Grilling is a favorite method of cooking bratwurst, including indoor versions such as a built-in kitchen grill, a stove top grilling pan or a small appliance grill. Achieve a close indoor second by broiling these German sausages or braising them in a skillet. Some bratwurst is already cooked and only requires browning and thorough heating. Raw bratwurst must be fully cooked, preferably in steam or moist heat, followed by a gentle sear. While it takes quality ground meat and distinctive seasonings to produce savory bratwurst, German brats are all about the toppings and sauces: sauerkraut or warm caramelized sweet onions and bell peppers are traditional favorites.
Things You'll Need
- Skillet with lid
- Broiler pan
- Cooking spray
- Beer (optional)
- Onions (optional)
- Bell peppers (optional)
- Apples (optional)
- Sauerkraut (optional)
- Varietal mustard (optional)
Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of a skillet. Besides adding flavor, the butter keeps the uncooked brat casings from sticking to the pan. Add the raw sausages to the melted butter and brown them lightly over low heat. The initial light browning should be a result of the fat in the sausages sealing the casings, not scorched butter.
Pour 1/4 inch of water into the skillet with the brats and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Beer is the preferred cooking liquid in many circles -- try an authentic lager or dark ale for a punch of flavor. Simmer the brats until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 20 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the lid and continue cooking the sausages in the skillet on low until they are browned from the pan drippings. Turn and roll the sausages with tongs so they pick up the color and flavor from the bottom of the skillet. Avoid piercing the casing with a fork. You can also remove the brats from the skillet when the liquid has evaporated and place them on a broiler pan prepared with cooking spray. Pop them under the broiler for a few minutes to brown them, watching them carefully and turning them as needed.
Tips & Warnings
- Serve a sweet onion and bell pepper topping with the brats. Simply add a little more cooking liquid to the skillet after removing the brats and simmer the sliced vegetables in it for a few minutes with the lid on. Create a thicker sauce by removing the lid and reducing the liquid as the onions caramelize.
- Add firm, tart apple chunks to complement the onion and pepper sauce. Jonathan, Granny Smith and Cortland are some apple varieties that don’t turn to mush during cooking. Apple juice that cooks out of the fruit chunks reduces to a tangy-sweet syrup that helps thicken the mixture.
- Plain sauerkraut is often served with bratwurst, or try caraway-studded Bavarian kraut. Mustard is another popular condiment. Offer a selection of varietal spicy, hot, sweet or brown mustards.
- Check the label to know if your brats are precooked or raw so you can use the correct cooking method.
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