Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bratwurst- Sconnie Style

We are known for bratwurst in Wisconsin. We are known for our beer in Wisconsin. Both go real well together, especially when you cook the brat in the beer. With a strong German heritage in my state, bratwurst is common and real popular.

You'll find beer brats in the parking lots at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewer baseball team. You'll find beer brats at 8 am from Packers' tailgaters at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. You'll find beer brats on smoking grills in the backyards of most Milwaukeens and Sconnies. It is a part of our food culture.

Us Wisconsinites take our bratwurst seriously and you may find yourself in a discussion/argument on how to prepare them. There are many different styles and ways to make Wisconsin bratwurst but I have always made them a certain way and no one has turned them away.

Here in the southeastern part of the state, the most well-known bratwurst companies are Johnsonville, Klements, and Usingers. All are fantastic as there are also many local meat markets and butchers supplying great tasting homemade bratwurst.

Bratwurst become popular in Sheboygan, WI in the 20s and was first introduced to sports stadiums in 1953 at Milwaukee County Stadium. Ok, enough history, lets get to the food.

The ingredients are basic, the brat, bun, beer, and condiments. The latter is important. As with the many ways to prepare brats, there are many condiments to use but in Milwaukee, we primarily use:

  • Frank's sauerkraut
  • Koop's mustard -Dusseldorf style or spicy brown mustard
  • Secret Stadium Sauce, famous sauce from Milwaukee County Stadium/Miller Park
  • beer, I chose a Schlitz Tall Boy
You can certainly use most any type of beer. The beer cooks the bratwurst but also flavors it. I highly recommend using Guinness beer too. It is like cooking with wine, if you like to drink a certain type or brand, use the same to wine to cook with too.

I like to start to prepare Beer Bath for the grill. Fresh cut white onion, beer, and globs of butter are poured into a tin foil pan.

Next, I prepare the sauerkraut and Stadium Secret sauce. Drain kraut and combine with sauce in a small tin foil pan.

Get your bratwurst ready on a plate.

You want to set up your grill with a two-zone fire, direct heat on one side and indirect on the other.

Place the bratwurst into the beer bath and place over direct high heat. Occasionally turn brats to achieve even cooking. It should take about 20 minutes to get rid of the raw look of the brat. You want a consistent gray color over the brat. Set the sauerkraut on the indirect side.

Slide the beer bath over to the indirect heat side and sear the brats over direct heat for about 6-8 per side.

I like to sear the brats and then put them back in the beer bath over high heat and repeat again until I achieve a nice color and char. You can simplify it by just doing this process once but I sort of like to "play" with the brats while being careful not to explode them by cooking them too hot or blackening them by keeping them over a hot flame for too long.

I'm sorry but G-Damn that looks good!

Secret Stadium Sauce sauerkraut Beer Brat and Dusseldorf Mustard Beer Brat with Beer-Braised Onions.

These brats go well with a cold beer, an local IPA from Lakefront Brewery, a ballgame on the radio, and company of friends.

The key is to grill the brats low and slow, not over a high uncontrollable flame where they could burst open and lose all the juice. There isn't much better for a summer backyard grillout then slow-grilled bratwurst in beer, juicy and tender, charred, accompanied by the right condiment, washed down by a cold brew.

I am Sconnie and this is my Bratwurst!


  1. Awesome. That is pretty much how I make mine minus the secret stadium sauce. Glad to see I'm not messing it up.

  2. Sheeyit !!! Schlitz! A friend turned me on to it years ago, a perfect pair for barbecue. Boy was he right, brewed perfection. Unfortunately, it's a special order item, 'if' they have it at their warehouse. Dumb Californians.

    xo, Biggles

  3. I gotta remember to get some stadium sauce next time I'm at Woodman's in Kenosha. Looks like you hot them out the park.

  4. I do it a little differently. I simmer brats (Johsonville, of course) in beer, butter and onions for 45 minutes. Then grill the brats over low heat. Return the brats to the pot where they can stay all day. Come to think of it, that's pretty much what you do too.

  5. Where and what kind of bun is served at the stadiums...thebun is almost as important than the brat...

  6. I'm in the "grill first, beer bath later" camp. In all honesty, I think they probably come out great either way.