Summer Grilling Series: Healthy Delicious Sausages

hot Italian sausages

Hamburgers and hot dogs are summer grilling staples and sure to please a crowd of hungry guests, but there’s something about a perfectly grilled and seasoned sausage that takes your meal to the next level. When deciding on what to experiment with grilling next, I switched things up a bit and opted for a delicious hot Italian sausage. My goal: to master the art of grilling hot sausages and designing a meal around them.

In my search for the perfect sausage meat, I was presented with a selection from San Luis Sausage Company based out of southern California. The sausage flavors were too unique and delicious sounding to pass up. Some flavors that initially caught my eye included: Blueberry Chicken, Smoked Chicken Parmesan, Lamb Merguez, and Pork Apple.

Grace Knight, owner and chef at San Luis Sausage Company creates one-of-kind sausages with no filler or preservatives. Her chicken, pork, turkey, and lamb sausages are made entirely with breast and thigh meat, and are as about as lean as you can get.

“USDA doesn’t require us to disclose what kind of meat it is in your sausages, so you will find that many brands on the shelves are actually cutting corners,” says Grace, “what people don’t realize is there are healthy sausages out there.”

In addition to being healthy, sausages are actually very flavorful. Think about all the time you spend combining the perfect seasonings for your meat. Sausages are already filled with flavorful seasoning. When I popped these babies on the grill, I didn’t even need salt or pepper.

“Grilling is the best for these sausages,” says Grace, “I cook them on high and turn them often, if you’re working with a chicken sausage especially do not overcook them – if it’s a little bit pink inside that’s fine because its thigh meat. You just want to make sure they are firm.”

I took this grilling venture very seriously. The last thing I wanted was to overcook or burn Grace’s perfectly put together hot Italian sausage.  I cooked the sausages over medium for about 15 minutes. Admittedly I cut into the sausages to inspect the color, but thankfully did not overcook. I placed them each between a slightly toast bratwurst bun and decorated them with sautéed caramelized onions. Out of habit, I put some hot sauce and ketchup on the table, but they remained untouched throughout the whole meal. The sausages were juicy with the perfect amount of spice. I don’t think I could ever go back to your average ball park frank.  

If you’re not sure what to pair your sausage with, here is what Grace suggests:

San Luis Hot Italian Sausage

  • Vegetable Pairing: Cherry Tomatoes, Red and Green Bell Pepper, Small Onions
  • Dips: Mustard, Red Sauce

San Luis Thai Sausage

  • Vegetable Pairing: Pineapple, Shrimp
  • Dips: Peanut Sauce

San Luis Southwestern Sausage

  • Vegetable Pairing: Chunks of Corn on the Cob, Mild Peppers
  • Dips: Mustards, Salsa

My second grilling venture was a hit. And not only that, it was a healthy alternative to a meaty bratwurst or pre-cooked hot dog. When I told Grace of my success on the grill she laughed, “I don’t get very many complaints – I get a lot of compliments. I have people say, I’m a vegetarian, and I would eat your sausages.”

If you missed my first grilling adventure check it out: Summer Grilling Series: Spicing Things Up with Sur La Table.

In addition to providing premier sausage knowledge, Grace Knight was nice enough to create some recipes exclusive for Recipe4Living:

Chicken Mediterranean Pizza with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Fiesta Chicken Sausage and Vegetables

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