Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Gadgets can make grilling easy (and fun!)

The 4th of July is just around the corner.  What are your grilling plans for the weekend?   We hope it will include some Isernio’s sausage!  (don’t forget to check our website for tons of sausage grilling recipes).   

Really it’s all about the fire and the meat, but grilling can be a lot more fun (and easier) with some useful tools.  Here are some of our favorites:


Digital Thermometer

The best way to ensure your meat is grilled to juicy perfection and not overdone is to use a good quality digital thermometer.  We love the Super Fast Thermapen from Thermaworks.  It has large digits and gives you an accurate reading within 3 seconds.  Well worth the investment. 

(It’s always important to cook meat to the proper temperature.  The USDA website Is it Done Yet? is a great resource for the proper and safe cooking temperatures for different types of meat.)  

Chimney Charcoal Starter

If you’re grilling over coals, you need a good chimney charcoal starter to get things going.  It’s faster and easier than using lighter fluid (and safer for the environment).  Just crumple some newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, add coals on top and light the newspaper.  Fifteen minutes later you have hot coals ready to be released into the grill.

A Good Basting Brush

Whether you’re spreading your favorite barbeque sauce on a burger or a simple glaze of olive oil over some chicken sausage, a good basting brush is essential.  We like silicone brushes, as they are heat proof and clean up easily. 

Sausage Grilling Basket

This is a handy tool if you’re grilling up sausage for a crowd.  Place the sausages in the Sausage Grilling Basket over the grill, and you’ll be able to turn all six sausages at once! 

(By the way, we highly recommend pre-cooking sausage prior to grilling, and then simply browning the sausage over the grill to preserve juiciness and ensure the sausage is done all the way through.  Frank has a video on How to Properly Cook Sausage .  Follow along his instructions to pre-cook in water, then just finish them on the grill!)

Cedar Grilling Planks

If you’ve never had cedar plank salmon, you are in for a treat!  Soak these planks in water and then grill your fish – or chicken or steak – on top of one to infuse smoky deliciousness into the meat (sure, throw some sausage on there too while you’re at it!).  The planks can be found in many grocery store meat departments, or online like these at Williams Sonoma.  There are many great recipes out on the internet for cedar planked salmon, but we love this simple Cedar Plank Salmon recipe from Bobby Flay.

Grill Brush

And then, of course there’s the cleanup.  Luckily outdoor cooking leaves very few dishes to be done, but it is always a good idea to give your grill grate a scrubbing before you use it again.  There are several good grill brushes out there (and some people even swear by just using a balled up piece of aluminum foil!).  We like this Grill Wizard Grill Brush, which also received great reviews from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.

What are your favorite grilling tools?  We’d love to hear about your must-have grilling gadgets!


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Game Day Eats

Here at Isernio’s HQ in Seattle we’re all pretty excited to watch the Seahawks beat Da Bears this Sunday!  Don’t know about you, but to us it’s just not football without something good to munch on!  An informal poll today in the Isernio’s office and production plant reveals some of our team members’ favorite game day eats (besides sausage, of course):

Frank:  “Barbeque or something greasy!”
Curtis: “Pizza, chips and beer”
Jennifer: “Potato chips with my family’s special sour cream dip recipe using marjoram and chopped green olives”  (hmmm….not so sure about that one Jen 🙂 )
Tony: “Hot Wings”
Julio: “Hummus and Spicy Chips”
Ron: “Fried Shrimp”
Ken: “Chips & Salsa or Nachos”
Mike: “Brats, Meatballs, 7-layer Dip, Nachos, Shrimp Cocktail, Cheese Fondue”  (Mike likes to do it right!)

How about you??  What’s on the table this weekend while you watch the game?

If you’re looking for some fun sausage recipes to use, check out our “Super Roll” recipes from last year, all using our chicken sausage rolls

Go Hawks!

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Frank was thrilled to be asked to appear yesterday on Seattle television station KING and their daytime talk show New Day NorthwestWith it being the new year and everyone making resolutions to eat healthier, it was great timing for Frank to show the audience and host Margaret Larson how to make a tasty rigatoni dish using our chicken sausage – this recipe is not only delicious (the smells in the TV studio were heavenly), but it’s super easy to make (the hardest part is waiting 25 minutes for the sauce to simmer without digging in!) and using our 95% lean chicken sausage rolls in this recipe makes it guilt-free.

Our favorite part came actually after the taping was over:  One member of the audience asked if Frank drained the sausage before adding it to the sauce.  He showed her the pan in which the sausage had been cooked – there was almost NO fat in the pan to drain.  There were literally “oohs” and “ahhs” coming from the audience.  You have to love it when sausage can elicit such a lively reaction!

A view from the audience

Thanks very much to everyone at KING for hosting us yesterday.  Here is a link to video footage of Frank’s appearance, and be sure to check out the Rigatoni with Sausage Sauce recipe on our website.

Behind the scenes with Frank & Margaret Isernio, and Isernio's employee Ingrid Harger


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The 12 Days of Sausage

Win free chicken sausage rolls - delivered to your door!

