Pan Grilled Bratwurst and Sauerkraut



Choucroute Garnie is one of my all time favorite meals. I thought I liked sauerkraut until I had it at Brasserie Flo. That's where I found out sauerkraut could be amazing.

Last fall I fermented and canned my own sauerkraut, trying to duplicate that wonderful choucroute. My batch of homemade sauerkraut was good, but not as good as Brasserie Flo; I need to try again this year.

The homemade sauerkraut experiment left me with a surplus. Now, I love it, but my family…not so much.
*The kids are sure sauerkraut is a trick, one of dad's weird jokes. I mean, sour is right there in the name, and I expect them to eat it? Riiight. Sure thing, dad.

I've been using the kraut up over the course of the last year, and this is my favorite recipe. I combine the basics of choucroute garnie with pan grilled brats, giving me a quick version of my beloved meal.

First, the brats and kraut steam together in a foil-covered pan on the grill, sharing their flavors. Then the foil is removed. The brats are grilled over the open flames while the kraut boils in the uncovered pan, steaming off any excess liquid.

Looking for a weeknight dinner on the grill with great bratwurst and great sauerkraut? Give pan grilling a try.

Recipe: Pan Grilled Bratwurst and Sauerkraut


Inspired by: Grilled Sausages with Peppers and Onions, Cooks Illustrated Magazine, July 2008

Cook time: 30 minutes

Equipment:

My homemade sauerkraut. I'm so proud of myself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 bratwurst (one 19oz package of brats)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or beer)
  • bratwurst buns
  • Spicy brown mustard (optional…but not in my opinion)

Directions:

1. Prepare the pan:
Toss the onions, apples, sauerkraut, and juniper berries in the grill pan. Drizzle with the oil and toss again to coat, then spread into an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Put the brats on top of the peppers and onions, then pour the wine over everything. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and crimp the edges shut.

2. Prepare the grill:
Set the grill up for cooking on direct medium heat. For my Weber Summit, I preheat the grill for 15 minutes with all burners on high, scrape the grates clean with my grill brush, then turn all the burners down to medium.

3. Steam the brat pan:
Put the sealed pan on the grill over direct medium heat. Cook with the lid closed for 20 minutes.

4. Grill the brats, simmer the sauerkraut:
Remove the foil from the pan, and leave the pan over medium heat. Move the brats from the pan to the grill, also over direct medium heat. Grill the brats for 2 minutes a side, or until browned, then remove from the grill directly into the waiting buns. Watch out for flare-ups while the brats are over direct heat, and move them around as necessary. While grilling the brats, keep cooking the sauerkraut in the pan, stirring occasionally. The sauerkraut is done when most of the liquid is cooked away, about 10 minutes after the foil was removed.

5. Serve:
Top the brats with sauerkraut and serve. Pass the extra kraut and brown spicy mustard at the table.

Variations:

*Frozen Brats: If I forget to take the brats out of the freezer, that's OK, this recipe can cover for me. Increase the wine to 1 cup, and in step 3, increase the covered cooking time to 25 minutes. (When I start with frozen brats, I double-check with my instant read thermometer to make sure they are done. I want them to read 160°F.)

Notes:

*Watch out for flareups while grilling the brats. And yes, there are going to be flareups. A little fire on the brats is fine, but if there is a persistent grease fire, move the brats away until it goes out.
Flareup!

*If you have a local meat market that makes their own brats, use them! If not, I'm partial to Johnsonville brats. It must be my Wisconsin heritage.

*A trick for feeding the kids - I cut the brats in half before putting them in a bun, to stretch the 5 brats in a package out to 10 full buns. My oldest can rip through three or four brats on his own; halving the brats leaves enough for the rest of us to get a bite in edgewise.

*This technique is great when cooking for a crowd; it doubles or triples easily. All you need is a larger pan; a 13x19 pan can hold a party pack of 12 brats easily.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Choucroute Garnie
Pan Grilled Bratwurst with Peppers and Onions
Basic Technique: Grilled Sausages


Adapted from:
Grilled Sausages with Peppers and Onions, Cooks Illustrated Magazine, July 2008


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2 comments:

yogamom said...

should the brats be raw or already cooked? I tried cooking brats for first time today and noticed the Johnsonville Stadium Brats pkg stated "fully cooked" . they turned out good but just wondering for future.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I used uncooked brats in this recipe, but it will also work for fully cooked brats. Cut the foil-covered cooking time back to 15 minutes.

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