Hits A Home Run An All-American Meal with International Roots
time often includes good ole' American outdoor activities, like baseball, barbecue
and street fairs. And whether they take the form of Italian
sausage and pepper heroes, bratwurst or the common hot dog in a bun, summertime
menus are usually filled with sausages.
a grilled sausage in a bun is the ideal outdoor food - no plates, forks or knives
required - this casual cookout cuisine also is a perfect introduction to ethnic
Sausage found its way to the pushcarts and hot dog
stands of America in the 19th century. In 1893, sausages became standard fare
at baseball parks when Chris Von Ahe, owner of the St. Louis Browns, began serving
sausage links during the game. Americans fell in love with this easy to eat, convenient
and inexpensive food.
Today, Americans annually eat about 26 million hot dogs
and sausages in major league ballparks and consume about 7 billion hot dogs and
sausages throughout the grilling season.
sausage on the grill is undoubtedly an American tradition, the origin of the links
is widespread. From Germany's frankfurters to Vienna's "wieners," it
is likely that the North American sausage came from a combination of eastern European
sausages brought here by butchers of several nationalities.
your local butcher for a variety of international options, including pork sausages
Poland - Pork's naturally mild flavor hits
home when combined with garlic in Polish kielbasa. Grilled russet potatoes are
the perfect compliment. The kids can help prepare a slaw with Poland's own carrots
Italy - Fennel seed, garlic, nutmeg or coriander team up with pork
in sweet Italian sausage. Hot Italian sausage has red pepper for extra zest. Serve
with a macaroni salad and Italian bread and have the kids pitch in by arranging
an antipasto tray with fresh veggies, olives and pickles.
Spain and Mexico - Chorizo gets its characteristic flavor from paprika,
ground chili, garlic, cumin and coriander. A festive salsa coupled with chorizo
sausage and wrapped in a tortilla is a great Mexican combination. Offer corn chips,
guacamole and orange wedges.
Great Britain - "Bangers" are mild sausages seasoned with
herbs. Traditionally served with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, England's "bangers
and mash" can be transformed into a fun outdoor meal. Serve the sausages
on a platter surrounded by grilled red onions and potato salad. This family-style
meal is a great way to celebrate a team win in the World Series.
Bratwurst combines pork and veal with ginger, nutmeg and either coriander or caraway. Top your bratwurst with sauerkraut and/or Swiss cheese. German potato salad is
the perfect accompaniment.
How to grill sausages
Whether you call them bangers, kielbasa, wieners, frankfurters,
sags, dogs, brats or links, grilled sausages are a mainstay of American cuisine
and are especially ideal for outdoor cooking.
For grilling perfect sausages, Snyder
recommends following these simple tips:
Always grill sausage over medium heat to prevent the casing from bursting and
losing juices. Sausage is finished cooking when it's nicely browned and the juices
Ready-to-eat sausages, such as kielbasa or hot dogs, are thoroughly cooked and
only need browning and warming on the grill. Fully cooked sausages can be kept
up to two weeks in the refrigerator in the original wrapping or four to five days
Fresh sausages, such as bratwurst, chorizo or Italian sausage, need to be cooked
before serving. Grill for 10-20 minutes, depending on shape - links will take
longer than patties. Or parboil in beer or water for 15-20 minutes, then brown
on the grill for 5-6 minutes. Fresh sausage can be kept in the refrigerator for
sausage is easy to prepare and provides a simple centerpiece for a casual outdoor
meal. With all the varieties and flavors available, it's easy to turn this American
holiday into an ethnic feast," says Snyder.