Smoked Sausage Sandwiches

I love grilled fresh sausages, done directly on the grates or even on a cedar plank. This time, I decided to smoke a few different kinds of fresh-made sausages low-and-slow. And boy, was I ever happy with the results. Great smoky flavor. Tender and juicy. Topped with the most incredible pepper and onion mix ever. These messy smoked sausage sandwiches were a great treat.
Smoked Sausage SandiwichesIf you don’t want to take the few hours it takes to smoke the sausages, you can grill them. But the topping, that you have to do. No short-cutting that. It’s not only great on smoked sausage sandwiches but also takes the ever-humble hot dog to new heights. Also try my smoked sausage sandwiches with beer-braised onions.

The round things in the middle of my smoker? Those are smoked Scotch eggs.

Smoked Sausage Sandwiches
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
For the smoked sausages
  • 6 bratwurst, Italian sausage, whatever you prefer
  • 6 hoagie buns
  • Spicy mustard, if desired
For the topping
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
For the smoked sausages
  1. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. You can also cook the sausages on a gas or charcoal grill.
  2. Add the sausages and smoke for 2 hours or until the internal temperature is 155 F.
  3. Toast the buns, if desired.
  4. Assemble the sandwiches by adding the sausages to the buns and loading up on the topping. Add a bit of spicy mustard too, if desired.
For the topping
  1. Note: I prefer to make this topping on a griddle insert on my grill since I'm already outside smoking the sausage. You can also make it in a large skillet on your stovetop.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat.
  3. Add onions and peppers and saute until tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste, beer, and BBQ sauce.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be nice and thick. If it gets too thick add a bit more beer or some water.
  7. \

Ciabatta and Sausage Dressing

As much as I love turkey around the holidays, it’s the dressing and gravy that I love the most. Dressing (specially this ciabatta and sausage version) has so many different flavors and textures and colors. Turkey? Meh… not so much. Not that the turkey is a bad thing, it’s just that I much prefer a plate with a lot of dressing and just a bit of turkey.
I had never had a dressing that contained sausage until this one. I was blown away by just how much flavor the sage sausage adds. The ciabatta adds such wonderful texture and flavor too. There’s no question, this is one fantastic dressing.

Also try my more traditional Thanksgiving Day dressing.

Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
  • 3 tablespoons. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (1 pound) roll bulk sage breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cups turkey stock (chicken stock can be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • 1 (12 ounce) loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1" pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Add remaining butter to the skillet and melt.
  5. Add the carrot, onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.
  6. Place the sausage, cooked vegetables, stock, oil, parsley, rosemary sage and bread into a large bowl and stir.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish and spread out evenly.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
  10. Serve garnished with more parsley if desired.

Beer Can Chicken Jambalaya

I made a lot, and I do mean a lot, of beer can chickens on my Char-Broil Big Easy last weekend. So, I had a good amount of chicken on hand, and that got me to thinking jambalaya. I took the classic jambalaya recipe from Chef John Folse and used my tender, incredibly flavorful beer can chicken instead of browned fresh chicken.

There’s no loser in this beer can chicken jambalaya, but for me the winner is the rice (well, and me for getting to eat it). It absorbs flavors from the vegetables and meats and broth and spices and turns out just flat-out incredible.

You can add shrimp to this jambalaya if you want, but I prefer mine without it. It’s hard to re-heat shrimp leftovers without them becoming way too tough. Since this recipe make a big, big batch and there’s only two of us, I was guaranteed to have leftovers and then some.

Beer Can Chicken Jambalaya
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14-18 servings
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds cooked beer can chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and cayenne pepper (I used 2-3 tablespoons), to taste
  • Louisiana style hot sauce (I used 1/4 cup or more), to taste
  • 5 cups uncooked long grain rice
  1. Heat oil in a very large (7 quart or larger) Dutch oven.
  2. Add the sausage and brown lightly on all sides. Remove.
  3. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  5. Add the stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, reserved smoked sausage, mushrooms, green onions, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce.
  7. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.
  8. Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring every 15 minutes.