The holidays are here!  What better way to celebrate than with some FREE sausage delivered right to your door??  Think of it as our holiday gift to you!  Here’s how you can win:

Email us your favorite recipe using Isernio’s sausage.  From Dec. 9th through 24th we’ll randomly choose one recipe per day and post it here – The 12 Days of Sausage!  Each day’s winner will receive a variety pack of Isernio’s Chicken Sausage Rolls shipped right to their door. 

It’s easy to be entered to win, just email us your favorite recipe using Isernio’s Sausage – any variety.  Email it to us at info@isernio.com, and be sure to include your name, address and phone number.  Or just use our online form at http://isernio.com/About/ContactUs.aspx

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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Festa Italiana!

It’s time for one of our favorite events all year – Festa Italiana Seattle.  Taking place this weekend – Sept 24, 25, 26 – at the Seattle Center, Festa Italiana is a wonderful celebration of all things Italian:

Food?  Yes!  Tons of delicious options (including Isernio’s sausage sandwiches, of course)
Wine?   As if you had to ask.  (Beer too, if that’s more your style!) 
Music?  Of course.  Dancing too!
Celebrity Chefs?  Yes!  And some really great cooking demonstrations.
Grape stomp?  Yes!  Come watch the teams get down and dirty in huge barrels of grapes.
Bocce?  You bet!
Classic Italian Cars?  Some real beauties!
History?  Wonderful photos of Seattle’s earliest Italian families.
Kids Activities?  Absolutely!

Check out the full lineup of the weekend’s activities here.  We hope to see you there!   

Do the Stomp! The Ruffino Grape Stomp at Festa Italiana Seattle

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Roasted Pig (Porchetta)

Happy and full guests

Recently Frank and Margaret Isernio held their annual pig roast – it’s not just a meal, it’s an event!  Roasting a pig is an ambitious undertaking, but the end result is well worth the effort.  Here is Frank’s recipe and some tips:


Roasted Pig Porchetta

Roasting a small whole pig is an occasion and treat your guests will never forget.  Italians love their porchetta.  Throughout the country, small storefronts, outdoor markets, festivals, fairs, and signature white trucks serve healthy slices of the roasted meat tucked into crusty rolls.  The Porchetta Sandwich is devoured nationwide as Italy’s fast food of ancient origins.  Made from a whole cleaned pig that is liberally seasoned with herbs and spices, it is trussed up onto a spit and slow-roasted until its skin is golden and crackling, and the meat is succulent and aromatic.

30-pound pig or smaller
½ lb. whole rosemary sprigs
12 oz. whole peeled garlic cloves
2 oz. cracked fennel seed
1 oz. fennel pollen (if available)
8 tsp medium coarse sea salt
6 tsp coarse fresh ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine

Trussing needle and kitchen twine

Use a food processor to make a coarse mixture of the chopped garlic, leaves of rosemary from 4 or 5 sprigs, the fennel seed, fennel pollen, salt and pepper.  Add olive oil and pulse until a coarse paste is formed.

Fresh rosemary sprigs add great flavor

Spread the mixture liberally into the pig’s cavity, reserving one third of the rub, and place the remaining rosemary sprigs inside.  Fasten the spit in place and sew the cavity shut using a large trussing needle and kitchen twine.  Refrigerate and let marinate overnight.

The happy roaster

Remove the pig from refrigeration and allow the internal temperature to reach 40˚, monitoring with a digital thermometer probe.  Place the pig on the spit and brush with remaining oil & herb mixture.  Lower grill lid and cook covered.  For best results, roast at and ambient temperature of 275-300˚.  A temperature probe placed in the rump section, not touching bone, should register 175˚ when done, approximately 4 hours.  Continue to base with oil & herb mix every half hour of cooking time.

The serious business of carving some serious pork!

Remove from spit and let meat rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.  In sauce pan, add one cup of white wine to the remaining oil & herb mixture and reduce by half.  Pour wine/herb mixture over sliced porchetta and serve.

Plenty to go around!

Note:  A good resource for tips and pig roasting supplies is www.firepitandgrillingguru.com

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Don’t know about your neck of the woods, but around here the weather is GORGEOUS, which of course means we want to sit outside with a nice cold one, and grill up some sausage.

What kind of summer drinks go well with sausage?  Here are some favorites from Isernio’s employees:

Frank and Margaret Isernio: Nothing goes better with grilled sausage on a hot day than cold beer or white wine.  We prefer Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Frank’s preferred beer is Stella Artois.  As for cocktails before a meal, we like Campari & Soda with a wedge of fresh cut Orange squeezed in. 

Mary Ann Peterson:  Wine spritzer, seltzer with a slice of lime, or a Blue Moon Belgian ale

Mike Durand:  Stella Artois (maybe he’s just copying Frank?)

Scott Mayhew:   If it’s hot out, I’m either having a Gatorade or a beer!

Tony Rodriguez:  Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Ingrid Harger:  A nice cold glass of Riesling – Chateau Ste Michelle is one of my favorites. 

What’s YOUR favorite beverage to have on a hot summer day with some grilled sausage?

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