Grilled Sausage and Peppers

August 21, 2020

I’ve thought a lot about why I like to cook. There’s not just one reason, of course, but there is something that I keep coming back to: I like to cook because it makes other people happy. I like watching the reactions of my dinner companions as they take a bite, smile, mumble something complimentary, or simply nod and continue eating.

Sometimes, full mouths suspended in silence is the highest praise. 

It’s not as altruistic as it sounds — cooking for others makes me feel good about myself, too. Sure, it’s hard work for someone else’s benefit, but it fills my heart as much as anyone’s stomach. And so, I set out to develop an exceptional sausage and peppers recipe. There’s no better way to make friends than serving smoky, flavorful, juicy meat in a hot dog-adjacent form for dinner.

Tucked into a soft bun and loaded with vinegary, jammy peppers, onions, and a touch of sun-dried tomatoes for unexpected, fully-loaded flavor, grilled sausage and peppers is crowd-friendly food at it’s finest. People come ready to eat, and I arrive happy to feed them.

What to serve with grilled Italian sausage

My favorite side dish to go with sausage and peppers is a simple watermelon salad with feta, mint, a touch of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. The cooling sweetness of the watermelon complements the fiery flavor of the sausages, while the creamy feta and fragrant mint offer texture and flavor that would otherwise not exist in this recipe. If that sweet-savory salad is not your idea of delicious, here are a few more side dish options:

How do you cook pork sausages on the grill?

The best way to cook sausages on the grill is to start by simmering them in water on the stovetop until they’re fully cooked, then tossing them on a hot grill for a few minutes until lightly charred and bronzed.

Simmering assures that the sausages won’t dry out on the grill, and fully cooking them before grilling also helps prevent flare-ups. Simmering before grilling is definitely an extra step, so feel free to skip. If you’re skipping that step, just grill the sausages over low heat first before finishing on a hotter part of the grill. 

Overhead shot of a sheet pan with bell peppers, onions, and hot dog buns.

The technique that’s non-negotiable is tossing the warm peppers and onions with freshly grated garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and plenty of salt. The juices from the sweet peppers mingle with the oil and vinegar to create an emulsified, dressing-like coating on the vegetables that make them good enough to eat on their own. 

It’s a far cry from the undercooked, watery, unseasoned peppers that usually come with grilled sausage and peppers. 

Overhead shot of a bowl of grilled peppers and onions.

Instead of an obligatory vegetable accompaniment, the peppers and onions become shining co-stars to the A-list cut of meat. 

Grilled meat and a house full of hungry friends creates the ideal scenario for a happy ending, and it’s the kind of predictable plot line that every cook shamelessly enjoys.

Grilled Sausage and Peppers

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Make friends by serving grilled sausage and peppers: Grilled Italian sausage with jammy peppers and onions in a soft bun undeniably makes everyone happy.


  • 2 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered lengthwise, root intact
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 6 soft Italian sub rolls



Heat grill to medium. Place sausages in a large skillet on the stovetop and cover with water until sausages are mostly submerged. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until water reaches a boil, then lower the heat to medium to maintain a simmer. Cook sausages about 10 minutes total, flipping halfway through, until fully cooked. Transfer sausages to the grill and sear on on all sides until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes more. The internal temperature of the sausages should be about 165℉. Remove from grill and let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.


Meanwhile, add onions and peppers to the grill. Cook, flipping every 5 minutes or so, until vegetables soften and char, 18–22 minutes. Lower the heat on the grill (or move to a colder part of the grill) if they start to char too quickly. You want them to be completely tender, not burnt on the outside and crunchy on the inside. Remove from grill and set aside.


In a large, heat-safe bowl, whisk together the grated garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar.


Once cooled slightly, cut off the root to pull apart the onion wedges and slice peppers and onions lengthwise into ½ inch strips. Transfer vegetables to the bowl with the garlic, tomatoes, oil, and vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Serve the sausage and peppers mixture piled into sub rolls and enjoy!


  • 619 Calories


If you're enjoying a summer evening outside by the grill, rosé and slightly chilled, lighter bodied reds hit the spot. An off-dry German riesling would help to balance out the spice, while a German Pinot Blanc that's high in acid will help balance the sweetness of the peppers. For a bolder, more peppery pairing, try a Sicilian red or Syrah from California.

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