Grilled kielbasa and Onion Sandwiches
Grilling is a versatile and very satisfying method of cooking many things, from meat to vegetables to fish that are served up whole. It is also a good medium of cooking foods that can make some nice warm sandwiches for a summer afternoon.
Kielbasa is a traditional Polish sausage, smoked in a skin with a variety of meats included such as beef, pork and chicken. It has been a grilling favorite for years. Since the sausage is already cooked, it is grilled quickly, with its time on the grill to warm it through and add additional smoky flavor.
But what if you want to change things up and spice up your meal? One way of doing this is to pickle your kielbasa before grilling it. Pickled sausage has been a main-stay of bar food for years, seen in five-gallon jars floating in a reddish vinegar brine. This is something that can be easily duplicated at home.
How to make marinade for kielbasa?
A simple method of pickling kielbasa at home is to prepare the brine, equal parts water and white vinegar, with red pepper flakes and garlic added for flavor. A standard recipe would be about two cups water added to two cups white vinegar, with three heaping tablespoons red pepper flakes and two tablespoons crushed garlic.
Place the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep the pepper flakes and garlic in suspension. While the brine is boiling, take a u-shaped kielbasa and slice it into about four pieces. Place the sausage pieces in sterilized pickling jars. Using a funnel, pour the hot brine into the jars onto the sausage, filling the jars about three-quarters full. Using a slotted spoon or a fork, strain through the brine to scoop up the pepper flakes and garlic and put that in the jar. Once this is done, fill the jar with more brine. Close the lid tightly and place the jars in your refrigerator. The cold in the refrigerator and the hot brine should create a vacuum seal on the jar.
Leave the jars in the refrigerator for a week to allow the brine to permeate the sausages.
How to grill kielbasa sandwiches?
After the kielbasa have steeped in the brine, fire up the grill. Then place a non-stick grill mat on the grate to prevent from sticking and keep onions from falling through. Pull the sausages from the jar and place on the non stick grill mat. If you are also cooking a steak or hamburgers, place them in the center of the grill and place the kielbasa on the sides of the grill. They are already cooked, so what you are doing on the grill is warming them, getting a light crust on them and adding a smoky flavor. The kielbasa needs to cook only about five minutes, and you should turn them frequently so they don’t burn on one side.
The cooked kielbasa can be served in toasted hot dog buns with sautéed sweet onions. To sautée the onions, dice a sweet onion and put in a cast iron skillet with butter. Start at a high heat, stir the onion in the butter, then put a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to a medium low and let the onions simmer. Some people prefer the onions until they are dark and crisp, while others favor a lighter colored onion. Cook onions to your preference.
Put the kielbasa in the rolls, place the onions on top, then pour some of the butter and onion liquid from the skillet onto the onions and kielbasa. More than just heated kielbasa, the meat will have a vinegary bite and there will be an additional a kick from the red pepper. These are memorable sandwiches.