Pizza/sausage question

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tusti
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2010/04/23 11:16:39 (permalink)

Pizza/sausage question

When using pork sausage as a topping on a pizza, do you pre-cook the sausage before you put it on the pizza?
I guess the real question is to grease or not to grease?.....let's face it, the grease is where the flavor is.
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    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/23 11:33:46 (permalink)


    When I worked at a small Pizza chain they used bulk uncooked hot Italian sausage.  We would just pinch off small hunks and put it right on the pizza.  The pizzas were cooked at 550 degrees for about 5 minutes, and the sausage came out cooked.

    When I make pizza at home, I will usually cook the sausage in a frying pan for a few minutes, but not cook it completely.  This gives me a chance to add additional seasoning to the sausage like sage and fennel.
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/23 11:34:14 (permalink)
    Chains use a par cooked sausage, good pizza shops use a quality raw Italian sausage
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    Adjudicator
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/23 18:38:54 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    Chains use a par cooked sausage, good pizza shops use a quality raw Italian sausage

    But bacon fat rules.  Remember that!  
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    Greymo
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/23 19:28:23 (permalink)
    Bacon  fat on  pizza.................................yikes!
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    agnesrob
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/25 10:00:10 (permalink)
    My son's favorite pizza topping is bacon. In fact it's rainy here today so we're having a pizza making day. One plain with just cheese, one with bacon and cheese, one deep dish meat lovers, one small white clam and one small muchroom with truffle paste and gruyere. I'm looking forward to it!
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    Scorereader
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 09:12:55 (permalink)
    I always pre-cook sausage before putting on my pizza. Fully cooked. The flavor, which I like, of the browned sausage can only be attained by precooking the sausage. I prefer ground sausage to the pinched size.



    post edited by Scorereader - 2010/04/26 12:31:20
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    RodBangkok
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 09:19:02 (permalink)
    Always pre cook, as a matter of fact the best is to brown the sausage, store in the drippings.  This allows for nice large chunks that are browned and do not yield a lot of fat back onto the finished pie.  You will not get much browning on a raw sausage ball, and its very difficult to insure they fully cooked in such a short high temp environment in a pizza oven.
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 11:15:48 (permalink)
    RodBangkok

    Always pre cook, as a matter of fact the best is to brown the sausage, store in the drippings.  This allows for nice large chunks that are browned and do not yield a lot of fat back onto the finished pie.  You will not get much browning on a raw sausage ball, and its very difficult to insure they fully cooked in such a short high temp environment in a pizza oven.


    I don't believe the pizza folks in Chicago would agree with you or the authentic New York wood burning 700+ degree oven pizza makers either.
    Sausage/ Bacon grease on one's chin is a good thing.
    post edited by chewingthefat - 2010/04/26 11:17:46
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    cjucoder
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 13:00:11 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    RodBangkok

    Always pre cook, as a matter of fact the best is to brown the sausage, store in the drippings.  This allows for nice large chunks that are browned and do not yield a lot of fat back onto the finished pie.  You will not get much browning on a raw sausage ball, and its very difficult to insure they fully cooked in such a short high temp environment in a pizza oven.


    I don't believe the pizza folks in Chicago would agree with you or the authentic New York wood burning 700+ degree oven pizza makers either.
    Sausage/ Bacon grease on one's chin is a good thing.


    I suspect (although it doesn't specify) that the OP is talking about home ovens, and most people don't have home ovens that get to 700+. Carmelization baby. I always precook in a cast iron skillet to get browning for flavor.  Sure, you need fat, but there is no problem having enough fat with pork sausage! Just saying.
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    Scorereader
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 16:28:28 (permalink)
    even in a 700 degree oven, you don't get the browned flavor. It cooks the sausage, but it doesn't add that great flavor. Pre-cooking is best. As pointed out, it's pork  - there's enough fat even after it's been cooked.

    greasy pizza is not desired. Not to the point where it's dripping off - which typically happens with pepperoni pizza - and me and my fellow New Yorkers will dab a napkin on top of a pepperoni slice to rid the slice from the excess grease - and there's still plenty of succulence left. Nothing worse than dripping grease out the back of a folded slice while I'm trying to eat it.



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    tommyeats
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/26 17:13:55 (permalink)
    Most NYC pizza places that I've observed are using par-cooked sausage.  I've never seen a container of raw sausage in the prep area. 

