The Ultimate Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches

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The Ultimate Grilled Italian Sausage recipe! Juicy, perfectly char-grilled Italian sausage sandwiched inside toasted brioche, topped with castelvetrano-giardiniera relish & lemon basil aioli. An elevated summer staple that’s simple to make but SO impressive to serve. This post will teach you how to grill Italian sausage perfectly every time, & how to serve it up in the BEST Italian sausage sandwich you’ll ever eat!

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

Pin this Ultimate Grilled Italian Sausage recipe for later!

Any day we get to talk about grilled sausage is a good day in my book. (Ahem, ICYMI, grilled sausage is one of my all-time favorite summer meals!)

That makes today a particularly good day because we’re talking about the ULTIMATE Grilled Italian Sausage, AKA the BEST Italian sausage sandwich you’ll ever eat.

What makes these so ULTIMATE, you ask? Well, they look a little something like this…

  • Juicy, flavorful Italian sausage, char-grilled to perfection…
  • …sandwiched in a perfectly toasted & pillowy-soft St Pierre Brioche Hot Dog Roll
  • …topped with an epic pickle-y, briny castelvetrano-giardiniera relish
  • …& finished with a generous drizzle of lemony, garlicky basil aioli!

I repeat – the ULTIMATE grilled Italian sausage!

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

One of the reasons I’m so head-over-heels for grilled sausage is the fact that it’s such a quick & easy summer meal. You don’t need a crazy meal plan & there’s not a ton of meal prep involved. They’re seriously low-maintenance & seriously satisfying – just what you want in a summer meal!

These epic grilled Italian sausage sandwiches are no exception.

With less than 30 minutes of prep & cooking involved, they’re easy enough for any night of the week.

Better yet, a few special touches – namely, a quick & punchy relish, herby aioli, & the most perfectly fluffy brioche bun – really take these grilled Italian sausages to the next level. It’s the kind of meal that you can effortlessly throw together for easy summertime entertaining or a (socially distant!) holiday weekend gathering.

(& the combination of easy-meets-elevated is pretty much the best if you ask me!)

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface, next to a package of St Pierre Brioche Hot Dog Buns.

Simple, satisfying, & special. ♡ Read on to learn more about how to grill Italian sausage, or jump straight to the recipe & get grillin’!

How to grill Italian sausage

If you haven’t yet learned how to cook Italian sausage on the grill, you’re in the right place! I’ve been grilling sausage multiple times a week during the summer for the past several years, & have figured out the easiest technique for the perfect grilled sausage every time.

6 grilled Italian sausages shown on a small baking sheet atop a white marble surface.

The secret lies in zone grilling. Create 2 zones of heat on your grill – a direct high-heat zone & an indirect low-heat zone – & grill the sausage:

  • First, cook the Italian sausage with indirect heat: Arrange the Italian sausage links on the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid & cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. The heat from the direct heat side of the grill will circulate around the sausage, cooking them with really gentle indirect heat.
  • Then, char-grill the sausage over direct heat: Transfer the Italian sausage links to the direct heat side of the grill. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, until charred as desired.

If this idea of zone grilling is new to you, don’t panic – it’s seriously the simplest thing! Check out this post for a full how-to.

Close up photo of 6 grilled Italian sausages.

NOTE: This method of zone grilling is applicable to fresh (raw) sausage links. If you’re using fully-cooked sausage links, there’s no reason to bother with zone grilling. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more info!

A few more Grilled Italian Sausage FAQs:

Italian sausage grill temperature:

With your grill set up for 2-zone grilling, its temperature will run fairly hot, anywhere from 500-700 degrees F. Rather than focusing on particular grill temperatures, I suggest focusing instead on ensuring that the direct heat side of the grill has nice, strong & consistent heat. Check out this post to learn more about zone grilling.

How long to grill Italian sausage?

Using the 2-zone grilling method described above & in the Recipe Card below, the Italian sausage will grill for about 12-15 minutes total – 8-10 minutes with indirect heat followed by 4-5 minutes over direct flame.

What temperature to grill Italian sausage?

The finished cooking temperature will vary based on the type of Italian sausage you use. Pork-based Italian sausage is safe to eat at 160 degrees F. Chicken-based Italian sausage needs to be fully cooked to 165 degrees F. Always check internal temperatures with an instant-read thermometer to ensure your sausage has reached its safe-to-eat temperature!

