Sausage. And fire. Two components of human happiness that can function as partners -- or bitter adversaries. Cook the former over the latter in a controlled manner and you get a crackling crisp casing, supernaturally moist ground meat, and fire and smoke flavors that endow the sausage with greatness. (Case in point: This must-try Mile Long Italian Pepper & Grilled Pepper Sandwich.) Combine them the wrong way and you'll turn the sausages -- and your grill -- into a conflagration.
One challenge comes from sausages' high fat content (as much as 50 percent depending on the type). Another challenge is the high pressure under which that fat shoots onto the fire should careless tongs -- or a barbecue fork -- rupture the casing. A third is to cook the sausage to a safe temperature inside without drying it out or burning the exterior.
To dodge those perils, sausage grillers resort to a number of strategies -- some well- intentioned, some folly. Since August is National Sandwich Month and Labor Day is coming up, I want to make sure you never let a dry or dull sausage touch a plate or a bun, so here are five techniques you need to know now for grilling the perfect sausage.
- Direct grill with care: Yes, you can direct grill sausages, and most of the world's grill masters do. The key is to work over a moderate fire and to move the sausages as needed to dodge the fat-frenzied flames.
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