Even though we’re only about halfway through summer, I’ve ingested enough brats, hot dogs and other various forms of sausage that I’m tempted to hold off on eating another until next June beckons. But then I saw a clip of Tony Soprano spinning around an encased-meat boa at his father-in-law’s birthday party and couldn’t help but be intrigued.
How do you cook this magical Italian spiral sausage, and is there any reason they’re not chopped into individual tubes like regular ol’ brats, sausages or dogs? Per usual, I reached out to cookbook author and chef Jim Mumford, aka “Jimmy Meatballs,” to find out. “Jimmy Meatballs knows his way around a good spiral sausage,” Mumford begins, adding that the Italian spiral sausage, or rope sausage, “is one of the reasons to get out of bed in the morning.”
What Is Italian Spiral Sausage?
According to Mumford, an Italian spiral sausage is simply a “one- to two-pound rope of traditional link or cased sausages, that have been rolled into a coil.” And besides being able to wear them around your neck like Tony Soprano, there’s also a culinary reason why the sausages aren’t cut into individual pieces.
How to Cook Italian Spiral Sausage
“The continuous sausage has one mega advantage — the large amount of meat will stay moist and juicy via cooking,” Mumford explains. “A rope sausage should be cooked uncut and fully coiled to preserve juice loss through the broken casing; my preference is to grill it whole on low for six to seven minutes a side until deeply brown.”
This brings us to another advantage of the long, continuous Italian rope sausage: “creative serving ideas.” Once cooked, the spiral sausage can be cut into normal links, but Mumford says his preference is to “split a loaf of bread, toast it, garlic it and place the entire spiral in between, making one mega sausage sandwich — sharing optional.”
Better yet, he adds, “Since the spiral sausage is a continuous piece, the biggest advantage is that you can have ‘one’ sausage at a cookout guilt-free!”