage they may give you food poisoning. This is because unlike say a steak when beef is minced, the outside bacteria is mixed around the entire sausage, meaning a sear won’t eliminate them.

is it ok for a sausage to be pink

Poultry Sausages

Turkey sausages may end up remaining pink after being cooked. However, if cooked properly and it was able to reach the appropriate internal temperature then it should be perfectly fit for human consumption.

That said though like with pork or beef sausages it is ultimately advisable to only eat pink turkey sausages if they are only a little pink.

With chicken sausages, things are slightly different though. This is because whilst fresh and unprocessed the chicken sausage won’t be pink when cooked, that isn’t universally true for all sausages of this type. 

Processed chicken sausages often contain high levels of sodium nitrate. This preservative helps to increase the shelf life of sausages. However, as a side effect, it can make them appear pink.

As such brands like Richmond’s sausages may appear pink even when they’re fully cooked.

Italian Sausage

Italian sausage is similar to traditional pork sausages in that it will often be red or pink when raw. However, they are also much more likely to retain these colours once they’ve been fully cooked. Although they will still brown to a degree.

The reason for this is that whilst other types of sausages may include salt or red coloured seasonings, both are very much commonplace in Italian sausages (check out how long Italian sausage lasts in the fridge). In particular, salt and paprika will often be used as core ingredients. As a result, the pink colouring is often somewhat preserved.

Can sausage be really pink

The Dangers Of Eating Raw Or Undercooked Meats

If you eat undercooked or raw meat (e.g. raw bacon) which hasn’t been treated such as with minced meat found in sausages then there is a high likelihood that you will become seriously ill. This is because raw meat can contain a variety of bacteria such as E Coli or Salmonella which can damage your body if consumed.

In minor cases, this can lead to you being very unwell for a few days. During such a time period, you may experience symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting or diarrhoea.

However, in more severe cases they can also potentially lead to organ damage and could even be fatal.

With this in mind, whilst pink sausage as a result of seasonings or salt treatment can be safe to eat it is unwise to take the risk if unsure why your cooked sausages are still pink.   

Answered: Can sausage be pink?

Sausages being pink is often a sign that they are raw or at least undercooked. Eating sausages in this state can be hazardous for your health and potentially cause permanent physical damage or death.

However, sausages can be pink due to being undercooked. Equally though if the meat inside has been salted treated or contains red or pink seasoning ingredients such as paprika a perfectly safe and cooked sausage may still appear red.

As such, if you know for certain that your sausages look pink because of either of other ingredients because of these factors then they will most likely be safe to eat. If uncertain though, you absolutely should not take the risk.

pink sausage good or bad

FAQ – Can Sausage Be Pink?

Is pink sausage okay to eat?

Pink sausage is only oaky to eat if fully cooked and the pinkness is due to either the meat being salt-treated and/or the sausage filling contains red food seasonings such as paprika.

What happens if you eat undercooked sausages?

If you eat undercooked sausages there is a good chance that you will become very ill as your body is exposed to foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella and E Coli. In such cases, you may experience symptoms such as a high fever vomiting or diarrhoea. However, in severe cases, you may suffer organ damage or even death.

How do you know a sausage is undercooked?

The most obvious indication that most sausages are undercooked is that they will appear to be pink or red, along with still being quite soft on the casing. Additionally, if you eat it, it will obviously taste raw, however, if unsure how well cooked the sausage in question is, you should not ingest it.

Why do some sausages stay pink?

Some sausages will stay pink when cooked due to either the presence of sodium nitrate that is added during meat processing or due to seasoning on the minced meat itself such as paprika.