Red hot sausages refer to several types of sausages sold throughout the United States. Many red hot sausages resemble a plump hot dog in size and shape, but there are also cocktail versions. They earn their name for their bright-red coloring and their spicy flavor. While some are pickled and sold in stores for immediate consumption, others require cooking. Like hot dogs and sausages, red hot sausages can be cooked in a variety of ways.
Small country stores often offer red hots steamed and ready to eat. They may be topped with mustard, relish, chopped onions or peppers. When served steamed, nachos smothered in cheese or a big heaping of chips complements these spicy sausages. To steam at home, place 1 to 2 inches of water in the bottom of a saucepan, add a collapsible steamer and place the sausage in the top. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the sausage is heated through -- 140 degrees Fahrenheit for precooked; 160 degrees F for raw sausage. For a special treat, add hot dog rolls to the steamer and steam for a few minutes for a piping hot sausage in the roll.
Frying and Grilling
Pan-frying or grilling red hot sausages with sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms and serving them in a roll is a favorite method for summer BBQs or to serve at country fairs and events. Mild foods such as potato or pasta salads complement the spiciness of the red hot sausages. Sausages may be split and placed on the grill to brown the outside and boost their natural flavors.
Boiling provides a convenient alternative to steaming or frying and produces a tasty sausage ready for eating. Cover the red hots with water and simmer gently over medium heat until the sausage is heated through. Avoid rapid boiling, as this will cause the red hots to split and ruin the appearance. Boiled red hot sausages can be served in rolls or eaten as a side with potatoes and veggies.
Veggies, Pasta and Rice Dishes
Red hots make a spicy addition to sautéed veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini and can be added to rice or pasta dishes to kick up the flavor. Try slicing the red hots and sautéing lightly, drain away the fat and add fresh veggies of your choice to make a flavorful stir-fry. Add to Spanish rice or Jambalaya recipes for a twist on the traditional beef or chicken. Serve hot with a garden salad as a side to offset the spiciness of the red hots.
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Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.