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By Mike Stines, Ph.B.
Hawgeye's Summer Sausage
British Bangers with Attitude
Louisiana Hickory-Smoked Andouille
May is National Barbecue Month! So let’s fire up the grills and smokers and get cooking!
One of my traditional favorites for the smoker, grill, summer get-togethers and tailgating parties is sausage. Whether it’s smoky Louisiana andouille, spicy Mexican chorizo, Texas hot links or German bratwurst, sausage is a perennial favorite on the grill. Food historians can’t document the start of sausage making but we know that the process began as a way to preserve meat that couldn’t be immediately eaten. Today most sausage comes from familiar cuts such as the shoulder and leg, early sausage makers used parts of the animal that couldn’t be used in other ways, such as the liver and heart. There are more than 250 commercial varieties of sausage sold today—fresh, uncooked smoked, cooked smoked, semi-dry and dry. Interestingly, food historians can trace almost every variety to a country and often a town of origin. For the home sausage maker, fresh, cooked and uncooked smoked sausages are the easiest to prepare. Semi-dry and dry sausages (such as salami and pepperoni) must be dried under carefully controlled conditions to avoid bacterial contamination.