How to serve your grilled Italian sausage sandwiches:

Firstly, any grilled Italian sausage sandwich needs a good bun.

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

While it may not be traditional, my preferred bun for grilled Italian sausage is a light & fluffy brioche roll. Why? Brioche has the dreamiest pillowy soft texture, but it’s also really sturdy & doesn’t break apart easily, which is key for a loaded sausage like an Italian sausage sandwich!

Plus, brioche rolls are split at the top, not down the side, meaning you can really load on the toppings & your sausage will sit upright, totally picture-perfect! No need to worry about it falling apart before you even get the chance to eat it – don’t you hate that?!

When it comes to brioche, I turn to St Pierre. St Pierre’s brioche is made in France with high-quality ingredients & their Brioche Hot Dog Rolls are the secret to making a restaurant-quality Italian sausage sandwich at home! You can find St Pierre Brioche Hot Dog Rolls in the bakery & deli section in grocery stores nationwide!

To take your brioche rolls to the next level, toast them: Spritz them with a little cooking spray & pop them directly on the grill grates to toast up for a minute or two as the sausages finish grilling. They get slightly toasty & crisp, adding the littlest bit of crunch to your Italian sausage sandwich – seriously the BEST!

Grilled Italian Sausage toppings: castelvetrano relish in a small white bowl next to lemon basil aioli in a small jar, alongside a package of St Pierre brioche hot dog buns.

Grilled Italian Sausage toppings

The first thing that comes to mind as an Italian sausage topping is likely sausage & peppers. While they’re traditional & delicious, there are other Italian sausage topping options, too!

My obsession right now is this bold, briny, punchy castelvetrano-giardiniera relish. Give a jar of plain old giardiniera (Italian-style pickled veggie relish) a little makeover by blitzing it up with castelvetrano olives & capers. It turns into a totally savory relish that’s perfect for topping a grilled Italian sausage sandwich (& you may have to restrain yourself from eating it straight out of the food processor – don’t say I didn’t warn ya!).

If the brininess of olives & giardiniera isn’t your thing, you could also top your Italian sausage sandwich with something a little fresher – marinated tomatoes! Make bruschetta-style marinated tomatoes by tossing sliced baby heirloom tomatoes with a little olive oil, aged balsamic, garlic, fresh basil, & some S&P. It’ll be totally fresh, totally summery & totally delish!

Sauce for Grilled Italian Sausage

Along similar lines as toppings, you have plenty of options when it comes to sauces to serve on your Italian sausage sandwich.

If you’re keeping things traditional, marinara sauce is always classic.

Since it’s summer, though, I’m obsessed with the fresh, lemony flavors in this simple lemony basil aioli.

To make lemony basil aioli, simply blitz mayonnaise, basil, garlic, lemon zest & juice together in a food processor. It transforms into a vibrant & herbaceous sauce that’s good on just about anything…especially perfectly grilled Italian sausage!

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

What to serve with grilled Italian sausage:

With your perfect Italian sausage sandwiches assembled, all that’s left is figuring out what to serve alongside them. Keep things as simple as you want, or go all-out with a whole spread of sides.

A few of our favorite side dishes for a grilled Italian sausage meal:

  • Keep it simple. Grab potato salad or coleslaw from the deli of your favorite grocery store. Maybe pick up a bag of chips, while you’re at it!
  • Pasta salad! No Italian meal is complete without a little pasta, right?! Try this Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad (so easy!) or this Creamy Italian Pasta Salad (dairy-free & oil-free!).
  • You can also never go wrong with an epic Caprese Salad – the ultimate quick & easy Italian side dish for summer!
  • Make a quick cold salad, like this Grated Zucchini Salad (perfect for summer!) or this Falafel-ish Quinoa Salad (so light + bright!).
  • Or, make some grilled fries! You’ll already have the grill on for the sausage & that lemony basil aioli doubles as the perfect dipping sauce!
3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

I can’t wait for you to try this Ultimate Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwich recipe. It’s a new favorite at our house, & I know you’ll fall in love with these hearty sandwiches, too!

