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Methods of Cooking Bratwurst

Cast Iron Cooking, Propane Grill

Bratwurst means “finely chopped meat sausage” in German, and the name aptly describes the food. A Bratwurst is indeed a sausage of German origin made from fine chopped meat, normally pork, but also sometimes beef or veal. Bratwurst is heavily spiced in most cases and served on a hard roll. Some common spices found in Bratwurst are marjoram, cardamom, nutmeg, celery seeds, pepper, and ginger. Though there are actually over fifty different kinds of Bratwurst made in Germany, all of which vary in recipe.

Bratwurst is a very ancient and very German tradition. In fact, the oldest known recipe for Bratwurst is over 600 years old and came from Thuringian, Germany. Thuringian, located in central Germany, is thought to be the birthplace of bratwurst.

Bratwurst can be purchased in two forms, cooked and raw. Cooked Bratwurst is similar to American breakfast sausage in its cooking style of brown and serve. Many Bratwurst enthusiasts feel this is not true Bratwurst and does not have near the flavor of “Real Bratwurst”. Raw Bratwurst needs to be heated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 degrees Celsius. Bratwurst is most commonly cooked with beer, and either grilled or boiled. This guide on how to cook Bratwurst will explain both techniques which are simple and quick.

Bratwurst is not a complicated meal choice to cook and is often thought to be the “fast food” of Germany.

To grill Bratwurst you will need:

*A grill

*A fork or utensil for turning Bratwurst.

*Beer of your choosing.

*Pig fat

*A bowl

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To fry Bratwurst you will need:

*A skillet, preferably cast iron.

*Cooking oil

*A fork or utensil for turning Bratwurst.

*Beer of your choosing

To boil Bratwurst you will need:

*A high edged pan preferably cast iron.

*A fork or utensil for turning Bratwurst.

*Beer of your choosing


As a note: When choosing a beer to cook Bratwurst with use a dark, strong flavored ale such as Arrogant Bastard Ale if you would like the sausage to take on the flavor of the beer more, where as if you would not like a beer flavor use a lighter choice such as Hefenweizen or none at all.

After cooking, Bratwurst is commonly served on a hard roll with sauerkraut and mustard in Germany. These ingredients are optional but a great serving suggestion.

Grilling Bratwurst:

To grill Bratwurst place the brats in a bowl with with beer and allow to soak.

In the mean time heat your grill to a medium heat and grease it with pig fat.

Place Bratwurst on grill and turn every three to four minutes until internal temperature reaches 165.While grilling periodically pour beer over the Bratwurst. This is important as it keeps the coals from becoming overly hot and cooking the outside of the sausage before the inside. It also adds a great deal of flavor and helps keep the sausage from becoming dry and chewy.

Frying Bratwurst:

It should be noted this method does NOT work on a propane grill. If you have a propane grill the best course of action is to used cooked bratwurst as raw bratwurst is difficult to cook correctly on a propane grill or to boil them in a pan on the grill. The outcome is often either a crispy, charcoal bratwurst or a bratwurst with a pink center when grilling raw Brats on a propane grill.

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To fry bratwurst lightly oil a skillet and place over medium heat.

Once the pan is hot place the bratwurst on the skillet and brown all sides.

Add a mixture of half beer and half water that comes just to the top of each bratwurst.

Allow to simmer under medium heat until bratwursts reach an internal temperature of at least 165.

You can add spices, onions, or any flavor options of your choosing into the liquid while simmering. The grilling method produces a juicy brat with a firm exterior.

Boiling Bratwurst:

This method can even be used while camping. Simply place a cast iron pan on the smoldering coals of your camp fire and follow above directions.

To boil Bratwurst begin by filling a high edged pan with a mixture of half beer and half water.

Bring the mixture to a boil*

Place Bratwursts inside.

Cover, reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer until Bratwursts reach an internal temperature of 165.

Much like the frying method of cooking Bratwurst you can add spices, onion, etc to the water for flavor.