Building A Better Bratwurst

In some ways the bratwurst that you expect at almost any All-American tailgate is already perfection. Meat, bun, sauerkraut, mustard all working together to bring happiness to grilling gourmands everywhere.

Of course, some people have tried to mess with sausage perfection with marinades and beer-boiling. I tend not to agree with these approaches. Any boiling or simmering will just simmer away flavor, unless, of course you're willing to invest in an immersion circulator and circulate your brat in a beer/brat water mixture.

Just gently mark your sausage on the hot part of the grill and then move to a cooler section to finish slowly.

So how do you improve on perfection? By messing with the condiments!!

Why settle for regular sauerkraut? I take a quart of regular sauerkraut and add:

  • 1 whole apple, julienned
  • 1/2 pound of good quality smokey bacon, cooked and julienned
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Reserved bacon fat
  • Fresh thyme

Saute all together, serve hot. The better the bacon quality, the better the result.

Regular mustard? Make your own! I pickle mustard seeds for an interesting texture and visually beautiful alternative to mustard.

  • 1/2 cup whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Simmer together for about an 1.5 hours, adding a little water occasionally if necessary. These will keep for several months in the refrigerator and are great for salads or just about any dish that calls for mustard.