beer braised sausages, currywurst, fire the replacement referees, grilling sausages, NFL season

How to Survive This NFL Season

No. This is going to be a LONG SEASON.  For those who don’t follow football, feel free to scroll down to the recipe on the bottom. For those that do follow, commiserate with me for a moment. The replacement referees have got to f’ing go. I know it’s as easy to make that observation as it is to say the sky is blue, but come on. How much longer do the fans, players, owners and coaches have to sit by while amateur hour plays out on the field? 
I’m more than acclimated to being pissed off and disappointed by the end of the third week of the season. I’m a Bears fan for God’s sake, it’s in my nature to have dreams dashed and watch disappointingly while my team throws a lead. But, this season is painful. PAINFUL.  We’re stuck with third tier refs throwing flags for, what seems to be, every single play. And when they do, they’re lucky if they even identify the correct players involved.  They’re also miscalling plays so blatantly, so detrimentally against teams, that I almost wish they had delayed the season until the lockout with the officials was finished. I don’t care if it meant a short season or no season.  ANYTHING is better than this. Last night, I watched the Green Bay Packers lose a hard fought comeback because of two disastrous calls by officials. And I felt embarrassed for them, even though they’re the Bears arch-nemesis and their loss benefits my team. 
It just has to end. Fans have already shaken off the embarrassment of the bounty scandal from this past summer, and now we’re left wishing we could unleash the New Orleans Saints defense on these refs. It’s ruining the game and some of us would like to just watch our teams ruin their season on their own terms. 
While the games may give me agita,  at least the food I’ve been cooking up the first few weeks hasn’t. This week’s Monday Night Football game will be remembered for being one of the worst cases of officiating in history of the game, but at least the food was great.  Not willing to give up on grilling yet, and making it nearly a full six months since I broke out the grill, I decided to make up a batch of grilled sausages.  But, one problem that I always have with grilling sausages is that they tend to split open and lose their juices, making them a bit mealy and dry.  But, have no fear, Serious Eats came to my rescue to help me out with a fail-safe method for cooking up some perfectly juicy links on the grill. The method?  Braise first, grill for a moment and enjoy. 
As we’re just getting into Oktoberfest season, I picked up some Currywurst sausages from Whole Foods.  I then combined them with some sauerkraut, O Mission Lager (from the ‘other’ Portland), mustard and thyme on the grill.

Grilled Currywurst with Beer, Mustard and Sauerkraut

  • 2 cups lager-style beer
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 pound sauerkraut, with juices
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 pounds currywurst sausages
  • Buns for serving

  1. Heat gas grill on high for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grate. Reduce heat on one side of grill (two burners) down to low.
  2. Combine beer, mustard, and sauerkraut in a 10-inch square disposable aluminum pan. Alternatively, construct a tray out of a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, 10 inches square, with sides about 2 inches high. Stir until mustard is broken up and mixture is homogenous. Add thyme sprigs. Nestle sausages into sauerkraut.
  3. Place tray on hot side of grill and cook until simmering, about 4 minutes. Slide to cooler side of grill. Cover grill with vents over the sausages. Cook with all vents open until sausages register 140° to 145°F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes, turning once in the middle.
  4. Remove lid. Using tongs, remove sausages from sauerkraut and place directly on cooking grates over hot side of grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes total. Return to sauerkraut. Toast buns over hot side of grill if desired. Serve sausages with buns, mustard, and sauerkraut

The end result was perfect juicy, well flavored wurst. Served with some latkes (also picked up from Whole Foods), the whole dish made me wish I were a beer drinker. It was hefty and satisfying and nearly, NEARLY, made all of the bad feelings from the game go away. I have a feeling that I will be comforting myself a lot with food this season.