Recently I took a trip to New Ulm and made a stop at The Sausage Shoppe. They had a package of beer brats that were calling my name. I decided to give those brats a good home.
Usually when we have brats, Mr. Kim Chee just tosses them on the grill. But I wanted to do something a little special with these guys. So I decided to braise them in sauerkraut and beer before giving them a quick toss on the grill. The result--amazing!
You can braise the brats on the grill, on the stovetop, or even in the oven. I went with on the stove, just because it was the easiest for me, but if you're having a large party, a big roasting pan full of the braised brats right next to the grill would be the perfect place.
The onions add flavor and they also help keep the brats off the bottom of the pan.
Is there somewhere in New Ulm that sells homemade kraut? I'd love to have some but don't know where to look. Suggestions would be welcome!
If you wanted to skip the grilling part, I would recommend letting the brats simmer for another 10 or so minutes, to make sure they're fully cooked through. If you were having people over and were grilling brats as-needed, you could just leave them in the cooling liquid until they needed to go on the grill.
If you wanted, you could pick out the onions that were used for braising and cut them into more manageable pieces. Then you could cook them on the stove over low with maybe a little butter until they became caramelized.
My brats got dressed in ketchup and relish and some pieces of Red Dragon cheese (which is, by the way, amazing! It's a creamy, cheddarlike cheese made with brown ale and mustard seeds. We had burgers a few nights before that were topped with this cheese. It's great.)
Whether you go fancy or simple, these Beer-Braised Brats are sure to be a hit!
Recipe: Beer-Braised Brats
1 onion, sliced into thick rings
2 c. sauerkraut
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, well smashed
1 bottle beer
Lay onion slices along the bottom of a pan. Cover the onions with sauerkraut.
Nestle bay leaf and garlic in the sauerkraut.
Lay brats over the top of the sauerkraut. Pour beer into the pan.
Turn on heat under pan; once the braising liquid begins to boil, decrease heat so liquid simmers. Cover pan and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and let brats rest in liquid for at least 5 minutes.
Grill brats 3-4 minutes per side to get nice grill marks. Top with favorite condiments and serve!