Column: Preparing for a buyer’s market and cooking sausages

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By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

Several years ago, we quoted Ben Franklin when we wrote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” So, start your planning with thoughts about last season’s tailgating. Did you have all the right equipment? Are there things that need to be replaced?

Our simple search for clearance sales revealed that Target, Walmart, Cabela’s, Steep and Cheap, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods all are featuring closeouts on camping gear and tailgating equipment.

Surveys we have conducted over the years always have some type of sausage sandwich as the number one choice. Bratwurst, smoked sausage, Polish sausage and Italian sausage are among the meats tailgaters love. So, plan for a hearty sausage sandwich at your tailgate.

To get some tips for buying sausages, we contacted Joe’s Butcher Shop in downtown Carmel. Their representative, Kevin, gave us some sound advice for serving sausages:

  • Buy fresh meats that you like. Ask your local butcher for one of each of his or her sausage choices. Take them home, prepare them, and decide which you plan to serve.
  • Always insist on natural casing on your sausages. These contain the meat juices and snap when you bite them.
  • The night before, pre-cook all sausages for 20 minutes at a simmer so that all you need to do at the tailgate is brown them. Simmer them in beer if you like.
  • Be gentile, and never break the skin (casing) while you cook your sausages. Do not poke them with anything metal. Try cotton gloves dipped in water for turning them on the grill.
  • At the tailgate, brown the sausage to your liking and then place them into a hot tub to keep them ready to serve as needed.

SAUSAGE HOT TUB

Ingredients:

1 to 3 (12 ounce) bottles of any regular beer

One large onion, sliced

One large green pepper, sliced (without seeds)

One large red or yellow pepper, sliced (without seeds)

At least two sausages for each guest

Directions:

Start with a deep aluminum foil pan. Place it on your grill before you brown your sausages. Add one or more bottles of beer, one sliced onion and one sliced pepper to the tub. Let this tub steep/heat for 30 minutes, but do not boil the beer. As the sausages are browned enough to serve, place them into the hot tub. Serve the sausages on buns slathered with mustard and some of the onions and peppers.

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