Making A Better Italian Sausage Sandwich

I never got inside Satriale's Pork Store, but then I guess nobody other than the cast of the Soprano's ever made it there either. And some never made it out. But if you look at the window of the famous fictional New Jersey butcher shop while the boys were sitting out front, there's a huge neon pig pushing the Italian Sausage.

Placeholder

Click here to read more...

Average: 4.8 (12 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe

italian sausage sandwich

Italian sausage reaches it's apex in the grilled Italian Sausage Sandwich with grilled sweet peppers and onions.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Entree. Sandwich.

Cuisine. Italian. American.

Makes. 4 sandwiches

Takes. 30 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cooking time

Serve with. Italian red wine and sautéd bitter greens like Swiss chard

Ingredients

4 links fresh Italian Sausage

2 green bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

2 large onions

4-6 tablespoons olive oil

4 (6" long) slices from a long skinny loaf of Italian bread or 2 oblong Italian bread rolls

Optional toppings. Spoon on some giardiniera. If you wish, you can top it with marinara sauce, and/or shredded mozz, and melt it on indirect heat on the grill or under a broiler. But never use mustard.

About the olive oil. In Chicago they load up the sangwitch and make sure plenty of the oil gets on the bread and sausage. If there's any of this flavorful elixir left, fry your eggs in it the next morning.

About the bread. Italian bread is a spongy high gluten loaf with a medium hard crust. You can cut it from a large loaf, or buy it in pre-formed rolls. In Chicago, Turano Bakery and Gonnella are the standards.

Method

1) Take the sausages out of the fridge and let them sit at room temp for about 15 minutes so the skins warm a bit. This helps keep them from splitting, spilling their guts, and dumping oil on the fire causing flareups and soot on the food.

2) In Chicago, those in the know use a special breed of skinny, thin walled, sweet green variety called Melrose peppers, hard to find outside Cook County. But colorful bell peppers are common and they work just fine. Split the peppers in half cutting through the stem. Pull out the stem and the seed pod. Rinse it inside and out. Cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips. Set aside. Slice the onion in half, pole to pole. Peel off the skin and the tough outer layer. Lay them on the cutting board cut side down and slice off the top and discard. Keep slicing across the layers making half moons working towards the root. Discard the root.

Placeholder

3) Heat the grill to medium high, about 325°F, and leave the lid open. Put an 8 to 12" frying pan on the heat, add the olive oil, and swirl to cover the bottom. Add the peppers and onions. Stir to coat with oil. You can grill the peppers and onions if you wish, and that's how I usually do it, although it is not exactly traditional and you don't get the richness of the olive oil. You can cook the peppers and onions a day in advance, indoors if you wish, and just warm them before serving.

4) The sausages are usually pretty curved. Bend them gently to try and straighten them slightly. Lay them on the grill between the rungs of the grate. I know this seems weird, usually you lay the across the grates. But if you lay them between the rungs, you can roll them from rung to rung, making a 1/4 turn each roll, and get each side nice and dark brown with some dark grill marks, and you won't burn them. The stripes will look goofy running lengthwise, but nobody will argue with the results. Cook with the lid open so you can watch them to prevent burning. Do not poke them to drain the fat! This just dries them out and causes flareups and soot. If you are so concerned about the few extra calories, then grill yourself a carrot. They must cook until they are 160°F in the center to be safe. There should be no pink. If you cook them longer they can dry out. Usually they are well cooked after 2 or 3 sides are browned.

5) While they are cooking, stir the peppers and onions and cook until wilted, slightly browned, but not burned. You can take them off and let them sit at room temp when they are done.

6) If you wish, you can split the buns and toast them. Most folks don't. Just nestle the sausage in, top liberally with sausage and onions, make sure some flavorful oil gets into the bread, and serve. Capiche?

"You want a sassidge sangwitch? I'll give you a sassidge sangwitch."Tony Soprano, grabbing his crotch, outside Satirale's Pork Store in New Jersey

In Italy there are many many salsiccia and salame, and each region has its specialties. The most famous are Genoa salami, mortadella, cotechino, and soppressata. Interestingly, there is no Bologna sausage in Italy, the local sausage in the town of Bologna is mortadella. There is most definitely no such thing called "Italian Sausage".

But the term "Italian Sausage" has emerged in the US, and it has a specific flavor profile. Called sosizza in the language of the streets, restaurants, and in Italian-American kitchens, it is a thick tube of coarsely ground pork sausage in natural casings made from pork intestines, usually 15-25% fat, with a distinctive flavor from fennel seed. It is sold raw by butchers, not cured or smoked, and it can be bought in 5 to 6" links, in coiled ropes, or loose like burger meat. It comes in three flavors, sweet, mild, and hot. The main difference is the amount of hot pepper added, although some of the sweet blends include basil, and the heat and other seasonings vary significantly from butcher to butcher. There are a few national brands like Johnsonville but I have not been impressed by any of them.

