Pineapple sausage bites covered with an elegant juicy IPA and brown sugar glaze and baked until coated by a gorgeous caramelization. You will be bowing in front of your oven in gratitude for the tantalizing aromas wafting from it.
Friends, the under a dollar pineapples have returned to our local grocery store. Except for this year the price is even better at ninety-seven cents! Remember when I wrote about the ninety-nine cents pineapples we used to make IPA terriyaki? Well, clearly a new low price record this time around. And while I cannot understand how it can possibly be profitable to sell pineapples in perfectly good shape for such a price, we are taking full advantage of the sale!
This means that besides this recipe for a quick sausage and pineapple appetizer we have coming up the IPA Pineapple Sorbet we promised you last year as well as Pineapple Salsa, Beer Braised Pork and Pineapple Tacos al Pastor and Pineapple IPA Slushies. Maybe spiked with rum…Or maybe not since that may turn them into yet a different craft beer cocktail. But don’t worry. We will not publish all of these all at once. Even though it does sound tempting.
Pineapple Sausage Bites
For these pineapple sausage bites we used smoked pork and turkey blend sausage, but kielbasa would have been a great choice as well.
Or if you’d like a spicy kick to the bites, get some black pepper seasoned andouille or chorizo sausage. All these options are great partners for ripe pineapple chunks and a bit of red onion (we like its caramelized, crunchy contribution to each bite).
The IPA and brown sugar glaze adds great aromas and helps keep the pineapple sausage bites extra moist while boosting the caramelization. We used a small amount of juicy IPA or New England IPA (NEIPA), the highly coveted hazy IPA style that continues to be all the rage among craft beer fans nationwide and the world over. If you are not into using IPA, mix the brown sugar with OJ and proceed with the pineapple sausage bites recipe as written.
Addiction to the style is spreading like a wild fire and such are the demands of the craft beer marketplace that most breweries simply oblige and add one or more beers in the style to their line ups. Even breweries like our local New Belgium which is one of the nation’s biggest craft breweries and has historically made Belgian styles (at the core of their very existence and success) have jumped on the proverbial bandwagon.
A few months ago New Belgium released the Juicy Hazy IPA we use in this recipe as part of their Voodoo Ranger series. The typical for the style hazy appearance is courtesy of oats and wheat in the grain bill and the citrusy and tropical fruit aromas and flavor of the hops medley is aided by the workings of an American Hefeweizen yeast strain and its esters. An extremely aromatic and clean ale with a respectable ABV 7.5%.
Beers brewed in the NEIPA are typically very low in bitterness, but really…the addition of brown sugar to our glaze would have addressed any problem with bitterness you could have had. Worry not this glaze envelops the pineapple sausage bites in a juicy and sweet coating that brings aromas you would otherwise not experience.
Side note. If you somehow landed on this page not expecting a discussion of IPA flavors and have never tasted a NEIPA – do so. It will change everything you thought you knew about what IPAs taste like. You need not be dubbed a hophead to enjoy or even fall in love with this style. Take this from me – American IPAs are towards the tail end of my list of craft beer styles ordered by preference but I actually enjoy NEIPAs.
In fact I will be making a NEIPA screw driver cocktail for the blog soon! The juicy, citrus mouthfeel and perceived sweetness of the style make it perfect as a substitute for plain orange juice. It will be one heck of a strong craft beer cocktail. Where is the weekend?
Beer Styles to pair with Pineapple Sausage Bites
We urge you to go with a NEIPA with this appetizer. Delicious pairing, both Chris and I feel like it is the best. But you may also consider:
- tropical/citrus profile hopped IPAs and pale ales for aroma resonance (like the Tropical Torpedo we used in these IPA Mango Fritters)
- malty and crisp brews such as Vienna lager, Dunkel and Munich Helles for sweetness matching (pineapple) and palate cleansing carbonation (sausage fat)
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Pineapple Sausage Bites
Pineapple sausage bites glazed with NEIPA and brown sugar for a fragrant caramelization.
- 1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa
- 1 pineapple
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 cup IPA New England style IPA recommended
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cooking oil for greasing baking sheet
Slice the sausage into bite sized circles.
Clean and slice the pineapple into bite sized pieces to roughly match the size of the sausage bites.
Clean and cut the onion into small pieces.
Using toothpicks or small oven safe cocktail sticks assemble mini skewers with sausage at the bottom, onion in the middle and pineapple on top.
Turn the oven on to 350 - 375 F (depending on the strength of your oven).
In a small sauce pan bring the IPA to simmer and remove from the heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
Arrange the skewers sideways onto a grease baking sheet.
Glaze generously with IPA/brown sugar using a brush and place in the oven. After 10 minutes carefully flip the skewers and apply more glaze.
Bake for another 7-8 minutes, apply glaze again and broil for an extra 1-2 minutes for a better caramelization.
Arrange the cooked skewers onto a platter in upright position and serve.
If you do not want to use a beer glaze simply replace the beer with orange juice.
You can also add a fresh jalapeno round slice in between the pineapple and onion layers.