Yeah, I could have grabbed a package of Applegate or Hebrew National’s, a package of nondescript buns, and a bottle of yellow mustard for our camp trip and it would have been delicious. I’ve had those hotdogs over and over again. We all have. Well, most of us have anyway. There’s just something magical about the flavor combinations of smoke and char and fish sauce and lemongrass and fresh herbs, however, and so I decided to draw inspiration for these campfire hoagies from the beautiful Banh Mi sandwiches I love. The results: comforting, scrumptious, fresh and exciting. I swear, these sandwiches are so damn yummy!
Live fire, grill, roast, broil, or sauté. Just cook these up however you can, as you need them in your life! I picked up the soy scallion chicken sausages for this recipe from Martin’s located inside Reading Terminal Market in Philly. They have dozens of fresh, locally produced, preservative free sausages to choose from, and, if you stop by, grab a number and settle in for a bit of a wait. Their product is that phenomenal. But, grab whichever sausages you prefer, as long as the flavor complements the other listed ingredients.
Oh, and these leftover sausages tasted even better than the night of! So, go ahead and cook up a few extra.
4 soy scallion chicken sausages
4 hoagie buns
2 sprigs fresh Thai (Holy) basil
2 sprigs fresh mint
5 – 10 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/4 cup carrot, spiralized or thinly sliced
Nuoc Cham pickles, recipe follows
2 tablespoons lemongrass ginger mayo, recipe follows
2 – 4 lime wedges
For the Pickles: you will need 1 cuke, 1 lime, 2 – 4 tsp maple syrup, 1 – 2 tsp fish sauce, about 1 cup of water, and 1 Thai Bird or dried chile de arbol (heat of course is optional, although I never skip it). Combine the juice from one lime with a little maple syrup at a time until a nice limeade flavor is developed. Add in the water and chili then slowly add a small amount of fish sauce at a time (especially if you’ve never cooked with it before) until the sauce is a umami powerhouse of sweet and sour. Here’s a video by Andrea Nguyen I used when first learning how to make this delightful sauce at home and I highly recommend it. Nuoc Cham How-To Video. If you’ve never had Nuoc Cham, then head to your local Vietnamese restaurant, order a couple Summer Rolls and dive in so you’ll know exactly the flavor your going for at home. Once your sauce is finished, cut the cuke into sandwich pickle slices and add them and the Nuoc Cham to a storage container with a lid. Store in the fridge until you are ready to build the hoagies.
For the Mayo: you will need 1 lemongrass stalk, 1″ piece of peeled ginger root, and 1/4 cup mayo. Trim the lemongrass stalk, remove several layers of the tough outer stalk, then very finely chop the remaining lemongrass. Mince the ginger root. Combine the lemongrass, ginger, and mayo. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to a storage container with a lid. Store in the fridge until you are ready to build your hoagies.
Prep the herbs. Wash all the herbs, remove the mint and Thai basil from the stems, discard the stems. Only discard the cilantro stems, if you must, as they are edible. Leave the herb leaves whole or chop them to your preferred size. Set aside.
Build a live fire, setting enough logs aside for about 30 – 45 min of cook time and up to one hour depending on your flames. Generously coat the sausages in a neutral oil, place in a cast iron skillet, and cook over direct flame, rotating as required, until the sausages are golden brown on all sides and an internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees.
Meanwhile, gently toast the hoagie buns. Once toasted, slather the inside of the buns with a generous amount of the lemongrass ginger mayo. Layer on next the carrots, pickles, and herbs. Top with the cooked sausages, squeeze a generous amount of fresh lime over top, and serve immediately.