Here in Chicago, Italian Sausage Sandwiches are sold in hundreds of restaurants. The Italian Beef stand is common, a local tradition specializing on Italian Beef and Sassidge Sangwitches (as the locals pronounce it). Many of the countless hot dog stands sell them, too. A popular version is the Combo, where the sausage is nestled in with Italian Beef on a wet roll.

The classic Italian Sausage Sandwich is grilled and topped with griddle fried onions and sweet peppers, and often anointed with giardiniera, a spicy hot blend of chopped hot peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, olives, herbs, salt and pepper, all packed in oil and/or vinegar. Some places offer it with a marinara sauce and melted mozzarella.

Raw Italian sausages freeze well for a month or two, but can get funky after much longer. You can cook Italian sausage links in a frying pan or in the oven, but the best flavors come on the grill. The trick is to cook them over medium heat, in the 325°F range. Any hotter and the skin splits easily.

For an off the wall variation on the theme, try my inside-out Italian Sausage Bomb, a meatloaf made from Italian Sausage and stuffed inside with the usual toppings. And if you feel ambitious, you can make your own Italian sausage from scratch and customize it to your tastes.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

What people say about us

"The world’s leading outdoor cooking resource." Larry Olmsted, Forbes.com

"An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge." Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin

"I was crowned World Brisket Champion at the Jack Daniels World Championships using your Big Bad Beef Rub. Your site has played a pivotal role in my development." John Lattuca, WeekendWarriorBBQ, Montreal, Canada

"This meal was as memorable as my first sex, only better." Marie Overholt, San Francisco, CA

"The BBQ community is so extremely fortunate to have someone as passionate and articulate as you." Frank Ostini, Chef Winemaker, Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery, Buellton, CA

"I adapted your brisket rub recipe this summer and my customers love it (8,000 pounds served in 6 months)! My brisket even won 'best beef' in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair." Chef Larry Vito, BBQ Smokehouse, Sebastapol, CA

"Meathead is the best writer covering this part of the culinary world." John Markus, Producer, BBQ Pitmasters TV show

"The Rosetta Stone of BBQ." Bill Lamb

"I got laid last night because of your pastrami" Name withheld for obvious reasons

"Knowledgeable, smart, hilarious, and self-effacing." Laurel Stone

"I have worked as a professional cook in high end French restaurants for several years, so when I hit the internet looking for some BBQ info, I was really pleased to find an in depth and expansive site that had all the tips I was looking for." Aaron Ettlin, Portland, OR

"A Famous Dave's commercial came on claiming the best ribs in the world, and my honey shook his head and said, 'nope, it's right here.' Many, many thanks!" Red Taylor, San Francisco, CA

"We had a fantastic season winning two Grand Championships and five Reserve Grand Championships. I always appreciate referring to your site. Thanks." Steve, Grills Gone Wild, IA

"I have always loved cooking ribs but with our new gas grill they were never as good as charcoal. Well that all changed last night when I made the greatest ribs I have ever tasted. My wife wanted to know if I bought them somewhere and then claimed I cooked them myself." Allen Nicley, Mont Alto, PA

"The Memphis Dust and the pulled pork are excellent! I had to dang near run people out of my house!" Aswad Johnson

"I was about to buy a new smoker. After reading your article about setting up a horizontal smoker, I decided to try rehabilitating something the previous owner of my house left in the backyard. Total investment: $100. I figure I saved at least $500!" Coleman Shelton, Calvert City, KY

"Amazingribs.com is the most information packed barbecue site known to man." Pitmaster and BBQ Columnist George Hensler

"AmazingRibs.com is the world's go-to place for a barbecue treasure house of reliable information." Ardie "Remus Powers" Davis, author of numerous barbecue books

"This is my new go-to method for prime rib." Candy Weaver, President, Kansas City Barbeque Society

"We've won five Grand Championships and two Reserve Championships in the past three months. Learned much about BBQ from you and wanted to give you credit." Harry Soo, SlapYoDaddyBBQ.com

"The Alton Brown of Que." Joe Mizrahi, Smokin' Joe's, NYC

"I have always loved to travel and eat. Life became boring when I had to give up my worldly adventures. Thanks to you I now love to cook. I am now having adventures at home in my kitchen and my back yard. I am no longer bored, and my large family is grateful too. Thank you so much." Dugan Hoeflinger, Tucson, AZ

"I am in the process of opening a cafe and thought your simple sweet sour slaw is an amazing winner." James Murray, Toronto

"I had two ribs and my boyfriend ate the other 3 1/2 pounds. He couldn't stop to talk. He had to bring a box of tissues to the table because these ribs are so good they make him weep. He tells me that my ribs have deepened his love for me. Well, fine, but I know that just means he wants more ribs." Nancy J. Mostad, Minnesota


Placeholder

Related articles

Placeholder

Placeholder

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

...some HTML for the first variant...

Placeholder

Placeholder

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling, get a FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Lookit what our members are cooking:


Post comments and questions below

Placeholder

1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

 

Click to ask questions and make comments