We almost didn’t write about the Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill, a device specifically designed for cooking Johnsonville brats. As far as single-use kitchen gadgets go, this one is particularly random and unnecessary. And yet, the grill was so instantly beloved by the entire Inventory team, that our fearless leader/Senior Director of Commerce Shep McAllister declared that we should take a chance.
And so, a post was born.
That was the end of the story, literally, until a representative for Johnsonville contacted me and offered to send us a grill of our own. That resulted in this tweet (plus a justifiably aggressive follow-up).
Which brings us to today: The Day We Tried the Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill. I, for one, was nervous, considering I had received the following ominous email from a reader following the publication of the initial post. Everyone else was just nervous that I would forget to get pretzel buns and mustard when I went out to buy sausages for the test (I did).
Nonetheless, I hit three grocery stores in my search for the correct variety of Johnsonville sausage — Johnsonville Original Brats — plus I bought another brand of sweet Italian chicken sausage to cook, in order to determine whether the grill was truly limited to cooking only Johnsonville-brand bangers to perfection.
But before we get cooking, an initial assessment of the grill itself: There were no instructions for use in the box that arrived at our office, though there was a small booklet of sausage recipes. Turns out instructions weren’t really necessary, since there is but a single button on this contraption. In case it’s not totally apparent, sausage chefs should place five brats in the designated molds, close the grill, push the button, and wait 10 to 15 minutes, at which point, a temperature probe inserted into one sausage would indicate that the cooking was complete and the grill would automatically shut off.
Aside from the one button thing, I was also mildly suspicious of the red plastic latch that’s meant to keep the grill securely closed during cooking. The latch was so difficult to open that I thought I might snap it in half, and I was worried that it might melt as the grill heated up. But as it turned out, all my fears were for naught.
Though the grill started smoking a mere two minutes into cooking the Johnsonville brats, which I found alarming, the sausages came out perfectly browned on both sides and cooked all the way through, as promised. Grease drained into the included plastic drip tray, but not so much grease that the tray overflowed or became too hot. Clean up went well too; both of the cooking plates are removable for easy transfer to the sink for scrubbing.
Despite this initial success, I was wary of the Sizzling Sausage Grill’s ability to cook chicken (and non-Johnsonville brand chicken, at that) since I thought perhaps the temperature probe was specifically calibrated to Johnsonville pork. But in the end, the grill proved that it could, in fact, handle poultry, and many a Gizmodo Media Group staffer enjoyed a fully-cooked, perfectly browned, off-brand chicken sausage.
That being said, unless you are a religious eater of breakfast sausage or big into meat-filled summer cookouts, I probably wouldn’t recommend that someone drop $80 on the Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill. After all, it’s just a single-use kitchen appliance that can perfectly crisp one of the world’s greatest foods with the greatest of ease...