Kraut-Stuffed Sausages

For years and years I have grilled my sausages after they spent some quality time in a ‘bath’ of beer and peppers and onions. And they are great, I admit it. But these kraut-stuffed sausages, well, they’re really beyond great. Tender, moist, and just packed with flavor. Such a wonderful texture in every single bite. I couldn’t stop eating them. Topped with plenty of mustard, these are now my only go-to grilled sausages.
kraut-stuffed-sausagesYou have to use the right kind of sausages to make these kraut-stuffed sausages. Get the fresh sausages, with casings. You need to be able to poke your finger inside to make a cavity for the fantastic (but easy) filling. And unless your fingers are really, really long, don’t get really, really long sausages!

I suggested to Anita that we try adding other things to the stuffing, such as chopped roasted jalapenos, or poblanos or the like and she gave me a dirty look. The “don’t mess with this” look. So I won’t.

Also try my bratwurst bath. Perfect for getting brats ‘happy’ before grilling them.

Kraut-Stuffed Sausages
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 servings
  • 1 pound fresh sausages (Italian, Kielbasa, whichever you prefer, just make sure you get the sausages in casings). I used Johnsonville Italian sausages which come 5 to a pound
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut thin
  • 1 pound kraut plus some of the juice
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, mozzarella, any good white melting cheese will work)
  • 5 fresh sausage buns
  • Your favorite mustard
  1. Using your fingers, make a hole down the center of each sausage, creating a cavity that runs the full length of the sausages.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion, kraut, and a bit of the juice from the kraut jar.
  4. Stir and let cook until the onions are softened.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  6. Stir in the cheese. It won't melt but it will help bind the kraut mixture together.
  7. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  8. Using your hands, grab some of the kraut mixture and force it into the cavity in the sausages. Just keep packing it in. Don't worry about being all pretty and what-not, just get it in there. But don't shove so hard that you have a blowout!
  9. Place sausages over indirect heat on the grill and cook for 30 minutes until nice and dark and done.
  10. Toast the buns.
  11. Add cooked sausages to the buns and top with plenty of mustard.

Easy Sausage Stromboli

This easy sausage stromboli is called easy for a reason. We’d just gotten in from a long day and we were hungry and too beat to throw together a huge meal. But that doesn’t mean huge and lame. Just easy and fantastic. Yummy Italian sausage (spicy sausage makes it even better), pizza sauce and lots of ooey-gooey cheese all in crispy golden brown dough. Nothing fancy, nothing fru-fru, but definitely good and filling.
Easy Sausage StromboliDon’t be afraid to add a little chopped bell pepper to the onion while it is cooking up. Don’t get it too soft though, you’ll still want a bit of crunch to it. If you have extra pizza sauce on hand warm it up and serve it on the side for dipping.

Also try my other stromboli recipe and a stromboli sandwich (yum!).

Easy Sausage Stromboli
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 pound pizza dough (I used a tube of Pillsbury pizza crust)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping if desired
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
For the topping
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Saute the onion in a splash of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Crumble in the sausage and cook until done.
  5. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape in a 10" x 13" low-rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.
  7. Sprinkle the dough with half of the mozzarella.
  8. Add sausage and drizzle with the sauce.
  9. Add remaining mozzarella.
  10. Roll the dough up working from the longest edge. Pinch the seam and edges, and place seam-side down onto the mat.
  11. Combine the topping ingredients and brush over the top of the dough.
  12. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 18 minutes.
  13. Let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  14. Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping if desired.
For the topping

Italian Sausage Sandwiches Version 3.0

These Italian sausage sandwiches have become somewhat of a tradition in our house around New Year’s and the Superbowl. I make a nice big batch of them and let them slow cook either on the stove or in a slow cooker, ready to eat at any time. Perfect eats for watching football games, specially college bowl games. Spicy sausage with a flavorful tomato sauce loaded with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. All topped (of course) with ooey-gooey cheese.
I’m not sure I’ve ever made my Italian sausage sandwiches exactly the same way each year. Sometimes I go the spicy route, sometimes I use sweet sausages. Sometimes I add more bell peppers, sometimes I just add more mushrooms. It just kind of depends on how I feel that day. If you don’t mind spicy, add more red pepper flake and a good amount of hot sauce.

