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Wood River BBQ Team

Brats -- Wisconsin Style

I cooked BRATS yesterday and itís another reason I wish I had purchased the Lang 36 Hybrid because I had to cook them on my gas BBQ -- itís too expensive and time consuming to fire up my smoker for a short cook.

Most folks in my community make a mess out of their brats. They burn them on the grill, which reduces them to the size of mini hot dogs because they either poke holes in them or the brat bursts open on the grill releasing all the good juices, which flair up. Additionally, they soak the brat first, which, in effect, boils it thus reducing the flavor. The trick is to first cook them over INDIRECT HEAT and SLOWLY and then simmer in a soak sauce.

PRE OR POST SIMMER CONTROVERSY: Hereís why pre simmer is incorrect. The bratís skin is made of hog gut and is not porous. You can pre simmer them for hours and nothing will penetrate the skin. Of the 3 bratwurst manufactures, Usinger, Johnsonville and Klements only one (Usinger) recommends pre simmer but says direct grilling is OK. The others, including Leinenkugel  recommend grilling FIRST because the brat skin is so thick the pre simmer sauce canít penetrate the skin and the result is the meat is ďsteamedĒ and the essential juices, spices and flavorful oils dry up making the brat less juicy and flavorful plus the skin bursts. The thick skin is the reason you must puncture the skin after grilling to allow the simmer sauce to penetrate the meat.

SIMMER SOAK SAUCE: sautť 1 onion, green pepper, garlic clove and salt and pepper. Add it too cast iron pot with butter, Tabasco, red pepper flakes, 2 cans of beer (donít use Lite beer), Worcestershire, black pepper, Dijohn mustard and whiskey. Be creative with the amounts!!

Fire up the grill to 275* to 300*. Coat brats and grill with olive oil. Cook and turn the brats to prevent burning with tongs for 6 or 7 minutes until the skin darkens and grill marks appear. When the brat starts to weep or puff up, transfer them to the simmer soak sauce and poke some holes in the skin. Simmer (NOT BOIL) for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve on a Hoagie roll with dijohn mustard, grilled onions, peppers and sauerkraut.

NEVER, EVER put ketchup on a brat, serve them on hot dog buns, use yellow mustard or drink wine with brats. Those 4 items are BLASPHENY in Wisconsin. Ė Animal, am I right about those 4 items??

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