Adventures in Tailgating, Part 2: Beer Braised Sausage Hoagies

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It's football season, folks, which mean it's time to bust out the propane grills, load up on ice, and hit the pavement for a little tailgating. Last week, we showed you how to craft spicy lamb chili that you could make ahead of time and then warm up at the game. This one is even easier: beer braised sausage hoagies.

Now, this is a dish born completely of convenience. It combines sausage, the epitome of tailgating goodness, with beer, something you're likely to have a ton of on hand.

Use whatever lager-type beer you have. I had Kirin lying around, so in it went.

Start by prepping some goods before the game. You're going to need:

1. A bunch of sausages. Any variety will do, in fact, the crazier you get the better. Spicy Italian with chorizo? OK! Andouille and bratwurst? Why not? There's nothing fussy about this dish, so use whatever variety of good quality sausages you can find.

2. Veggies. Yes, despite the fact that peppers and onions are not part of the meat food group, they do bring a lot to the table. I like the combo of one red bell pepper, one large yellow onion, and two poblano peppers, but you can use whatever mix of peppers and onions you like. I have made this with sliced jalepenos in the past. If you are so daring... have at 'er.

3. Bread. A quality hoagie roll that can stand up to an intense dousing of sauce is the key. You're looking for something soft, with a slightly elastic coating.

4. Beer. The brand matters not. Lagers work nicely, I find, just steer clear of flavorless ones like Bud or Miller, et al.

5. (Optional) Mayo. It's purpose is two-fold: It serves as a bit of a foil to the salty and savory sausages, and it helps protect the bread from soaking through with sausage juice. Yes, that actually works. I like to make garlic mayo by combining two minced cloves of garlic with about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, a couple healthy dashes of hot sauce, and a grind or two of black pepper.

Hit the jump for instructions.

Basically, slice your onions and peppers into strips, like you see above. Crack open your beer, and get your sausages ready. And that is the prep portion of this recipe. ;-D

Get out a big skillet and get it very hot. At the game you'll want to use a portable propane stove, but a grill top could work too if you don't have one. Just plop the skillet on the warmest part of your grill.

Now introduce your sausages to the skillet, browning them on all sides. Make sure you take the time to turn them so all sides get nice and caramelized. Like so...

Once they're good and brown, toss in your veggies and sort of move the sausages around so they're sitting on top of the peppers and onions. Let them cook for about 5 minutes and then pour in one whole beer.

Let the beer come to a simmer and then cover. Cook that way for about 10 minutes, then take off the cover and let the liquid reduce for about 20 minutes. What you'll have by that time is a deep, rich sauce that's imparted with the flavor of the onions and peppers, the richness of the sausage, and a yeasty, beer-like aroma.

To serve, simply coat the inside of your hoagie roll with mayo, toss the sausages inside with some peppers and onions, and spoon a little of the delicious liquid over top. Enjoy!

-- John Linn

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