I didn’t have a bratwurst until my 30’s when a neighbor from Wisconsin asked if I would grill her some brats. Since I was just becoming familiar with what I now consider to be amazing sausages, I asked around for cooking advice and was told me to simmer them in beer first and finish on the grill. Worst. Advice. EVER.
Simmering or boiling brats BEFORE grilling is a sure way to zap their flavor. Instead, I like to do what I call a “brew vide” – a play on words referring to the French sous vide technique. I grill them first and then simmer in a seasoned mix of onions and beer. This is also known as a “brat tub”. The difference is by grilling them first, you concentrate the flavors inside the brat so when they’re in the brew vide, they absorb the seasoning without losing their existing flavor.
BRAT GRILLING TIPS
- Make sure grates are clean, preheated and lightly oiled
- Leave the brats at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before grilling
- Grill at medium heat, which is roughly 300-350°f
- Use the upper cooking grate if your grill can get too hot
- Try to avoid rupturing the sausage’s casing
- 1 1/4 pounds bratwurst sausages
- 2 12-ounce light beer, room temperature
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced into wedges
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste or 2 cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 5 hard rolls or hot dog buns
- Toppings of your choice
- Half size steam table pan
- Preheat charcoal grill to 300-350°f
- Place the onions, butter, roasted garlic (or minced garlic), beer, black pepper and a few pinches of salt to taste in the steam pan
- Place the brats on the grill and grill for 20 minutes, flipping and shifting them about every five minutes
- Place the steam pan on the grill and place the brats in the “brew vide” (steam pan), close the grill lid and cook for 20 minutes. Note: It should start simmering after five minutes or so, don't let it reach a full boil. If it starts to simmer rapidly, reduce the heat
- Remove pan from grill. Serve with buns and preferred toppings
Beer: It may be tempting to substitute a better beer for the typical light American light lager. However, I've personally found it to be a total waste of money considering the taste was rarely different and in the times it was, it actually tasted worse.