When making a dish that begins with sautéing either bulk or link sausage that’s been removed from its casing, there are many effective techniques for chopping the meat into bite-sized bits.
Allowing the sausage to cook for a few minutes first is "easier than trying to break it up when completely raw," says valerie. Some hounds simply use a wooden spoon to fragment it, while others repurpose a potato masher or pastry blender.
You can also go the opposite route and break up the sausage before cooking—if you're willing to put in the labor. "[T]he only method that provides a satisfactory result for me is to crumble the raw sausage by hand into the pan," says lisavf. "Yes, it takes a long time, but I end up with appropriately sized pieces of sausage, depending on the dish."
If quick-and-easy food prep is more your style, do the bulk of the work after the sausage leaves the pan. "[M]y new trick is to pulse in the [food processor] once it is cooked," says andieb. "I've been doing this for a few years and it's saved both time and hand cramps," adds TorontoJo, who likes the fine, minced texture that this method yields. "Makes for great chili," she says.