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Beyond the Brat: Sizzling Summer Sausages

Consider grilling an assortment of sausages to celebrate this year's July 4th holiday.

Looking to get more bang for your barbecue buck this Fourth of July holiday? Consider an assortment of grilled sausages that go beyond the brats.

Italian, Cajun, Polish and Hungarian styles of sausages can be found at such local meat markets as Holland Meats, that makes a variety of homemade sausage specialties prefect for grilling. From Cajun Boudin to Mexico link Chorizo to Polish Kielbasa you’ll discover a world of sausages that are grill-able and affordable.

Italian sausage is a local favorite that offers a flavorful alternative to brats that is blended with a unique mix of herbs and spices that are available in a variety of styles. Commercial sausage producers such as Johnsonville that are sold at most large grocery chains as Dierbergs makes its Italian sausage in three flavors; mild, sweet or hot.

Served on a bun or grilled and tossed into pasta  sausages have versatility whether shaped and cooked as burgers, skewered as kabobs, or given the gourmet treatment with a flavor bath, a mixture of herbs and liquid, as wine or beer is designed to simmer sausages in after grilling.  Yet, no matter the recipes, sausages a snap to grill providing you follow a few guidelines.  

The number one grill rule: Avoid utensils such as forks, which can puncture the sausage and allow flavorful juices to escape.

Keep all your food safe and flavorful by using one set of tongs to place raw meat on the grill and different tongs to turn meat that is already cooking, as well as any side dishes, such as vegetables, that you may be grilling at the same time.

Grill sausages at a low to medium-low heat and cook slowly to keep the meat moist and flavorful. Meat should be cooked through with no pink showing, and a thermometer should read 160 degrees when your sausage is done.

When buying sausage for your grill party plan on two links (about six ounces) per serving.  

For more information of sausage varieties and recipes click on The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council at www.hot-dog.org or visit www.johnsonville.com, which provided this week's recipes. 

White Wine Sausage Bath

  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 shallots or small onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) sauvignon blanc or other fruity white wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 packages (19.76 ounces each) Mild Italian Sausage Links
  • Large (12-inch x 9-inch) heavy-duty disposable foil pan

Preheat grill to medium-low. Place a large heavy-duty disposable foil pan on grill. Add mushrooms, peppers, shallots and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Add wine, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add sausage and cover pan with foil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into sausage reads 160 degrees

Remove sausage from pan. Grill links until browned; then return to pan. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Cover pan and keep warm until serving. Makes 10 servings

Italian Burgers

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Bulk Mild Italian Sausage
  • 6 tablespoons pesto
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 6 slices tomato
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 6 hamburger buns, split

Preheat grill to medium. In large bowl, combine egg, onion and bread crumbs. Add ground beef and sausage; mix well. Shape into six burgers.  Grill burgers for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve burgers on buns with pesto, provolone cheese, tomato and basil. Makes 6 servings 

Summertime Kabobs

  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups Italian salad dressing, divided
  • 1 package (19.76 ounces) Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage Links
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Black olives, optional

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine peppers, onion and 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing. Seal bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place 1 inch of water in a large skillet; add sausage. Bring to a simmer; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool sausage slightly; cut into 1-inch pieces.

Preheat grill to medium. On metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread sausage, peppers, onion, pineapple and olives. Grill for 10 minutes or until browned, turning frequently and basting with remaining Italian dressing. Makes 6 servings.

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