We think of hot dogs as a quick, simple lunch, and they are. On a beautiful day, it's hard to beat a couple of franks grilled on the patio, popped into buns, and topped with the condiments of one's choice. But the effortless frankfurter is just a small taste of the riches of the wide world of sausages. We have put together a collection of easy -- and, in some cases, grill-friendly -- recipes for you to explore the variety, versatility, and wonderful flavors of the hot dog's relatives.

Those flavors, and reasons of economy and efficiency, have made sausages a staple as long as humans have raised pigs. The animal was used snout to tail; sausage making put to good use elements considered less desirable, and the finished product could be dried or smoked for preservation. Of course, although pork is king in the sausage world, other ingredients can be incorporated: beef, veal, or chicken, and even seafood, cheese, or vegetables. The ingredients are ground, squeezed into casings, and, depending on the particular type, the sausages are sold fresh (as in breakfast sausages), cured (salami), or cooked and then eaten either cold (liverwurst) or reheated (frankfurters).

Joining this established, humble family of sausages in recent years has been a new generation of upmarket links. Plates of house-made salumi are commonplace on trendy menus from Miami to Seattle, and supermarkets offer sausages smoked with applewood or hickory and filled with ingredients such as game and dried fruits. Dressed up or dressed down, a good sausage is great eating.

Glossary of Sausages

Grilled Kielbasa Ring with Sauerkraut

Andouille, Bean, and Tomato Salad

Grilled Italian Sausages and Tomatoes on Focaccia

Pan-Fried Weisswurst

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
January 6, 2019
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