    Most NYC pizza is cooked in stainless steel deck ovens running at 500-550 degrees.  These pizzas often take as long as 12-15 minutes to cook.  Possibly enough time to cook raw sausage, but again this has not been my observation.

    Wood-burning and coal-fired ovens running at upwards to 700 degrees will cook a pizza in 3-4 minutes.  I'm not sure if that's long enough to properly cook pork sausage but would guess not.  I'll take a look at what they're doing on my next visit.  I'm betting it's par-cooked. 

    Neapolitan style pizzas cooked in wood burning brick ovens cook in under 90 seconds.  I have doubts that this is long enough to cook sausage properly, given that it's cold and sitting on a cold skin with cold cheese and sauce.  These pizzas cook only long enough to have the fresh mozz just melted.  I would suspect mozz melts more quickly than sausage cooks. 
     
    Chicago deep dish places use raw sausage, but their pizza cooks for 20 or more minutes, and it gets very hot in that pan of sauce and cheese during that time.  I'm guessing they use a sausage without a high fat content, otherwise they've have a pastry shell filled with pork fat (not a bad thing, mind you, but probably not very good in the context of pizza, deep dish or not).

    I cook pizza at home in about 4 minutes.  For this, I cook the sausage out of the casing pretty much until done.  It has time to heat up on the pizza, and that's about it.  There is plenty of flavor in the sausage.  I don't subscribe to the "fat=flavor" thing.  Plenty of food has flavor with no animal fat...dough, sauce and basil among them.


    post edited by tommyeats - 2010/04/26 18:19:17
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/27 12:06:37 (permalink)
    90 seconds in a 700 degree oven is enough time to cook the raw sausage pinched on top of a pizza, if you don't believe that, stick your bare hand inside one of those bad boys for about 1/10th of a second
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    cjucoder
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/27 13:36:35 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    90 seconds in a 700 degree oven is enough time to cook the raw sausage pinched on top of a pizza, if you don't believe that, stick your bare hand inside one of those bad boys for about 1/10th of a second


    But... who has a 700 degree oven? Seriously. I'd love it, but is this something new that I simply am not aware of? Wouldn't surprise me, but I don't know anyone that has a 700 degree oven. I think we are talking about making kick-ass pizza in our own houses and I suspect most of us don't have a 700 degree oven.

    And to answer your question, it is true, I have not stuck my bare hand inside a 700 degree oven. I have never even been in the presence of a 700 degree oven.

    How many times can I say "700 degree oven" in one post? Looks like I'm at 6
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    tommyeats
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/27 13:37:28 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    90 seconds in a 700 degree oven is enough time to cook the raw sausage pinched on top of a pizza, if you don't believe that, stick your bare hand inside one of those bad boys for about 1/10th of a second

    you're probably right.  and in seeing Foodosauras's post above, there's another data point suggesting that some places with not-very-hot deck ovens use raw sausage.  i'll stick with par cooking for now, but perhaps i'll cook it a bit less and see how it goes.

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    tusti
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/27 17:42:10 (permalink)
    Okay, how about this? Brown the sausage only on the bottom then put it on the pie browned side down letting the oven cook the top portion?
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    chewingthefat
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/28 13:39:05 (permalink)
    True about home ovens not getting close to 700 degrees, I think commercial since I own a Restaurant. For home use, I would fully fry the sausage and add it as soon as I pulled the pie, I don't want double cooked sausage.
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    cjucoder
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    Re:Pizza/sausage question 2010/04/28 14:14:46 (permalink)
    chewingthefat

    True about home ovens not getting close to 700 degrees, I think commercial since I own a Restaurant. For home use, I would fully fry the sausage and add it as soon as I pulled the pie, I don't want double cooked sausage.


    Whoa! Why did I never think of that? Fry it up in a cast-iron skillet and then add it to the pizza after baking the pie. Thanks! That sounds so obvious but yet sounds perfect for us home cooks.

    Although it seems the sausage would roll off the slice while eating, unless you added the sausage immediately while the cheese was still molten from the oven enough to grab the sausage. Hmmm. Never tried such a thing.

    I guess my experience has been that when the pre-cooked sausage is put under the cheese before baking it does not get over-cooked and over-brown, although I am certainly no expert!

    Boy, now I want to experiment and eat pizza! Thanks chewingthefat!!!
    post edited by cjucoder - 2010/04/28 14:39:07
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