Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Pepper-Onion Foil Packs are one of our favorite tailgate party meals.
(Updated post.) Memorial Day is just a couple of weeks away. This year’s celebration will likely be strange, since social distancing will likely still be in place (to protect against the spread of COVID-19). We are planning a cookout at a local state park (if it’s open by that time—if not, we may have to resort to a parking lot). It’s perfect: everyone comes in separate cars, brings their little Smokey Joe and food to grill, and sets up 6 feet away from everyone else.We’ve been missing this social interaction.
We’ll be bringing one of our favorite pack-and-go destination grilling meals: Grilled Italian Sausages with Pepper-Onion Foil Packs. What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?
Meal-prep: the pepper-onion foil packs
Prepping foil packs with peppers and onions is super easy. Simply make 2 pockets with heavy duty foil. Use approximately 12″ x 20″ foil rectangles, fold them in half, and roll the 2 sides adjacent to the fold. Next, add sliced sweet onion and red bell pepper, salt and pepper, and olive oil to each pocket. Finally, close the pockets and roll the remaining side. Refrigerate until you’re ready to pack up.
Prepping the grill
We are devout fans of charcoal. With that being said, you can, of course, use a gas grill (set it up for medium heat and indirect cooking). We’ve cooked this meal on a full-size Weber grill, a tiny Smokey Joe, and the in-ground grills you find at parks. (One tip with that last one: bring a grill brush with you so you can clean the grates!!)
The hubster always uses a chimney to start the charcoal rather than lighter fluid. This, along with letting your coals ash over before adding the meat, ensures that your food won’t taste like fuel. Arrange your hot coals on one side of the grill for indirect heating.
Cooking the sausages and pepper-onion foil packs
We like to use hot Italian sausages, but you can choose mild. Set the sausages directly over the coals and place the foil packs on the indirect heat side of the grill. Grill the sausages for 3–5 minutes on 2 sides to brown them up. Then, continue grilling an additional 5–8 minutes (total 13–18 minutes) to cook through.
Rotate and flip the foil packs about every 5 minutes to make sure that the vegetables cook through.
NOTE: if your fire is too hot, you can move the sausages over to indirect heat. Flip them every couple of minutes until they’re completely cooked.
Serving your Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches
We always toast up our rolls for a minute or two before serving (use good bratwurst buns or hoagie rolls). We like our sandwiches with a layer of melty provolone cheese, but this is optional. To one toasted roll, add a couple of slices of provolone cheese (if using), one sausage, and about half a cup of the pepper-onion mixture.
Side dishes and odds and ends
These sandwiches are great with pasta salad or potato salad. For example, check out my Easy Greek Pasta Salad, Traditional* Potato Salad, or Loaded Baked Potato Salad. You could also serve a straight-up salad, like Meal-Prep DIY House Salad.
That’s it! I hope you and your crowd love this easy cookout recipe.
Stay safe. Stay well.
P.S. If you’re more of a hotdog fan, be sure to check out these Ultimate Chili Cheese Dogs. They’re also easily adaptable to cookouts. Or, go the “meat on sticks” route and make my Grilled Beef Kebabs with Vegetables! Plus, for ideas on hosting a safe potluck during this time of social distancing, check out my Virtual Memorial Day Potluck Recipe Roundup! It features 45 absolutely gorgeous favorite potluck recipes, collected from food blogger friends!
Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Pepper-Onion Foil Packs
- Charcoal grill
- chimney charcoal starter
- charcoal lighter
- 8 hot Italian Sausages - (you can choose mild if you prefer)
- 2 large sweet onions
- 4 red bell peppers
- 1 tsp coarse salt - divided (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper - divided (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 hoagie rolls - (or bratwurst buns)
- 8 oz sliced provolone cheese - (optional)
- To make the foil packs, tear two ~12" x 20" sections of foil. Fold each in half. For each piece, roll the sides adjacent to the fold tightly 3–4 times to make a pouch.
- Mix the sliced onions and peppers. Divide approximately between the two foil pouches. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tbsp of oil to each pouch. Fold the top of the pouch several times to seal. Refrigerate until use.
- Prepare charcoal grill for indirect heat. When the coals are hot and completely ashed over (white), add the sausages directly over the coals. Place the pepper-onion packs on the indirect heat side of the grill.
- Grill the sausages for 3–5 minutes each on 2 sides, or until browned (check to be sure they don't burn; see Recipe Note #1). Continue grilling, turning as necessary, until thoroughly cooked, an additional 8–9 minutes (total 15–18 minutes) to cook through. If you'd like to toast your rolls, move the sausages to indirect heat and toast the bread until lightly browned.
- To assemble the sandwiches, lay 1–2 slices of provolone cheese (if using) on the bottom of the roll. Add one hot sausage and ~1/2 cup of the pepper-onion mixture (see Recipe Note #2).
- If your fire is too hot, move the sausages to indirect heat. Turn every few minutes until thoroughly cooked.
- Be very careful when opening the foil packs to prevent steam burns.