Will Sausage Freeze OK?

John Liu

I went to Cal, aka UC Berkeley, for undergrad, starting 1976. The sixties were over, and boy was I grouchy about missing them, but Berkeley was still alive with dissent, counterculture, drugs, music, mischief, oh and a great university too. I initially lived just off Telegraph Ave, the colorful street of record stores, coffee shops, bookstores, head shops, magazine and smoke stands, street vendors, street people, and college students that leads into the Sather Gate entrance to the campus. I spent most of my free time on Telegraph, either literally sitting or walking or skating on the sidewalks - at one point I fancied that I knew every crack and stain on its sidewalks - or reading books, searching record bins, and browsing pipes in the myriad shops.


Later I started spending more time on why I was there, which was to get my math degree, which meant going down to my jail cell - excuse me, study carrel - I’d better explain what that is. At the time, and still today for all I know, a student could get an assigned carrel in the stacks of Doe Library. That would be a tiny chain link enclosure with a steel desk, lamp, and chair, around seven floors underground, amidst long dusty rows of books and filles that time had forgotten.

I’d go down to my carrel with a sandwich and notebooks, and not see daylight or, often, another person, for hours. And hours. When I would finally emerge, tired and a little dazed, I was unsure if it would be day or night. When I spoke, my voice sounded unfamiliar. It felt like coming from the netherworld to the land of breezes and people.


Cal had plenty of libraries where I could have hung out with my friends, but the math was getting harder. I needed to be locked away with paper, pen and concentration for many hours to solve just one problem. So I spent many days and nights in that deep basement, and then I needed to eat something. Late at night, without much money, somewhere friendly but where I wouldn’t have to talk much.


I usually skated down the hill to Top Dog. There were two Top Dogs, the original on Durant right off Telegraph, and the new one on the Northside of campus. Top Dog had been around forever, I thought - although it was actually a child of the sixties, it felt timeless. A nondescript little hot dog place, with no tables but a tiny counter, and leftist, radical, libertarian, intellectual, whimsical and just plain weird clippings, photos, stickers, and articles posted on every wall. It was the kind of place to go, at 1 am, for a bockwurst and some light reading. The dogs were pretty cheap and very good, and you could load them up with sauerkraut and relish to maximize the calories per dollar. Smelling the sizzling sausage, listening to the reggae or alt music playing, looking at the clippings, watching the street life outside, I would wonder why I was driving myself towards a career that, as far as I could tell, required the lifestyle of a solitary mole and enough intense thinking to make my brain hurt.


I guess I went to Top Dog several times a week for four years. It is one of the defining parts of my college years, although with the dismal carrel, a particularly low rent bar where I learned to drink pitchers of beer very fast, my skateboard, and good friends who I’ve kind since lost touch with.


So I was horrified at reading this article https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Top-Dog-Berkeley-libertarian-aid-coronavirus-15200903.php#photo-19298423


Top Dog on the ropes?! Nooooo. I emailed them and asked to buy $200 of hot dogs plus some T shirts. Afterwards, I wondered, whatever will I do with 20 pounds of Kielbasa, bockwurst, and hot links? Well, eventually we’ll be out of this social distancing thing, ummm, right. And it’ll be summer, let’s say, and people will be raring for a party. So, I’m going to throw a BBQ with Top Dogs and Corona beer. We’ll probably still be wearing masks then, elbow bumping and hand sanitizing, because no-one I know is going to feel comfortable going back to the old ways any time soon. But I will not have trouble getting my dogs eaten.


If, that is, they are still good. So that’s my question. Can I freeze sausage for a few months, and have it still taste good and cook right, with lots of browning and a little char?


And how would you cook 20 lb of dogs in an hour? I was thinking I could sous vide them in a cooler, then use the grill as hot as it will go to finish? My grill is not that big, alas.


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Comments (14)
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colleenoz

I freeze sausage all the time and have not noticed a lessening of flavour. No idea about the cooking , but sous vide then browning on the grill certainly sounds like it should work.

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Sooz

I get them fresh and freeze them--and I like to try a lot of various sausages.

I also get them fresh and cook them (bake, or broil, or BBQ, or boil them and then grill, etc) and freeze them. I've never used a sous vide.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Sausage freezes just fine.

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plllog

Agreed. So, how to cook? The way ballparks do/did it is boil them, hold in a warmer, then grill them right before they're sold. The sous vide would work as both boil and warm. :)

I hope your purchase helps.

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foodonastump

I think they should take a closer look at some of the companies requesting help and consider swallowing their pride. But that’s their choice.

