It's officially grilling season, which means bring on the burgers, ribs, hot dogs, chicken, veggies and — of course — bratwurst. Sure, you can just throw the sausages on the grill and eat them on a bun with some mustard. But if you really want to up your brat game, you need to try braising your sausages in beer after they've been grilled. Here's how — and why — it works.
The first step is to grill the brats. This browns them, seals in the moisture and gives them that great seared flavor. If you don't have a grill you can do this step in a very hot cast iron pan or grill pan instead.
Next, you'll simmer some apple and onion in a skillet before adding in beer. This results in a super flavorful braising liquid for your bratwurst. If braising sounds fancy, don't fear! It's actually a simple technique in which you cook your ingredients in a covered pan with a bit of liquid. This allows the liquid to infuse the ingredients with both flavor and moisture.
So once you've added the brats to the beer-apple-onion mixture, all you have to do is cover the pan and let it all simmer for about 15 minutes. You'll know it's done when the sausage is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, leaving behind a delicious apple-onion concentrate that makes the perfect topping for your franks.
Served with saeurkraut and mustard, the grilled and braised brats make the perfect weeknight meal that is quick and easy yet feels more special than just eating charred sausage in a bun. Quick pickled onions would make an awesome pairing as well; see below for a video how-to from The Daily Meal's YouTube channel. And to make it a complete meal, serve the brats with a no-cook side dish for summer.
This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.
Step 1: Put 5 bratwurst into a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Set heat to medium. Cook, turning sausages, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, grill the sausages over medium heat, turning often, until golden on all sides.) Set sausages aside on a plate.
Step 2: Set the skillet over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter, thinly-sliced large white onion and small diced apple. Cook and stir until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup beer. Heat to a simmer; add the bratwurst. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sausages are cooked through and liquid has nearly evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Meanwhile, rinse and drain sauerkraut well. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in small saucepan; add drained sauerkraut. Cook and stir to heat through, about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Split the buns; pile with the sausage and onion mixture. Serve with the mustard and warmed sauerkraut.