Also try my other version of Italian sausage sandwiches, all fantastic:version 1.0 and version 2.0.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches Version 3.0
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 sandwiches
  • 4 cups pizza sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 hot Italian sausages, in casings
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste) red pepper flake
  • 2 loaves French bread
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Place the pizza and tomato sauces into a large pot over medium heat.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat a splash or two of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the sausages, browning on all sides. Transfer browned sausages to the pot of sauce.
  3. Add more oil to the Dutch oven and add all of the vegetables. Saute until just starting to get soft, then transfer to the pot of sauce along with the sausages.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.
  5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Slice the bread in half. I prefer to do this by cutting a 'V' down the top of the bread, making a trench for the sausages and sauce. I find that the bread doesn't split so easily this way. I also remove some of the bread inside just to make more room for the great toppings.
  7. Cut bread into lengths a tad shorter than the sausages.
  8. Add meat and top with sauce and a little bit of the vegetables.
  9. Top with cheese and place on a sheet pan under the oven broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.

Beef Summer Sausage

Well, hot diggity dog! Get me some cheese and crackers and fast! This beef summer sausage came out tasting fantastic! Perfect texture, too. Boy, I could not have been happier with it. Great beefy flavor with a hint of smoke and pepper.
I made my beef summer sausage ‘log’ a bit bigger round than I had thought, close to 2 inches. Not that that was a bad thing, but next time I’ll shoot for a size that fits more perfectly onto a cracker. A little meaty overhang isn’t a bad thing, mind you.

And I might add a bit of heat next time. I’m thinking that a few good sized pinches of red pepper flake ought to do it!

Also try my homemade Italian sausage.

Beef Summer Sausage
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pound
  • 2 pounds 95/5 ground beef (the leanest you can find, preferably)
  • 2 tablespoons Morton's Tender Quick
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black pepper (or use regular black pepper and add a bit more Liquid Smoke)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  1. Place the meat into a bowl and add the Tender Quick. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, start by preheating your oven to 225 F.
  3. Add the Liquid Smoke, pepper and garlic salt to the meat and mix very well.
  4. Divide the meat into two equally-sized halves and form into logs.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 4 hours.
  6. Remove and let cool completely before slicing thin and serving with sliced cheeses and crackers.

Country Sausage Gravy

There is truly no gravy like this country sausage gravy. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it is beyond worth the time. Creamy, meaty (sausage AND bacon!) and packed full of great flavors. Amazing flavors, unlike any gravy I’ve ever had.

I like to make this gravy in a large cast iron skillet over charcoal. There’s just something about being outside early in the morning cooking up a big batch of gravy for breakfast over a hot charcoal fire. Of course you can cook it just as easily on the stove top.
Country Sausage GravyI usually serve this gravy over biscuits, but it would be incredible on a chicken-fried steak. For that matter, it’d be incredible on anything that requires sausage gravy.

Country Sausage Gravy
Recipe type: Gravy
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
For the gravy
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage, crumbled
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (or more) milk
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
Serving suggestions
  • Hot baked biscuits
  • Chicken-fried steak
  1. Note: You can make this wonderful gravy on the grill (using direct and indirect cooking) or stove.
  2. Heat a large (cast-iron is best) skillet over lit charcoal (direct heat) or on the stove top over medium-high heat.
  3. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove to paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Add the crumbled sausage and cook until browned, stirring often. Remove to a large bowl. Crumble the bacon and add to the cooked sausage.
  5. Add the butter to skillet and melt.
  6. Add in the onion and cook until just soft.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. If cooking on the grill, move the skillet to indirect heat. On the stove, reduce heat to medium-low.
  9. Add flour, a little at a time. Mix, and add more flour. Cook until blonde in color. If too thin, add a bit more flour.
  10. Add the milk 1/2 cup at a time, mixing. Continue cooking until thickened.
  11. Add the chicken bouillon cube and stir.
  12. Add in the sage, thyme, and cayenne. Mix well.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and green onion.
  14. Add in the sausage and bacon mixture. Stir and add more milk if the gravy is too thick.
  15. Serve over hot biscuits or chicken-fried steak.