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When it comes to a simple camping dinner, this is it! These grilled Italian sausage sandwiches are a classic meal done over the campfire. Whether you have a group to feed, or just 2 people, this camping meal will be a hit and ready in under 30 minutes! Let’s dive into the recipe.
Since this camping dinner is easy, you want to make sure that you buy good quality sausages; you’ll be getting most of the flavor from them.
You can use Italian sausage that’s mild or spicy, it’s up to you! I usually buy mine from Whole Foods or Harmons. At these stores, I can buy what I need instead of a large package of sausages, but they typically are more expensive.
Whatever you choose, make sure you like the flavors and spices, because the sausage is the star of this dinner.
How to Grill Italian Sausage Over the Campfire
For this camping dinner, we’re going to grill the Italian sausages over the fire. No need to boil them first, but you can. We’ll talk more about that below.
The most important thing to remember when grilling sausages over an open flame is that you must cook them low and slow. Too high heat will char the outside and split the casing way before the inside is fully cooked, and we don’t want that!
It’s a good idea to have a meat thermometer handy for testing doneness. It’s better to test the temperature rather than hope they’re done and risk getting sick while camping… because that’s no fun.
What about boiling?
If you want, you can bring a small pot of water to a boil over the fire and place the sausages in the boiling water for about 10 minutes to cook. After boiling, then you place them on the grill to cook the outside. Still, always test the inside for doneness with a meat thermometer.
The boiling method will give you a more even cook throughout and keep the sausages moist. It also makes the grilling part much faster because you can use higher heat, but it does add an extra step to the process and another pot to clean at the end. When camping, I try to use as little camp kitchen gear as possible for a meal, so I like to skip the boiling.
Lastly, you can slice the sausages in half lengthwise, but not all the way through, so that they open up like a book and grill them like that. This will make the cooking much faster, but you risk losing the juices, so this is not my favorite method.
Tips for Grilling Italian Sausage:
- Start a fire and let it burn for about 30 minutes, adding wood as needed. This will start to give you a good bed of coals to cook over and make the heat from the fire even.
- Don’t place the sausages over too high heat. The flames from your fire shouldn’t be touching the sausages. That’s too hot! Remember, the key is low and slow.
- Rotate the sausages frequently to make sure they’re cooking evenly and not burning on one side.
- Be gentle as you rotate them with tongs so you don’t break the casing and lose those precious juices!
- When you’re testing the sausages for doneness, place the thermometer at the end where the casing comes together instead of on the side. This helps to reduce the loss of all those flavorful juices.
- For pork and beef sausages, the internal temperature should reach at least 160°F.
If you don’t want to deal with raw meat at camp, you can also make this meal with fully-cooked Italian chicken sausages.
Since the chicken sausages are cooked, all you need to do is place them on the grill and cook them for a few minutes until they get hot throughout. This is a great option to make this meal even easier, or if you don’t eat pork.
Grilled Sausage Sandwich Topping Ideas
To keep things simple at camp, I stick to the classic ketchup and mustard, but you can really top these grilled sausages with whatever you like! Here are some additional ideas:
- stone-ground mustard
- pickled jalapenos
- garlic and herbed butter (spread on the buns)
- sliced avocado
What to serve with grilled sausage sandwiches:
For me and Nick, this meal is very filling all on its own, but it also goes well with the following sides that are easy to make while camping.
- grilled corn on the cob
- mac and cheese
- potato salad
Some of these side dishes (like the potato salad) can easily be made ahead of time at home and stored in the cooler.
Campfire Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches
- 4 Italian Sausages (mild or spicy )
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 4 submarine buns
- Cut the onion and peppers into strips. Preheat a cast iron pan on a grill grate over the fire. You don’t need any sort of extreme heat. Once the cast iron is hot, add in the oil followed by the sliced peppers and onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Mix frequently until the peppers soften and develop some color.
- In the meantime, place the Italian sausages on the grill. Make sure the fire isn’t too hot. You shouldn’t have huge flames touching the sausages. Cook the sausages for about 20 minutes, rotating every few minutes.
- After 20 minutes, check the sausages with a meat thermometer to make sure that they’re fully cooked on the inside. For pork and beef sausages, the internal temperature should reach at least 160°F. Keep cooking low and slow until the temperature is reached.
- While the sausages are finishing up cooking, place the submarine buns on the grill for a couple of minutes to warm them up and get a little toasted.
- Remove the sausages from the grill and place them inside the submarine buns. Top with the cooked peppers and onions. Serve and enjoy!
- The most important thing to remember when grilling sausages over an open flame is that you must cook them low and slow. Too high heat will char the outside way before the inside is fully cooked and we don’t want that!
- It’s a good idea to have a meat thermometer handy for testing doneness. It’s the only way to know for sure that the sausages have reached the correct temperature.
More Easy Camping Dinner Recipes:
Check out some of the other popular camp dinner ideas on the blog and make sure to come back and leave a review in the comments if you enjoy any of these!