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RBR Tailgating: Grilled Italian Sausage

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Back on the grill and glad to be at Bryant-Denny.

Does writing "Kenny Trill" violate a trademark? Can I get in trouble for that? Even more than scrambling and completing, filing for patents seems to be the Aggie quarterback thing to do under Kevin Sumlin. Johnny "Football" has ten. I can picture back up qb Kyle Allen on the phone with his high school girlfriend pacing his dorm and brainstorming nicknames for future legal protection.

Kyle Allen: Kyle "All In"?

Girlfriend (let's call her Brittany): Meh.

Kyle Allen: "Style" Allen?

Brittany (who suddenly seems more like a Meagan): Meh.

Kyle Allen: Kyle "Alone."? You know, like in a class of my own?

Meagan: Meh...Wait. Go back one.

But I'm not paid to think about what back up qbs and their girlfriends say to each other on the phone. I'm not paid to write about food and tailgating and such either, but that's what I'm going to do.

When I think about Texas and food I naturally conjure images, smells, etc. of beef. Specifically dry rubbed brisket slowly cooked over low, smoky heat. Paprika, onion, garlic, coriander, cayenne, oregano - layer upon layer of flavors combine for a unique, enviable regional delicacy. I really considered trying my hand at it, but we are not going to the Texas A&M Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies are coming to us. We should eat pork.

Not to impugn the Tide by suggesting that they are afraid to play away games, but it's nice to be back in the comfort of home. Even raging bulls have their querencias. As I wrote in my first post, when we have home games I'll do my best to cater to the needs and resources of the tailgater. The assumption is that the only heat source available in the shadow of Bryant-Denny* is a charcoal grill. This week I was in the mood for Italian so this might sound odd, but in addition to sausages, we're going to grill tomato sauce.

Grilled Sausage with Tomato Sauce

-          2 Italian Sausages per person (mild or hot)

-          1 firm Beefsteak Tomato per Sausage

(the measurements to follow assume 8 Tomatoes, adjust as needed)

-          1 good handful fresh Italian Parsley, chopped

-          1 middling handful fresh Oregano, chopped

-          6 cloves garlic, chopped

-          Red Pepper Flakes

-          Salt

-          Olive oil

Grilled Tom Ingredients

In a big mixing bowl coat the tomatoes lightly in olive oil and drizzle with salt. Hold your objections and platitudes re skins in sauce. The flavor of charred skin is integral. Place them in the center of a hot grill with the sausages around the edges. The olive oil should cause the occasional flare up from the fire but you may need to move things around a bit to ensure that the tomatoes are always over a hot spot. Cover. Turn everything after five minutes. After another five minutes or so, remove the sausages and check for doneness. The tomatoes should be mushy enough at this point that handling with tongs becomes difficult. Good thing you brought a spatula along as well.

Grilled Tomato Bowl

Put the charred and mushy tomatoes back in the mixing bowl along with the parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Raw garlic is pretty assertive so hold some back if you are worried. I should note that the smokiness is a pretty strong counter thingy but you can make up your mind at the end and add more garlic if needed. Salt to taste.

Grilled Tom Sauce

You may not know it, but somewhere in your house you have a potato masher. It's one of those things that was in that urn of utensils your cousin gave you when you got married or that your mom insisted on putting in the cart when she took you "first apartment shopping" at Wal-Mart. It's probably best known as that thing in the kitchen drawer that gets stuck under the lip so you have to work your hand up in there and dislodge it to get the damn drawer open. Bring that along and use it to mash all the ingredients in the bowl together. Ladle over sausage.

Grilled Tom Plated

As sides I recommend a simple arugula salad with red wine vinaigrette and that you bring along some flat bread, brush it with olive oil, add some dried oregano and basil, lightly salt, and then throw on the grill right after you take the tomatoes off.

Grilled Tom Bread on Grill

Slice and Bam! (Did that violate an established trademark?), you got breadsticks.

Grilled Tom Bread

Ideally I would serve this with a nice Barbera d'Alba but few wines, much less nice wines, ever make it to tailgates. Miller High Life will do in a pinch. Either way I'd hold my glass up high and toast Bradley Bozeman. No redshirt freshman offensive tackle converted to a third string center made second by desertion can be expected to captain a not quite as of yet gelled offensive line without making a mess of things every now and again. A lot is being asked of him. So cheers to Bradley Bozeman, and thanks for stepping up. And no I'm not having a trophies-for-everyone moment.

* To paraphrase Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey, "In the shadow of Bryant-Denny." I like the way that sounds. If you don't mind, I'm going to say it again. "In the shadow of Bryant-Denny."