Beer Brats and Butter Kraut

We had a conversation about beer brats today at work. It appears that there are several different schools of thought on how to cook these. In our little group there was some debate over whether you should puncture the skins or not. Some say the holes invite flavor in, others say they let flavor out and lead to flare ups on the grill.  I hit the internet looking for more answers and found there are more and more styles.  I cobbled this recipe together from a few different ones and tried to compile a list of the best of the best tips, secrets, etc.

In honor of my grandfather I also added a recipe for butter kraut below.


4 (12 ounce) cans beer

1 large onion, diced

10 bratwurst

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. When hot, lightly oil grate.

2. Combine the beer and onions in a large pot; bring to a boil. Submerge the bratwurst in the beer; add the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bratwurst from the beer mixture; reduce heat to low, and continue cooking the onions.

3. One important point – don’t ever boil bratwurst! You may see recipes that call for parboiling or boiling. What they mean to (or ought to) say is simmered in beer or water, usually with chopped onion added. Simmering means bringing the liquid to the temperature at which steam rises from the surface, but not so hot that it bubbles. Boiling will cause the casings to burst.

4. Now when the sausages are done move them over to the grill. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE BEER YET! At this point you are just trying to brown the sausage to your liking. When the sausages are done go ahead and eat (I recommend using potato rolls for the hot dog buns). The leftover beer is perfect for keeping the sausages warm. Just place the sausages in the beer over low heat. In fact the best way is to put the beer pot on the top rack of the grill. Enjoy!

5. Cook the bratwurst on the preheated grill, turning once, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with the beer mixture as a topping or side.

Buttered Kraut:

1 (16-ounce) package sauerkraut, drained

1/2 (12-ounce) bottle beer

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

Place sauerkraut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (this can also be done in a saucepan on the grill while grilling the brats). Add beer and cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add butter, cook, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and absorbs into the kraut, about 5 to 10 minutes.

All Kinds of Brat tips:

One comment

  1. J. Wagner · · Reply

    I love brats but my method is opposite what most people tell you to do. But, it was the way my father did them. First, I brown the brats on the grill. I’ll also poke the casings during this process (if they don’t split naturally). Flare-ups are an issue but if you’re diligent you can deal with them with a spray bottle.

    Then, I slice an onion and saute it in some butter and cracked black pepper. Once the onions are translucent, I add the and bring to a boil. When the brats are done, I add them to the beer/onion mixture and bring to a simmer. They can sit there for as long as you need them. I find the longer they simmer the better they are.

    And, yes, most Wisconsinites consider me a heretic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s