As a born and bred Milwaukee girl, I practically came into the world with a bratwurst in my hand. Ok, maybe that is a little extreme, but I have had enough brats in my life to know how to prepare them the right way. In my opinion, any tailgate or summer BBQ is incomplete without the perfect brat. That is why I am always rooting for the bratwurst in the Miller Park sausage races!
In order to truly cook a brat the right way, you need to follow a few simple steps, 2 of which involve beer.
You can purchase bratwursts either precooked or raw. Depending on how much time you have and what you are preparing them for, either will be equally delicious. If you purchase precooked brats, you can skip the step of boiling them. But boiling raw brats keeps them juicy and cooks them through so you are just crisping them up on the grill.
How to boil raw brats in beer
In a large pasta pot, put equal parts beer and water. I usually start with 2 cans of beer and 2 cans of water and then add more if necessary.
Pierce your raw brats a couple times with a fork and place them in the beer/water mixture and continue to add water and beer until they are covered in liquid.
Turn on high heat and allow beer/water mixture to come to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20-30 minutes or until brats are cooked through. Warning: your house will smell like boiled beer and you might see a strange foam form on the surface of the pot. This is normal…and all part of the fun!
Remove brats from beer and pat dry.
Now, you can grill the brats right away or place them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours to grill at another time.
Grilling the brats
Place precooked or packaged brats directly on a medium high grill, and cook, turning frequently. When brats are brown all over and warmed through, they are done. Keep in mind they are already fully cooked, so you are just browning them and giving them a grilled flavor.
Now, if you eat your bratwurst immediately after grilling, it will be delicious and cooked to perfection. However, we Wisconsinites like to take it one step further and put our brats in something called a beer bath. Sounds interesting? It is, and it’s unbelievably delicious.
Brats in a Beer Bath
Fully cooked, grilled bratwursts
3 cans of beer
1 large onion, sliced into rounds
pam nonstick cooking spray
1 stick of butter
A beer bath can be prepared in a large pot on the stove top or on the grill in a large aluminum drip pan. It will depend on where you want the brats and if you have access to a stove.
Only fully cooked brats should be put in a beer bath. Doing this will simply keep them warm and give them additional flavor.
Mist the sliced onions with pam and grill them over medium heat until they show grill marks and are partially cooked.
Place the beer, butter and grilled onions into your pot or pan and heat over medium heat until warm, but not boiling. Place the cooked brats into the beer mixture and simmer for 30 mins – 1 hour either on the stove or on the grill.
Serve on kaiser rolls with whatever condiments you prefer. A true bratwurst is served with mustard and sauerkraut, but I prefer mine with some plain old ketchup!