I’ve outlined our family’s method for cooking up a proper Bratwurst, with our favorite accoutrement. Great brats are one part technique and one part excellent ingredients, so get the best you can find. Prost!
You will need:
- Bratwurst – I reccommend Kern’s (they ship) but source out your local favorite, or Johnsonville will do in a pinch
- Buns – If you can find them, buy large sausage-style buns. Otherwise, just a nice hot dog bun from your grocer’s bakery will do.
- Sauerkraut – I like Bush’s Bavarian Style Sauerkraut with Caraway seeds, but that can be hard to find. The refrigerated varieties of kraut, like Krrrrisp Kraut can be good too. If you like the flavor of caraway, you can always add it to the kraut (see below). Get at least 1/4 cup per brat, plus plenty extra for simmering with the brats.
- Mustard - Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard is the ultimate brat schmear, and widely available. This is worth an extra trip to the store.
- Beer – Enough to cover and simmer the brats. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I used Miller High Life and saved the good stuff for drinking.
- Button Mushrooms, sliced
- Sweet onion, sliced. The mushroom and onion mixture should amount to about 1/4 cup per brat, so determine amounts accordingly.
Fire up the grill and preheat to a medium-high flame. Place brats in a pan large enough to hold however many you’re cooking on stovetop. Add enough beer to cover, along with a hefty scoop (or 2) of sauerkraut. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. To keep the brats nice and juicy do not overcook and do not pierce the sausage casings. Remove the brats from the beer after 8 minutes and set aside until ready to grill.
In a large skillet melt a dollop of butter over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the onions and mushrooms. They should sizzle loudly. You want to get some brown on them, so be sure your pan is nice and hot, and don’t overcrowd the pan. If you’re cooking a large quantity, work in batches. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Place sauerkraut in a saucepan with a lid. If you like, add caraway seeds to your kraut and bring to a low simmer. Let kraut rest on the back burner, over low heat, until you’re ready to serve the brats.
Place beer-simmered bratwurst on pre-heated medium-high grill, rotating occasionally until nice and crispy brown in spots, about 5 – 7 minutes. When brats are nearly done, open the buns and toast the inside about 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until toasty brown in spots.
Stuff the brats into buns, and serve with mustard, warmed sauerkraut, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and your favorite German beer. Mine is Franziskaner Weissbier, but they’ve only been making beer since 1363 so what do they know?