You’d think cooking brats would be pretty easy right? Well, it is once you know how to cook brats like a pro. I’m thrilled to be partnering with our sponsor, Spartan Nash* to share with you the best way to cook the most incredible, tasty, juicy brats.
Being someone who was born and raised on the East Coast, I didn’t really think a whole lot about brats (that’s short for bratwurst, not a reference to annoying, naughty kids!). Hot dogs and hamburgers were the usual picnic or cookout meats and it wasn’t until I met my native-to-Wisconsin husband that I was really introduced to brats. Not having grown up around them, I really didn’t know a lot about cooking brats and am embarrassed to say I messed up my fair share of brats before learning the right way to prepare them.
Luckily, Jay is a total grill master and educated me quickly on how to cook the best brats ever.
The first time I attempted to cook brats myself, I threw them in a pan on the stove. I wish I had taken a picture of Jay’s face when he walked into the kitchen and saw that. You would have thought I had committed a crime. (Well, around here, that actually IS considered a crime!) Jay’s first rule of cooking brats is that brats should ALWAYS end up on the grill!
But there’s more to cooking great brats than just throwing a few onto a hot grill. It matters what you start out with. It matters A LOT!!
Our first rule is that you need to start off with fresh brats, not precooked ones. The difference in flavor is remarkable in my opinion! For this demonstration, we are starting with Open Acres Premium Craft Beer Brats (All Day IPA Session Ale to be specific). Now, the first time I ever cooked fresh brats, I just tossed them on the grill. You don’t ever want to do this because getting them fully cooked in the middle without blackening the outside is a challenge. The casing also split and let out all the juicy goodness which caused a huge flare on the grill. It wasn’t pretty!
The trick to avoiding this disaster is to boil the brats before putting them on the grill. Some people boil them in water, which you absolutely can, but you’d be missing the opportunity to add some amazing flavor. Personally, I love boiling them in beer with onions, garlic and maybe some seasonings thrown in. Since these brats were Open Acres Founders All Day IPA Brats, I chose an IPA beer to boil them in.
You’ll know the brats are fully cooked when they turn from a pink color to a grayish color.
Now it’s time to grill the brats. The trick is to grill them over medium to medium-low heat. People are always tempted to turn the grill onto high, but with all the dripping that goes on, you’ll be getting a good charring effect even with them on medium and it’s easier to control so they don’t burn.
Grill the brats until they have your desired amount of blackening on them and then serve on a brat bun. I love brat buns because regular hot dog buns can be a bit small for a big, juicy brat! I love just plain ketchup and mustard on mine (and sauerkraut if it’s available) but Our Family brand has a variety of fun sauces, marinades and seasonings you can use to find your perfect combination.
*Spartan Nash is a value-added wholesale grocery distributor — supplying more than 2,100 independent grocery retail locations throughout the United States — as well as a grocery retailer, with more than 135 corporate supermarkets in eight states. Spartan Nash’s brands include Our Family, Open Acres, Good to Go! Nash’s Coffee, Culinary Tours, Full Circle Market, PAWS Happy Life, Pure Harmony, Stoked, That’s Smart! Tippy Toes, TopCare
You can find Spartan Nash brands at these fine stores: