Today’s guest post comes to us from Kasey at Checkadvantage.com
Image courtesy of Hed64
Football season is here. You can almost taste it! And with football comes tailgating. With tailgating come grills covered in sizzling meat.
In the Midwestern U.S., one of the most popular, and tasty tailgating treats is the bratwurst – typically just called brats. No, not the annoying little kids who live next-door! I’m talking about the German sausage.
In Wisconsin, where I come from, we’ve become known for a specific type of bratwurst – the “beer brat.” You’re probably not surprised that folks in Wisconsin found a way to combine beer and sausages into one dish. But don’t knock it until you try it!
Making beer brats is extremely easy. However, a lot of the recipes you’ll find online don’t get it quite right. Even the Food Network’s explanation for grilling beer brats is a little off.
Whether you’re tailgating at a high school game or traveling to an NFL stadium, brats are a fun food for football fans. Here’s how we do it in Green Bay Packer Country!
Image courtesy of HigginsPlace
What You’ll Need:
- One dozen uncooked bratwursts
- About 48 oz of beer (at least enough to cover the brats)
- One large onion (sliced not diced)
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Optional (to taste) – Red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper
First, fire up your grill. I’m a pretty dedicated charcoal guy, but gas grills are fine too. You’ll want to cook the brats over a medium-high heat.
Put the beer, sliced onion, Worcestershire sauce and any additional spices you may want to add in a large pot. Bring to a boil while you are grilling your brats. A lot of recipes don’t include the Worcestershire. In my opinion – it’s the secret ingredient.
Here’s where most folks make a critical mistake. They parboil the brats in the beer and then cook them on the grill. You’ll get much juicier, more flavorful bratwurst if you do it in the reverse order. Grill then soak.
When you grill the brats, you don’t want to cook them all the way. Just brown them up (about 3 minutes on each side). You want them to cook the rest of the way in your beer mixture. But even if you accidentally burn the brats on the grill, you’ll find they plump back up nicely in the pot.
After you take the sausages off the grill, let them soak in the simmering beer, onions and spices for at least 30 minutes. I’d recommend an hour. But don’t leave them in there too long or the brats might become soft and as the casings disintegrate.
Lots of people like to use the cooked onions from the beer mixture on top of their brats. I’d also recommend dicing up raw onions and pickles.
Mustard is a must. Just choose your favorite. Sauerkraut is another popular topping, especially if you want a more authentic, German bratwurst.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find actual bratwurst buns. These are usually bigger and harder than hot dog buns. My personal preference is to use the regular hot dog buns – more brat, less bread.
Serve alongside other picnic foods like baked beans, pasta salad and potato chips.
Image courtesy of Jessie Pearl
Bonus Bratwurst Tips
If you live in the upper Midwest, you should be able to get bratwurst at your local grocery store’s deli. But most supermarkets will sell Johnsonville Brats – and that’s a pretty good brand.
For a spicy beer brat – try using Tabasco sauce instead of Worcestershire.
Sauerkraut can also go right in the beer mixture for a tangier tasting brat.
Choosing which beer to use adds another element to the brat-grilling experience. I’ve had some mouth-watering bratwurst made with cheap beer, but better beer could mean better-tasting brats. You’ll just have to experiment
Dark beers will give them a rich flavor, but you may not want to waste your expensive micro-brews. Your best choice might be a German wheat beer or malty amber.
Kasey Steinbrinck usually writes about consumer news and the U.S. economy for CheckAdvantage. The company manufactures checks in Wisconsin, not far from Lambeau Field, and offers helpful family finance tips on the CheckAdvantage Blog.