Hot Italian Sausage Sandwich. Heroe. Hoagie. Sub. Call it what you want, I call it good. I don’t know why it goes by four different names (maybe there’s more). Maybe it goes by different names depending on what part of the country you live in. I guess that makes sense to me. Would probably clear up why there are so many different ways for you to top them. Me? I’m not Italian. I’m no expert and I’m not going to debate the proper way to make one.
If you have been following along, you may recall that back on April 2, we made some Texas Hot Links. In that post, I mentioned that we had also made some Hot Italian Sausage and that I would be following up on it at a later date….well, that date is finally here. Lucky you, huh?
As always, when undergoing a new food, I try to look at as many recipes as I can, comparing them, trying to figure out if its authentic (or close), how the ingredients might work together, that kind of stuff. The recipe I ended up going with was from TheSpicySausage.com, and was suggested by Dyal_SC over on The Barbecue Bible. The thing I liked about it was that it seemed simple in the different amount of ingredients, but each would add a nice flavor.
Hot Italian Sausage
1-cup cold red wine
1-cup chopped fresh parsley
1-tbsp garlic powder or-4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
1-tbsp fresh ground pepper
5-tbsp fennel seed (the one change I made was reducing it to 4 and then grinding in a spice grinder)
2-tsp crushed chili peppers
Combine all, mix well & stuff into hog casing
You maybe thinking to yourself, “I don’t have a stuffer.” Or, “I don’t want to bother with stuffing Italian sausage links.” That is ok. We actually made a double batch of this recipe. Half of it got stuffed into hog casings. The other half was placed into bags and frozen as is to use in other recipes like spaghetti or lasagna where you might want to use uncased sausage.
I was originally planning on using the sausage first with spaghetti and a marinara sauce. Mrs. G suggested subs. I took it into consideration, but was going to ignore her, but after the day I had yesterday and still needing to go to the store for ingredients, I figured she was right (as usual) and my plans have been shelved until I have more time to implement them.
Further talk on how to top the subs also led to disagreement. Mrs. G wanted to go with peppers and onions. Me? I’m not a big pepper fan, at least when it comes to bell peppers. Can’t stand green and have just started to learn to like red, orange and yellow. Her idea, while a classic, just wasn’t appealing to me. I was thinking more along the lines of marinara and some cheese. How can you go wrong with that?
I set up the Egg at 400F with a raised grate to cook the sausage. If you are using gas or charcoal, I would suggest going with a medium heat and leaving part of the grill with no heat so you can move your sausage back and forth to prevent burning or the casing from splitting and losing all that juice. I also used a cast iron pan to saute the bell peppers and onions. For the sausage, you are going to want to shoot for an internal temp of 160F (which should carry over to 165F, the safe point for sausage). How long will depend on your grill and the temp you are cooking. Mine took about 15-20 minutes. Make sure to keep a close eye on it to prevent the casing from splitting. When the sausage is done, throw your buns on to warm them if you like.
Depending on how you roll (no pun intended), you may opt to skip the toppings.
Or you may go the route I chose and top with marinara sauce and some cheese.
Or you may agree with Mrs. G that peppers and onions are the way to go.
Whichever way you choose, you can’t go wrong. The sausage had a wonderful flavor. The garlic, fennel and parsley flavors really stood out. The heat came through nicely from the cayenne, red chili flakes and pepper, but did not overwhelm or overpower the other flavors. I want to say I even detected a hint of the wine, but I may have been imagining it. And the juice! This sausage came out so juicy it exploded into your mouth when you took a bite! I must say that this might just be the best sausage we have done so far. I can’t wait to try some of it in some spaghetti and am really looking forward to using the uncased sausage in something or other. If you are on the fence about making your own sausage, I highly encourage you to take the leap. This is so much better than the pre-made stuff you buy at the store.