Have you ever wondered why everyone says you should cook your bratwursts in beer before you grill them? Here’s why!
You’ve probably heard about adding flavor from the beer. You toss the raw bratwursts into a foil pan filled with your favorite beer. Or you can use a combination of beer and juice – such as apple. And then you set the pan on the grill grate over a low-temperature area of your grill. Then allow for some simmering time while you chat it up or enjoy the rest of that cold beer.
And you’ve probably heard about tossing some onion and sliced green peppers into the mix – perhaps some spices, an orange slice or two. The recipes are endless – and tasty!
BUT WHY? Why parboil a bratwurst?
The simple answer – even cooking. Yup – that’s the main reason. You wIf you cook bratwurst, and other types of thick sausage/links, too quickly and over too high of a heat source – they will crack open, spill out a bunch of juicy goodness, and possibly leave the grill slightly charred on the outside while not being fully cooked on the inside.
So – you can grill your bratwurst over low heat while turning to ensure even cooking – yawn. Or, you can toss them in a simmering bath of goodness and flavor! Think of it as a “Spa Day” for your bratwurst… right before you serve them up on a toasted bun.
All you are really doing is allowing the inside of the bratwurst to cook evenly while potentially adding additional flavor from the liquid you choose for your brat bath.
Wait… Does Flavor Make it Past the Casing?
One Question – does the beer actually soak through the casing? That’s the dirty little secret. Sausage casing is pretty strong stuff! You don’t see bratwurst and other sausage links in a casing dripping juices out. Especially with today’s production facilities.
Yes, some flavor can seep in – the trick is the same as if you didn’t give them a bath and just tossed your brats right on the grill. Go low and slow for even cooking. And, the longer you allow for a bath – the more of a flavor swap you’ll have.
When ready, move to a hot grill to add some grill marks. Don’t simmer too long or the casing might burst anyway.
Also, some people say the warm bath makes the casing more pliable and less likely to split open. And, your pan of beer bath has been simmering giving off all kinds of great aromas. And, you’ll have a pan full of flavor-packed veggies you can toss on top – so it’s a win-win!
The bottom line – enjoy your bratwurst – just give them some time to cook evenly whichever way you decide to grill them!
Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR, and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.