Beer bathed bratwurst (beer brats) are a staple in some parts of the country and virtually unknown in others. I think this is a great first recipe to share as it’s simple and has been a hit every time with both people who have eaten brats their whole lives and those who are being introduced to them for the first time.
The most important piece of this recipe is to get the correct bratwurst. You want Johnsonville uncooked (usually in the meat section near the hamburger) original bratwurst. I’ve tried other brands in the past and trust me, Johnsonville is where it’s at. Here are the items you will need:
- Beer (3 pints or 4 12 oz. bottles or cans… brand is entirely up to you)
- 1 large onion (as big as you can get your hands on) diced
- 10 Johnsonville bratwurst (did I mention it should be Johnsonville if you’re going to do it right?)
- Crushed red pepper
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- 4 Tbs (or 1/2 of a stick) of butter
The first thing I always do is get my grill ready. A common mistake for grillers is to cook on it before it’s ready. For charcoal users, light the coals and then let them burn down and get hot. You want to cook over heat, not fire! For gas grillers, turn the grill on and let it come to temperature (usually 20-30 minutes) so that your meat cooks and not just over the flame… you want to keep your juices and flavor in your meats!
The next step is to get the seasonings together. I feel strongly that seasonings should be to taste but here’s some approximate starting points (note: I like to bring a bit of heat, so you may want less crushed red pepper if you don’t like a bit of spice in your food): 2 Tbs crushed red pepper, 1 Tbs each of garlic powder and salt and 1/2 Tbs of black pepper.
The next step is to bring the beer, butter, and onion to a boil in a large pot (make sure it is good size as you’re going to be adding 10 good size bratwurst into the pot):
Next add the brats and the seasonings to the mix and simmer on medium to medium-high for 12 minutes.
Once the brats have been in the bath for 12 minutes, it’s time to get them over to our medium-high grill. Put the brats on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on heat of the grill). Do not keep flipping your brats from side to side as this will not allow for even cooking. Put them on the grill and leave them alone. When they’re halfway done… flip them and leave them until they’re done!
While the brats are on the grill, leave the onions cooking in the beer mixture over medium low as this will make a great topping for the brats once they are done. The onions simmering with the beer and seasonings (particularly the red pepper flakes) will add some good heat and flavor… the red pepper infused into them will really build heat with each bite.
If done properly, you should end up with something like this:
It’s been a fun journey and now you’re ready to eat. Use toppings of your choice. While hot dog buns are acceptable, check with your local bread monger to see if they carry actual brat rolls as they are ideal. If you try these… please come back and leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Happy cooking, and enjoy eating!