SausageFest 2009 had a large number of competition entries, and a great turnout of guests. We knew this at the start because we used Evite to manage the invitations and RSVPs this year. What a great tool! If you are planning an event with more than a few guests, Evite is a great resource. It really helped the crew prep properly this year...and prep they did!
The various grills (gas, charcoal) were cleaned and ready to go by mid-morning. Last minute items (extra gas canisters, ice, entry forms, etc...) were all checked off the to-do list by noon.
As we all know, folks love to congregate in the kitchen. From past experience, we also knew that everyone loves to help if there are things for them to do. So we laid out the arrangements for the sauage entries early, strategically placed items to help lessen the kitchen congestion, and made sure the "flow" around the food table was not impeded in any way.
The grills were lit and the "house" sausages from the Buffalo Guys were sizzling by 3PM. Guests bearing sausages (and pies, beer, Turkish stuff in containers, etc...) started arriving around 3:30. SausageFest was in full swing by 4PM. All in all, over a dozen different entries for the categories ( Most Exotic, Vegetarian, Homemade--by butcher, Crowd-Pleaser).
What happened after 4PM was kind of a blur but it appears that we all managed to eat ourselves into a nice meat-coma (unless you were the few who doesn't eat meat). Some of the more exotic entries were: Artichoke & Parmesan Chicken sausage; Chipotle, Honey & Lime Chicken sausage; Spicy Mango & Jalepeno Chicken Sausage; Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages. Apparently chicken is the base meat of choice for exotic sausages.
Another "exotic" thing at the party were the babies. We are not sure how, but they presented valid invitations so we had to let them in. The babies (Michael, Ella) were clearly a hit and often over-shadowed the sausages. There were reports of Ella munching on an apple-chicken sausage, but we do not have photo-confirmation of such. However, she did kindly posed for this shot with Yoncha and Franchesca.
The voting got a bit complicated with all the excellent entries, but in the end we were able to sort everything out. We have to give a special mention to one of the participants. Erica (a first time SausageFest participant) brought a spicy homemade dipping sauce which, had it been officially entered with any of her entries, would definitely have taken a categorie. Erica's beer-marinated entries were good, but the sauce was simply amazing.
We would like to thank all of our guests for helping us put together a truly spectacular collection of sausages. The competition was keen this year. We would also like to note that while it was great to sample the tasty chicken entries, it was Adam and Carron's "Hot Italian" which took home the Crowd Pleaser title. What was even cooler was that the sausages were locally-made from Tony's Market in Roslindale! We are going to have to go check out Tony's Market and see what other "winners" they have in the shop. [Permalink] - SausageFest 2009
BTW, here is a link to the requested recipe for the Chickpea, Chilli, and Coriander Salad.