Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sausage and Peppers on the Grill

This is something I saw on the web: the idea is that instead of grilling sausages directly on the grill, you steam them in a foil pan with some liquid (or liquid-bearing vegetables) first. This allows you to get the sausages cooked reasonably through, and get some smoke flavor into them, before searing them - and it means less chance of burning the skins of the sausages or leaving the centers undercooked.

The method is supposed to be good for all manner of sausage dishes, but, again, we're making sausage and peppers. We'll start with some Italian sausage, an onion, a bell pepper, and a large clove of garlic. The fettuccine, parmesan cheese, butter, and cream you see here are for Fettuccine Alfredo, something I pretty much always have with sausage and peppers.

Oh, the high-dollar olive oil you see here was just for the picture. I switched it out for some cheaper stuff for the actual process - we really don't need the good stuff for this dish.

And yeah, I know that I could have chosen some much better sausage from a specialty-foods store. Just didn't have time for that.

(Note vodka cocktail for scale.)

We'll also soak some hickory chips in water for the smoker box:

Slice the onion and pepper and add it to an aluminum-foil pan. Mince the garlic and sprinkle it on the top:

Arrange the sausages on the top. I'd forgotten tomatoes in my mise en place, so I sliced up some homegrown ones and added them after the sausages.

 Drizzle with a little olive oil, and place the pan on the cooler side of a preheated grill. Cover and relax for a bit with the vodka cocktail.

After a while the vegetables will start to cook. As they do, they'll give off some liquid, which the sausages will steam in. Here they're about half done:

After a little while longer the sausages will start to get brown and crisp, and the vegetables will be done all the way through and start to caramelize a bit.

That's when it's time to move the sausages off to the grill and sear them a bit. Note that we also pile the vegetables up on the cooler side of the grill to prevent them from burning:

This right here is what you're looking for - the sausages are seared and even cracked a bit, but they certainly haven't been overworked.

The sausages go back in the pan with the vegetables, and taken into the house to wait in a warm oven while we make the fettuccine.

All set - the fettuccine is just boiled al dente, and tossed with butter and parmesan to taste along with a little pepper and parsley. The cream is added only if we need to loosen the sauce up a bit.

And here it is plated. This was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. I think I'll use this method from now on.