Stand up for sausage

I’ve eaten more pork in the past week than I’ve probably eaten in the past year. All in the name of research, of course. I even got some grilling tips from a pro.

The Fletcher’s smokies, or smoked sausages, arrived at my doorstep in a cooler bag. Since they’re already cooked, I figured they’d be a snap to prepare on the barbecue. Not necessarily! As soon as Sandro turned his head, they were consumed by flames, leaving them a little more charred than we’d planned.

“Too high heat,” pronounced Rodney Bowers, chef and owner of Hey Meatball! in Toronto’s Little Italy, who I called for advice.

“When we’re hungry, we tend to get wieners or sausages on the grill and cook them as fast as we can,” said Bowers. “The key to victory is to be patient and cook them gently, even on indirect heat.”

Whether you’re preparing cooked or fresh sausages this summer, Bower says DO NOT prick or score them before cooking, or you’ll lose all the juices.

For a great-looking sausage, he recommends cooking it almost through on low heat, then finishing it on high heat.

“If you start on low heat, you’ll get a little of the fat and juices coming out,” he said. “When you move it to higher heat, those juices will caramelize and give you some nice colour.”

To complement grilled sausages and cut through the fat, I mean richness, Bowers created some homemade condiment recipes. His favourite is the curry ketchup from his teen years in Germany and Holland. He even spent his honeymoon at Oktoberfest!

His main-course recipes include Sunday Morning Sausage Bake.

You’ll find Bowers’ recipes at at www.smokielover.ca, along with a chance to win a grilling lesson with the personable, laid-back chef on a brand new Napoleon barbecue.

Six-packs of Fletcher’s smokies come in four flavours – smoky, honey garlic, cheddar (my least favourite) and piquant, which is still pretty mild. In Ontario, they’re available at Metro, Walmart and Giant Tiger for $6.99.

BTW Bowers is building a second, bigger Hey Meatball! at 91 Roncesvalles Ave. and hopes to open soon.

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