If you do give them a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

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3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

Ultimate Grilled Italian Sausage

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches & Burgers
  • Method: Grilled & Smoked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Juicy, perfectly char-grilled Italian sausage sandwiched inside a toasted brioche roll, topped with castelvetrano-giardiniera relish & lemon basil aioli. This post will teach you how to grill Italian sausage perfectly every time, & how to serve it up in the BEST Italian sausage sandwich you’ll ever eat!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh Italian sausage links (Hot or Mild, your preference – see Recipe Notes, below)
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 46 St Pierre Brioche Hot Dog Rolls
  • for serving: castelvetrano giardiniera relish (below), lemon basil aioli (below), balsamic glaze, etc.

for the lemon basil aioli: 

  • 1/2 cup high-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves & tender stems (roughly 1.25 ounces)
  • 1 medium lemon, zested (use the juice to make a Spaghett!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon each Morton coarse kosher salt & ground black pepper

for the castelvetrano giardiniera relish:

  • heaping 1/2 cup pitted castelvetrano olives (roughly 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup giardiniera (mild or hot), drained
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill: Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, creating a zone of direct high heat & a second zone of indirect heat. If using a gas grill, begin preheating at least 15 minutes before grilling. If using charcoal, light the charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. (To learn more about zone grilling, be sure to check out this post.)
  2. Prep the aioli & the relish: While the grill preheats, prep the Italian sausage toppings!
    1. Lemon basil aioli: Add all listed ingredients to a food processor. Process until combined into a smooth mixture. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 
    2. Castelvetrano giardiniera relish: Add all listed ingredients to the same food processor used to make the aioli (no need to even wash it!). Pulse just 3-5 times, just until the olives & giardiniera are roughly chopped. Transfer to a serving dish and set aside, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 
  3. Grill the sausage: Once the grill is hot, place the sausage directly on the indirect heat side of the grill, arranging the sausage as close to the direct heat as possible without being directly over the flame. Close the lid & cook for 4-5 minutes. The heat from the direct heat side of the grill will circulate around the sausage, cooking them with really gentle indirect heat. After 4-5 minutes, flip the sausage, & cook over indirect heat for another 4-5 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the sausage registers a temperature of 150 degrees F.
  4. Chargrill the sausage: Transfer the sausage to the direct heat. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, until charred as desired & the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Transfer to a plate to rest & cool slightly before serving.
  5. Toast the St Pierre Brioche Hot Dog Rolls: Lightly spritz the rolls with nonstick cooking spray. Place the rolls on the grill grates over direct heat. Cook for 1 minute or so, until as toasty & crisp as desired. 
  6. Serve the grilled sausage on a toasted roll, topped with castelvetrano relish & generous drizzles of lemon basil aioli & balsamic glaze, as desired. Enjoy! 

Notes

  • Sausage: You can use pretty much any Italian sausage links you love in this recipe. We typically stick to classic hot pork Italian sausage, but if you prefer chicken, it’ll work great. Note, the Recipe Directions above are specific to grilling fresh (raw) sausage links. If you’re using fully-cooked sausage instead, simply cook them over medium-high direct heat, flipping occasionally until the sausage is heated through or as crusty & charred as desired.
  • 15-Minute Meal Prep: While this is a super quick & easy recipe, a little prep in advance will make dinnertime even more effortless. Whenever you’re meal prepping for the week, prep & store the lemon basil aioli & the castelvetrano giardiniera relish according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. At dinnertime, all you have to do is fire up the grill – couldn’t be easier!

Keywords: grilled Italian sausage, brioche, easy, summer recipe, grilled recipe, Italian, dairy-free, 10 ingredients

Obsessed with all things grilled? Us too! Here are PWWB’s Top Grilling Recipes that you HAVE to try next!

3 grilled Italian sausage sandwiches on a black wire trivet. The sausages are served on toasted brioche buns, topped with relish & basil aioli. Next to the sausage are a small bowl with additional relish & a small jar with additional aioli. The trivet sits atop a white marble surface.

Ready to Hit the Grill?

If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to this Grilling 101 post, where we dive into all the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.

All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 13 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.

& lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, & we have so much fun on Instagram!

Ready to learn more grilling tips & recipes?

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Don’t forget to pin this Best Italian Sausage Sandwich recipe for later!!!

Grilled Italian Sausage with graphic text overlay for Pinterest.

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 9.8.20
    lauren Hobson said:

    Made these over the weekend. They turned out perfect. I finally feel like i mastered the indirect heat on my charcoal grill. The Aioli is perfection and we used leftover the next day to dip sweet potato fries in. The relish my husband we eating with a spoon. Best sausage sandwich I have made!