Will Sausage Freeze OK?
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.