A few months is longer than “they” say sausage should be frozen, but I’d guess it’d be just fine. The bagging aspect of SV sounds fussy considering it’s pretty common to preheat sausage in a low simmer. But a side by side comparison would give you an excuse to cut open a package when they arrive, should you be looking for an excuse.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

We freeze sausage all the time also. Bratwurst is one of my favorites but with my old brain sometimes I forget to get it out of the freezer ahead of time. What I do with it if it's still frozen is put it in a deep frying pan and cover it with water then put a lid on the pan. Once the water has boiled for at least 5 minutes I take the brats out, pour off the water, spray the pan with spray then return the brats to the pan and finish cooking them to a nice brown. So although I've never seen sous vide done I imagine it's a similar concept?

Anyway I think that's a wonderful way to support this company and I bet you will have lots of grateful friends when you get to throw your BBQ party!

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

We have thought to do the same with some high quality burgers from the wholesaler. They went into the freezer. Thankfully all our meats have been delivered in thick cryovac. Our local meat share came this morning all cryovaced rock solid frozen with dry ice. 3 packs of sausage. One chorizo, smoked, the others raw sausage.

Not sure we will be feeling festive for a gathering anytime soon, but proteins freezer well for easily 4-6 months without loosing quality in our freezer if packed without air, flash frozen... 9 months to a year they do start to loose some quality but not unsafe.

If they arrive cryovacked I would freeze as is and like mentioned, simmer out of package in a pasta pot or turkey roaster on the stovetop. Just to heat through, then onto the grill. If any are sausage raw style sous vide makes sense.

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Sherry

I have froze sausage of all kinds for years. It is just fine.

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John Liu

The only reason I’d try sous vide is that the dogs would marinate in their own juices (“purge” is what the cool kids call it) and then get grilled with a coating of that liquid, which I could also reduce down and spice up for a glaze . . .

I did about 30 lb of ribs for a party last year. Sous vided in gallon freezer bags with aromatics, salt, sugar, spice, all bags hanging in a cooler that I’d prefilled with hot water. if They spent 12 hours under sous vide, then when I got an “order” for ribs I just grabbed a bag and grilled for ten minutes. This worked well with my limited grill area. I might try similar with the dogs.

Hmm, will have to plan the right soundtrack. To pay homage to the Top Dog of my college days, it would be Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Pretenders, and the other stuff we were listening to then.

I was a Top Dog regular again in 1997-1999, when I returned to Cal for grad school. Things were different, Telegraph had been taken over by chain stores and bubble tea shops, most of the bookstores were gone, only one record shop left, maybe one head shop. The college kids, and they were kids to me, looked a lot more serious and strained. Not so much free spirited kids with sandals and philosophy books. The average kid was an Asian teen, humping a huge backpack of books like a Marine on patrol, grimly trying to maintain a “B” average against 30,000 of the smartest kids in the world. Top Dog was a little bit of the Berkeley of my youth, but I wasn’t. One night a friend and I went to Top Dog, it was about 1 am, we were both in tuxedos, someone called me “sir”, I felt old and gray :-(


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bragu_DSM 5

freeze them individually on a sheet pan, transfer to sealable bags after frozen.

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annie1992

I also agree that the sausages will freeze well and be just fine. I grind my own and either freeze them bulk, in patties or stuffed into links, and then I vacuum pack them with the food saver. I've kept them as long as a year that way and they were still good, I noticed no decrease in quality. I've also frozen cooked sausages, although not as often. A local meat market had wonderful pre-cooked potato sausages that my Dad loved, so I'd stop and buy 10 pounds at a time and he'd freeze them. He was a picky man, and he never said that they were anything other than delicious. Born's Smokehouse is long gone, but remembered fondly by a lot of us.

As for cooking the dogs, a local bar used to steam them in beer, they were a big deal in my college town in the 70s.

I've mostly been writing checks for Feeding America and the local food banks and homeless shelter. I've purchased the hand sanitizer necessary for the election from the local brewery, who is now making that in lieu of distilling brandy or whatever it was they made along with their beer. I've also stocked up on Christmas gifts, buying gift cards from local restaurants. Hopefully they won't go out of business before I can give those cards away. I just bought a new printer from a local business supply store instead of Amazon and I'll have the same place print Township address labels. A local printer did the Township checks and envelopes now that the University Print Shop is closed, so I'm doing what I can to help out the small local guys and keep the local kids fed.

Have fun at your cookout, and good luck trying to eat those dogs while wearing masks, LOL.

Annie

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foodonastump

Annie - On Tuesday we surprised my in-laws for my FIL’s birthday. We hadn’t planned to go inside, but they insisted we come in and share cake that I had baked for him. We were all handed masks to wear inside. My daughter took a forkful from her slice and... Yup, right into the mask!

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annie1992

OK, FOAS, that's funny, I can just see someone smearing frosting accidentally onto their mask, just from force of habit! Your poor daughter, though, she had to miss out on that anticipated bite of cake. (grin)

Annie


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bragu_DSM 5

ice cream cone ...

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