summertime grilling recipes

Summer is a great time to pack up and head to the nearest park for a day of fun, games, and family time. Today, I’m going to one of my favorite places – Harris Lake County Park in New Hill – for some serious fishing. There’s no shortage of summer grilling recipes available, so while I’m there I’m planning to make Grilled Vidalia Steaks with Sweet Italian Sausage.

This simple recipe can be partially prepared before you leave the house, saving you a few steps at the park. Kids love the sweet Italian sausages in a hot dog bun and grown ups love the sweet taste of the Vidalia onions after they have been roasted on the grill.

While cooking, make sure to protect our parks and keep a close eye on the grill. I always carry a jug of water just in case things get out of hand. When you’re finished, be sure to clean up so the next person that comes along can enjoy the space.

So, round up your ingredients and let’s start grilling!

Grilled Vidalia Onion Steaks with Sweet Italian Sausage


  • 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled, sliced ½ inch thick (if you can’t find Vidalia onions, a good white onion will work.)
  • 1 package sweet Italian sausages, 5 links
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 wooden skewers


Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Place charcoal in grill and light according to package directions. Place sausages on grill and cook until 160º internal temperature, turning as needed. Peel onions and slice into large slices about ½ inch thick. Carefully slide skewers into onion slices. Coat both sides of each slice with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place onion slices on grill. Add butter to each slice. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce.Grill onions until slightly transparent and tender. Serve warm, with sausages and enjoy. Makes 5 servings.

Step by Step Instructions

park grill

Many parks have grills available for cooking. Remember to be cautious and mindful of what’s around the grill and what might be flammable. Always keep a jug or two of water handy to prevent any problems.

cleaning the grill

Clean the grill before use. A piece of crumpled up aluminum foil works for sscrubbing. I use the same thing to remove buildup from old cast iron skillets.

grilled vidalia steaks with sweet italian sausage ingredients

These simple ingredients are all you’ll need for Grilled Vidalia Steaks with Sweet Italian Sausage.

cooking sausage on the grill

Follow the instructions on your bag of charcoal to get the coals started. Once they have ashed over, place the sausage links on the grill.
I’m using Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausages for this recipe. Since these are not pre-cooked, they will need to remain on the grill for 20-30 minutes on average to fully cook and reach an internal temperature of 160ºF. You’ll need to turn them a time or two in order to cook them evenly and to avoid burning the outside. Once they start cooking, go ahead and prep the onions.

cutting onion steaks

Begin making the Vidalia steaks by peeling and slicing the onions. Remove the thin outside layer of the onion and discard it. Use a sharp knife and carefully slice the onion into slices about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. (This step can also be done ahead of time.)

skewering the onions

Wooden skewers need to be soaked in water for about 30 minutes prior to inserting them into the onions. You can do this using the water jug you have along with you.
Carefully slide the skewer into the onion slice and push it all the way through.

olive oil on the onion

Run skewers through all the slices of onion that you’ll be grilling. You can trim off the excess if you have scissors or a knife, but it’s not required.
Drizzle a little olive oil onto each onion slice. Use a brush or your fingers to spread the oil evenly across the surface of the onion. Flip the slice over and repeat on the other side.

salt and pepper the onions

Sprinkle onions with salt and black pepper to taste.

grilling in the park

Be sure to keep an eye on the sausage and turn as needed.

park grilling

Once the sausages have cooked about halfway, lay the Vidalia steaks on the grill. Add a little butter to each side of each steak slice.

park grilling

Sprinkle a little Worcestershire sauce on each slice.

Let the Vidalia steaks cook until they are tender and slightly translucent. Use the skewer to gently lift them and make sure they aren't burning on the bottom. Flip them over about halfway through cooking and let them continue cooking until done.

Let the Vidalia steaks cook until they are tender and slightly translucent. Use the skewer to gently lift them and make sure they aren’t burning on the bottom. Flip them over about halfway through cooking and let them continue cooking until done.

park grilling

Use a meat thermometer to be sure the sausage links are cooked to 160ºF. These little pocket thermometers are used by chefs everywhere and only cost a couple of dollars to purchase.

park grilling

Serve the Vidalia steaks on a plate alongside the cooked sausages. You can also place a sausage link in a bun and top it with mustard and some of the sliced up Vidalia steaks. Makes a great sausage dog that everyone will love. Enjoy!


Steve Gordon is a writer, recipe tester, and lover of all things Southern. You can read more of his writing and step-by-step recipes at

This story was published on

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.