I can remember going to a grocery store in Missouri about 15 – 20 years ago and asking where their brats were. The grocery person thought I was crazy, they hadn’t heard of brats before. Many years ago brats were a regional food that weren’t readily available throughout other states. We live in an area where many Germans settled, so brats, like Friday Night Fish Fry’s and beer gardens, have been part of our culture.
Long story short, the “Brat Council” must have hired a new marketing manager because now you can pretty much go anywhere in the United States and get a brat. Luckily for you I have a tried and true recipe for making brats that I’m willing to share with you.
Let’s start with the definition of bratwurst: a small sausage of highly seasoned fresh pork usually served fried. I’ve never seen a brat fried, but who can argue with the dictionary? The best way to cook brats is to par boil them and grill them. You can eat them just boiled, but that’s pretty gross. You can eat them just grilled but then you’ll be eating a small blackened sausage of highly seasoned fresh pork or a semi-raw sausage that may give you worms (isn’t that what your mother always said about eating raw sausage?). Par boiling and then grilling is the way to go.
The next thing I’m going to say is I hate beer. This may seem a little random but it’s important to note because beer is my main ingredient. If you have a strong aversion to alcohol, I wouldn’t use my method. However, between boiling of the beer and then cooking it over a flame the majority of the alcohol is burned off. While we don’t typically drink in our family I don’t feel like there is enough alcohol left to be concerned about serving it to my kids. I haven’t tried it before but I would assume that an alcohol free beer would work also.
The most important thing when cooking brats is to start with a brat you love. If you don’t have a favorite or know where to start I would recommend Johnsonville Beer Brats, those are our personal favorites. Sometimes a butcher will have yummy brats, but since they tend to be their own recipes I’ve found those to be hit or miss. We stick with Johnsonville since they are tried and true.
1 can of beer
1 small onion (quartered is fine)
6 brat buns (not hot dog buns, brat buns)
Condiments of your choice (sauerkraut, onions, ketchup, mustard, brat sauce, etc)
In a sauce pan, add your thawed brats (this is very important, it is possible to start with frozen brats but they don’t seem to be as flavorful), beer and cut up onion. Bring beer to boil, typically the brats aren’t completed covered by the beer so you’ll want to turn them about half way through to fully cook them. You’ll know the brats are done because they’ll turn a pale, whitish color. You don’t want to overcook them as this will toughen them up. You also don’t want to pierce the brat since it will lose a lot of it’s juiciness.
Move brats to heated grill over medium flame, turning several times. It typically takes us about 5 minutes to get our brats to the perfect grilled level.
There are many different ways to top your brat. The typical toppings would be sauerkraut, raw onions, ketchup or mustard. My husband discovered a brat sauce called Old Man Charley’s that he absolutely loves. During the summer months when we have brats weekly I can hardly keep it in stock.
That’s the Wonder Woman I’m Not way of grilling a brat. Do you have any special brat tricks? I’d love to hear them.