Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Grilling Recipes - Build Your Best Sausage this Summer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartYourGrill #CollectiveBias

If the Summer sun and activities get you excited to #StartYourGrill, then you have to check out how we build a better sausage with Hillshire Farm American Craft Sausages in my home. We go from the bun up, yeah I have a great soft and delicious bun recipe to share with you today. And if you love finding new sausage recipes, keep reading for that homemade bun recipe further down.

We love grilling around here and as I have mentioned, this Summer I have taken charge and am working on conquering my fear of the grill.

Okay, it's not really a fear of the grill itself, it is more a fear of messing up a perfectly good cut of meat. Seems like my past attempts at the grill have led to rather dry chicken or bland steaks. That is not what I want to be feeding my family. Those mistakes can be costly and finding good quality cuts of meat that are also nitrite and nitrate free often leaves my head spinning at the grocery store.

While at my local Safeway though, I found these new Hillshire Farm American Craft Sausages. I grabbed one of each variety, because I couldn't decide between the delicious sounding flavors. I really wanted to try the JalapeƱo Cheddar, but knew my husband would prefer the Smoky Bourbon or the Garlic Onion. These were perfect for me to grill. Hand crafted out of 100% pork and real ingredients I love, like garlic and jalepenos, these sounded like a winner for my family. Oh, and they fit my quest for nitrate free, nitrite free, and no MSG as well! 

But, since I found a better sausage for my family, I couldn't just go and use any old bun. I always think fresh is best so I put together a batch of homemade milk buns for my hungry crew. Don't be intimidated by a from-scratch bread recipe, it's okay to go ahead and use the bread machine to simplify things.

I wanted a soft and light bun to really let the flavors from my smoked sausages come through. I broke out my favorite bread machine and put in all the ingredients as per the manufacturer's instructions. Some machines have a different ingredient order for best results. Be sure to check your bread machine manual or their website for the correct order for your machine.

Then I selected the dough setting and walked away.

After my machine did all the work, I was just left with shaping and baking. 

Check the dough, it should be soft and slightly tacky. Be careful not to add too much flour. That will make the bread tough and dry. For this reason I like to tear off pieces with a bench knife or other sharp kitchen knife. I divided my dough into 3 balls, then into thirds again.  I shaped each ball of dough into a long bun-shaped piece. Fold the ends over and pinch on the bottom. Feel free to stretch them a little longer, if necessary, but for these smoked sausages they didn't need to be very long.

I use a black silpat liner, special for bread baking, on a heavy baking sheet. All of my buns went on the baking sheet to rise for another hour or so, covered with a tea towel. This gave me plenty of time to heat up the grill for my sausages.

The sausages are fully cooked, so I just needed to heat them through and put a little color and carmelization on the outside. The grill went up to high and my sausages went on.

The buns turned out well, they were brushed generously with buttermilk for a nice golden top and each sprinked with a little "everything" topping for added pizzazz.

Ready to make these yourself?

Homemade Milk Buns
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You Will Need: 
  • 1 1/4 c. water, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. baker's dry milk (or powdered milk works well, too)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 c. bread flour
  • 3 Tbsp. instant potato flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten *optional
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk for brushing the buns
  • bun topping of choice - I used an everything bagel topping on mine. *optional
Combine all the ingredients, except the buttermilk,  into your bread machine in the order listed by your manual.  Set the machine to the dough cycle and let it work it's magic.

When the dough is finished, on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Divide each again into 3 pieces and start forming logs long enough for your sausages. Flatten each piece slightly, indent the middle with the side of your hand, roll the dough around the indentation, and then pinch off the seam underneath. Tuck ends under slightly so they are not irregularly shaped.

Place shaped buns on a parchment lined baking sheet or a non-stick silicone baking mat. Cover with a tea towel and allow fo rise until they double in size. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees when the buns are almost doubled.

Just before baking, brush the buns liberally with buttermilk. Sprinkle with toppings if desired.

Bake for 18-22 minutes. The buns should sound hallow when tapped and be golden brown on top. Cool to room temperature before slicing.


And now that I had the perfect smoked sausage and the perfect bun, all I needed to do was build it. With a little dijon mustard, sweet relish, mayonnaise and ketchup I was good to fill the rest of my plate with favorites like our warm grilled potato salad and Hawaiian style macaroni salad.

Ready to take a bite? Then grab a coupon for $0.55 on any ONE (1) package of Hillshire Farm® American Craft™ sausage links at Safeway – runs 7/14/14-7/20/14

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