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Jun 16, 2007 05:03 PM

Bratwurst? [Moved from Midwest Board]

Okay, you Sheboyganites (or anyone else), this sausage-lovin' San Franciscan wants to know two things:
-best (or favorite) brand of brat
-best (or favorite) way to cook and serve

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  1. I buy my bratwurst locally (Cleveland area) but the cooking method is pretty standard for Brats.

    I simmer them in a shallow pan of lager beer with 1 large onion that has been sliced length wise and caramelized. When they are fully cooked, I grill them over charcoal, about 5 minutes per side.

    I serve them on a toasted hoagie roll with sauerkraut and aforementioned onions and plenty of brown mustard.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      I used to be a fan of simmering the brats in a mixture of beer, onion, and sauerkraut juice.

      Now I cook them from the raw state, basting the brats with a mixture of beer, and melted butter. As the brats get close to being done, and to prevent them from burning I move them to a cooler part of the grill(charcoal of course) and close the top, and let the brats finsh slowly while continuing to baste them.

      I use Johnsonveille Brats, and love them.

      My favorite is a double brat sandwich on a brat bun...

      For anyone interested Sheboygan Brat Days is just around the corner, Aug 2nd - 4th. I had a great time last year, and have the hotel room booked for this year.

      1. re: swsidejim

        Hey swsidejim, have I got a treat for you. The Wurst Kitchen in Aurora makes absolutely delicious brats.
        A couple of years ago or so they opened Black Forest Cafe in Plano and sell their sausages there too, so you can take them home & cook 'em up. Pretty sure you're close to Plano, right? If you haven't had them yet please give them a try, they are wonderful.

        1. re: xena

          Thanks for the tips, I will give them a try.

          I am pretty close to Plano, I live in Marseilles(out by Ottawa)

          1. re: swsidejim

            Oops, not sure I was very clear. Black Forest Cafe is owned by the Wurst Kitchen folks. Same sausages both places. They make them in Aurora and sell them at both locs. WK has been around forever, BF Cafe is newer. After reading my post I realized it sounded like I was referring to two different brats. Sorry about that.

            Hope you like them!

    2. The arguments on the best way to cook these can rival the 'best hot dog' or 'best pizza' arguments on the Chicago board. I used to do what Kelli does, but was convinced to reserve the method by a friend here in Milw.. You used the same mixture of beer and onion (and whatever secret spices, additions) but grill them first and then allow to cook fully in a simmering pot of the mixture. Either way, you're making sure they are fully cooked, but I really like this method now. It works great for big parties, where you can grill ahead of time, and use a Nesco or the like to transport and serve. And I think the flavor is better.

      One addition to the mixture I've heard is butter...... Not low fat, but pretty good.

      1. Johnsonville brats are very reliably good and pretty widely available here in the midwest. I concur on cooking them through in liquid first, beer and oinion if you like, water works, personally I don't think the poaching liquid adds that much. There is also a controversy about whether you should pierce the brats with a fork first so some of the fat will render out during cooking, or not piercing and leave the fat contained in the casing for a "juicier" brat. We pierce em, there is plenty of fat. Grilling adds a wonderful flavor, although you can brown them in the pan with a little butter or fat after draining the cooking liquid. About half the family likes the simmered brat split lengthwise and browned that way on the grill that way. Toast your buns on the grill too. Franks' Bavarian Sour Kraut in a can with caraway seeds which is sweeter and not so acidic as most kraut makes a wonderful condiment along with the mandatory mustard, I like dijon style. When feeding a crowd with brats you cook in advance, then keeping them warm in a crockpot with some beer, onions etc makes some sense. Ketchup is just wrong, IMHO. Hope this helps.

        1. I don't have a favorite brand of brat, but I have been working on a cooking process. I toss half an onion (chopped into thing rings), 2 bottles of darker beer. (don't want a heavy stout but also not a lager. i've used Schell's Dark and a german beer the name of which is eluding me right now) and a half stick of butter. Bring to a boil, turn down and pre-cook brats in the bath. then 3-5 minutes a side on the grill.
          This is standard. However, the brats can be improved. Good sauerkraut can vastly improve the brats. Before you start the bath, s;lice 1.5 onions in half and cut into things rings. In a cast iron skillet, caramelize the onions in a 1/2 stick of butter. When they are turning nicely brown add 1/2Tbs to 1 Tbs each of yellow mustard seeds, brown mustard seeds and caraway . Cook until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add a bayleaf or two and 5-10 allspice seeds. Grind in some black pepper. At this point drain a bag of refrigerated kraut and add to onions and seeds. Add another bottle of dark beer. At this point, turn on your bath. As you put the brats on the grill, put the kraut pan on the cooler side, and add the beer bath. when the Brats are cooked toss them back in the skillet and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. It will be at its best when most of the liquid is cooked away. The brats will be amazing and so will the kraut- good comingled flavors. Fresh Kolbasi is nice as well prepared this way. I am new to Minnesota but was told by an old MN brat eater that it was best brat he ever had.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kolgrim

            I'm drooling on my keyboard. Sounds like you put some time and effort into coming up with this method. Much appreciated!

            1. For my money, these are the brats that the Sausage Gods had in mind when they first thought of bratwurst:


              2 Replies
              1. re: Fydeaux

                I count 11 types! What are your favs?

                1. re: kandagawa

                  The smoked and the coarse ground are my favourites, but none of them are less than first class. There's nothing particularly 'Cajun' about the Cajun brats, but they're still pretty good too.