Have the sausages stopped screaming, Clarice? That variant on the creepy line from “Silence of the Lambs” is kind of fitting here, because this week, YouTubers discovered that sausages can scream while being cooked. Numerous videos of sausages and hot dogs, being cooked either on stovetops or in microwaves, have started trending due to the screechy noise the meats make when cooked.
The weird thing about the videos is that the cooks don’t seem to be doing anything unusual with the sausages. They’re just cooking them, at high heat, and when they shake the pan, the eerie moans emerge from the sausage. Apparently, the little meat products are having their wurst day ever.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to find the videos to be really disturbing. They’re screaming! They don’t want to be cooked and eaten! If you’ve seen the really risqué movie “Sausage Party,” or even just its trailer, where the groceries scream in horror as a woman scarfs down baby carrots, you know how unnerving it is to personify food.
As the screaming-sausage videos trended, so too did a 2017 interview from a site called Extra Crispy, in which British food scientist Stuart Farrimond discussed how he’s measured the decibel levels produced by sausage recipes dating back to 1845. (No, it’s not from the Onion.)
Farrimond told the site that he held a decibel meter away from the sausage, which was cooking in a clean, lightly oiled pan at 160 C (320 F). He discovered that today’s sausages just don’t make as much noise as those made from older recipes, noting that it’s because they are more lean and contain less moisture.
I like a challenge, so I decided to try to replicate the screaming sausage videos in my own kitchen. I bought four kinds of sausages, ranging from super-basic Armour hot dogs and Jimmy Dean original sausage links, to two varieties of fancy chicken sausage -- roasted garlic and gruyere, and mozzarella-roasted garlic.
I dug out four different cooking pans in case the pan surface made a difference, and cranked up my gas stove. And … nothing. I tried my well-seasoned cast-iron pan. I tried a non-stick pan. I tried a pan with slanted sides. I tried a pan with high sides. I oiled the pans. I poured water in the pans. I tried dry pans. Low heat, medium heat, high heat – the sausages cooked, and my kitchen soon smelled delicious, but they never screamed.
Could the videos be fake? The sounds sure seemed real. One of the last videos I found showed sausages screaming from inside a microwave, so I decided to give it one last shot. I put a variety of different sausages on a microwave-safe plate and pressed COOK.
And guess what? We have a wiener! After about 40 seconds, the hot dogs started to make a definite horror-movie scream noise. And who can blame them? When I finally opened the microwave and freed them from their torture chamber, they’d split open and turned into a pulpy mess.
I still don’t quite know how those screaming-sausage video-makers got their viral results, but it was fun to try, doggone it. If you’d rather not make your hot dogs at home, try out this list of the 75 best hot dogs for 2018.