(Neen proposed a couple other titles, including "Indoor Grilling: Never, EVER try this at Home" or "Men+Fire+Inside = Bad News," but it's Do's story so she'll let him tell it to you in his own words)
A couple weeks ago, we went to the DuPont farmers' market - and we have been posting about it ever since! Well, one (of the many) things we purchased at the farmers' market was a collection of different kinds of sausage.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I am holding four different packages of sausage in my hand and thinking about how to prepare them is: GRILLING! There is nothing like a charcoal grill or a wood fire for cooking up sausage. Of course, we don't own a grill. Not even one of those cute, "I can only hold one burger at a time," weber grills that inevitably wind up stuffed into some god-forsaken portion of your closet that you didn't even know existed prior to owning this particular grill (I know, my parents have one). So that got my wheels turning. It's a slow process.
What is the most basic aspect of a grill? Open fire. The second most basic aspect - a metal grid to put the meat on so that the meat cooks with those delicious hash marks. The scientific minds begins to work and I wind up with the following equation: open fire + metal grid = stove burner + oven rack. Now many of you, I expect, can already pin-point exactly what the problem is going to be, sssshhh...... don't ruin it for the rest of the class.
As soon as we get home I start trying to put my dream into action. I can already taste the slightly carbon-y flavor of the deliciously, perfectly grilled sausages that I am going to make. If only it was that easy. The first complication, of course, is the thought of clean up. I mean, sausages are going to leak grease all over the place ... so I use aluminum foil as a cover for my oven-rack to keep the juice from dripping onto the stove. So far, so good. I place the foil-coated oven rack directly above open flame, let it heat up a little and then toss on a sausage. The hiss and crack of meat on hot metal is music to my ears.
As I watch the buffalo hot dog begin to cook, I become certain of my success. I toss on a hot Italian Sausage made of pork and an lamb chorizo, thinking to my self, "Oh, this will be easy!" At first everything is perfect, the sausages begin to cook and change colors. Then they start leaking oil - oh yes, but I have my aluminum foil, aren't I clever! Of course, it is very hot aluminum foil. It is aluminum foil directly over an open flame. And grease, for those of you who don't know, has a very low flash point - that is why one gets grease fires. Oh, yeah... grease fires...
As the lamb chorizo cooks and releases oil (lots and lots of oil), the oil seeps towards the burner, and the next thing I know, the aluminum foil is on fire. This is not sparks, or little pops of flame, no it is burning right in front of my eyes. Neen took the opportunity to vocalize in no uncertain terms that grease fires are not her idea of a good time (it's amazing what she can communicate in a single syllable). Meanwhile, I turn the fire off and the flame quickly subsides (thankfully it is actually pretty hard to keep aluminum foil burning, and there was not that much grease). The picture to the right is a shot of the aluminum foil, just after I turned the fire off. You can see the holes where the aluminum foil was burned when the grease lit on fire... So ended the great indoor grilling experiment. It is just a miracle Neen didn't kill me for trying.
Thankfully, the sausage was far from ruined. I just pulled out a pan and cooked them the old fashioned way. The sausage selection we had purchased was (from left to right in the photo below): Lamb Chorizo from Virginia Lamb, American Buffalo Hot Dogs from Cibola Farms, French Taragon Sausage made of pork also from Cibola Farms, and Hot Italian Sausage (which we have polished off, so I don't know where we purchased it from). They were all really good. I was particularly impressed by the lamb chorizo since, while it had spices similar to chorizo, it really didn't taste anything like a pork based chorizo - it had a much more interesting flavor. The only down side is the amount of grease that it releases while cooking. The Buffalo hot dog, was a really, really nice hot dog. If we had hot dog buns, a grill, and some condiments, I can't think of anything better. I would stick with them over grocery store hot dogs any day of the week. They have a much more intense meat flavor than the standard all-beef hot dogs.
On the whole, if you are interested in a diversity of flavors with your sausage, the DuPont Farmers' Market is a good stop. The sausage is not significantly more expensive than a nice sausage from Giant, and they are much, much better. With the added bonus that most of them come from "Happy Animals."
Neen made a wonderful little salad to balance the all meat main-course. It was a great lunch. Of course, then I had to clean up my "indoor grill." Ah well, live and learn.