How To Cook Bratwurst Perfectly And Some Recipes To Try
I’ve already mentioned how my boys love Italian sausage, but if you think that that prevents us from occasionally enjoying the German take on this amazing dish, you couldn’t be more wrong.
In fact, bratwurst causes just as much mouthwatering in my home as delicious Italian sausages prepared in the oven, if not more. The distinct advantage of the German version of sausages is that it is of course far more traditional and authentic.
In fact, a bratwurst researcher (yes, you’ve read it well), Heinrich Höllerl has traced the origin of this sausage all the way to the Celtic tribes in the era of ancient Rome.
A document (1432) found in Weimar showed just how serious do Germans take their sausages. It obliged sausage producers to use only the purest, unspoiled meat, and fines for those who don’t’ comply.
There are more than 40 different varieties of the famous German sausage. Bratwurst ingredients vary depending on the region.
What makes German sausage different from Italian, bangers, and hot dogs is the high-quality pork (sometimes even veal and beef), but also the mixture of various seasonings, such as ginger, nutmeg, coriander, and caraway.
There are many different ways to prepare bratwurst (from frying on butter and onion to cooking in microwave). Personally, I prefer the bratwurst recipe my family enjoys the most: Beer-simmered bratwurst.
And truly, the marriage of German beer and brats is the most natural of all, and therefore, the most delicious. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.
How to Prepare Beer-simmered Bratwurst
- This recipe includes eight servings so you will need 3 pounds of bratwurst.
- Since there are many different bratwursts on the market, you will have to choose the one that suits you the best. The varieties are different in thickness, coloring, length and flavor.
- Some of the most well-known types are Nurnberger bratwurst, Fränkische bratwurst, Bavarian bratwurst, Rote wurst and Thüringer Rostbratwurst. I prefer the spice rote wurst.
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- You will need three large unpeeled onions. Chop them roughly to large slices, so they don't lose their flavor and texture.
- The onion will not only make the meal juicer, but it will also be a nice addition to the plate on its own.
- The pungent aroma and sharp, spicy flavor of fresh ginger can serve as a substitute for pepper which is commonly used when preparing sausages. One piece of fresh ginger will be enough on this amount of sausages.
- What makes this recipe perfect is the mixture of seeds: caraway, coriander, and mustard (1 tablespoon of each).
- Caraway enriches the meal with a bitter taste; coriander adds the lemony aroma and mustard treats your plate with spicy rustic taste and fragrance.
- The best beer for brats is, of course, from the same country, but if you can’t find or afford German beer, you can try with any other light ale (6 cups).
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- The choice of oil is entirely up to you, but, after trying several different options, I have decided to stick to canola oil (2 tablespoons).
Must Read: Is Canola Oil The Same As Vegetable Oil?
Equipment And Kitchen Appliances
- You will need a pot to mix up and boil all the ingredients. Since there are a lot of vegetables, sausages, and liquids, it would be better to opt for a large pot, to avoid boiling over.
- It will be useful for stirring the ingredients in the pot, and if you choose a wooden one, you can put it on top of the pan to prevent it from boiling over.
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- Knife is an essential kitchen tool. In this case, you’ll use it for chopping onion and ginger.
- It is the most efficient tool for pricking the brats and thus enabling more even cooking. You can even use chopsticks!
- The taste is pretty much similar, but the experience is the best with an outdoor grill.
- Prepare the Onion, Garlic, and Ginger
- Combine the Beer and the Rest of the Ingredients
- Simmer the Sausages
- Let It Sit
If I told you that total time of preparing this meal is 50 minutes, you would probably give up before you even try.
The truth is that you spend about 5 minutes actively working on preparation, while the rest of the time you're just waiting.
1. Prepare the Onion, Garlic, and Ginger
- Chop three large unpeeled onions in big chunks. Put them aside and peel and chop one 3-inch piece ginger. As for the garlic, you don't need to chop it into tiny pieces. Just smash two whole cloves to get the most of its flavor.
2. Combine the Beer and the Rest of the Ingredients
- Pour the beer and all the other ingredients into a large pot. Before you add the sausages, mix everything well.
3. Simmer the Sausages
- Put the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Boil brats in beer before grilling for about five minutes, until they’re half cooked.
4. Let It Sit
- Remove the pot from the stove, and leave the brats to sit in the liquid for about half hour. This way, they will absorb the precious aromas and be more delicious after grilling.
- Preheat the grill. Before grilling brats, put them in the platter and strain the liquid into a bowl. You can discard the solids, or leave them for a sauce.
- Brush the bratwursts with canola oil, put the brats on the grill and leave until crisp and golden brown (4 to 6 minutes for each side is usually enough).
Additional Tips and Tricks
- Knowing how long to boil brats in beer requires either an excellent eye or a thermometer (I place more fate in the latter one). The internal temperature of the sausage should be about 160 °F (71 °C).
- If you are planning to bake brats in the countertop convection oven or a grill in a pan after, more than 5 minutes would mean overcooking.
- Serve with mashed potato, in a bread roll, or with sauerkraut.
Other Recipes for Bratwurst to Try
There are hundreds of ways to prepare bratwurst, and even I haven't tried them all out.
Here are some suggestions that merely scratch the surface of the many delicious meals that can be prepared with this gourmet ingredient:
Bratwurst & Cabbage Pockets – by Johnsonville
- Johnsonville brats are stuffed with pork which makes their taste a perfect match for cabbage. Packed in these little pockets, bratwursts become ideal snacks for watching a game or a favorite TV show with the entire family.
Cheddar Fondue with Bratwurst Sausages – by Chef Michael Moore
- A modern take on this traditional ingredient is just what you need when you invite some fancy friends over after a theater play.
Sautéed Bratwurst with Broccoli Rabe – by Chowhound
Homemade Bratwurst – by Food.com
- Learn how to prepare meals with bratwurst, and your family will adore you. Find out how to make brats, and you’ll be a god to them (trust me on this). There are many homemade bratwurst recipes, but I find that this one has the perfect dose of both simplicity and great taste.
Let’s Make Some Bratwurst!
As you see, preparing bratwurst is easy as much as it is rewarding.
With so many different variations, from regional bratwurst recipes to modern experimental dishes, you won’t have to prepare the same meal twice – that is unless your family falls in love with one way of preparation, as it happened to my own with beer-simmered variation.
Try some of them out, and let me know how it came out! 🙂