It may be German by name, but Americans have claimed bratwurst for their own. You will see a lot beef and even turkey versions, but in my humble opinion, bratwurst must come from a pig to fully be worthy of the name. Everybody has their own way of making bratwurst, with strategies often following regional commonalities, but let me share with you my favorite way to make bratwurst – the "perfect" brat.
It all starts with the brat itself. You can ruin a good piece of meat by poor cooking. But even Gordon Ramsey himself cannot dress up a poorly produced sausage and turn it into the perfect brat. Picking out the right piece of meat is an important part of the process. Look for something full and plump, but strong enough that it will hold together once tossed on the grill. It is beyond frustrating if everything just falls apart after you have done all the pep work.
Speaking of that, now that you have chosen your brat, it is now time to prepare it. My perfect recipe involves soaking it in beer for thirty minutes and then boiling it for another five. The type of beer does matter. It does not have to be an expensive beer, but it does have to be a thicker brew that has some taste. I recommend a decent lager.
In my opinion, far too often cooks will over-season their meats. I prefer to keep it simple. We have the beer soaked brat already. I like to add just a simple mixture of BBQ sauce (your favorite label), pepper, and seasoned salt from Lawry's. Just put one layer onto the meat and let it sit for another twenty to thirty minutes. If you overload it with sauce and seasoning, it will overpower the taste and, needless to say, your brat will be less than perfect.
Now it is time to put the bratwurst on the grill. I am sorry, but I am going to have to lay down the law here. For the brat to be "perfect" – you have to use a charcoal grill. No doubt you can get a fine result from a gas grill, but this is the recipe for the perfect bratwurst. Cooking here is probably going to take twenty-five to thirty minutes. Spin the brat frequently to make sure that it is cooked evenly throughout. You are going to be looking for just a slight amount charring up and down the meat. Once you have obtained that, you are almost ready to dine.
You could eat the bratwurst now and it would be very tasty. But, reoccurring theme, we are going for the PERFECT brat here. As such, you need the right dressing. A nice soft bun is a given. The rest is simple, but no less important: mustard, relish, and sauerkraut. Again, do not overload the meat with condiments, just a thin layer of each throughout the brat. There you have it, now it is time to eat. Pick out a good beer to accompany the brat and you are ready to go.
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