Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Lovin'

What I'm about to say has the potential to cause riots and break out in a civil wars. But I have to speak the truth.

Wisconsin Beer Brats

How can Beer Brats be so incendiary? It's how you make them.

There are hard-core fanatics that go in one direction and those that go in the other direction.

To make Beer Brats you have to start with a Johnsonville Bratwurst. That's it. Other brands just don't work for me. As far as I'm concerned, Johnsonville is the only way to go for Beer Brats.

Here's where I think people see a difference...

I take the bratwursts out of the package and toss them on a hot grill. Get them good and charred. Smoky. Don't burn them and don't worry that they don't cook completely. They will continue cooking in a warm, steamy beer bath in a bit.

Once charred, take the bratwurst off the grill and submerge them in a mixture of beer, butter and onions. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot, on a bun with mustard and if you are a heathen like me, ketchup.

What's so bad about that??? There are folks who insist that you parboil the bratwurst in the beer before grilling begins. That's fine, but I don't think the beer flavor, which is the purpose of a Beer Brat, sticks around after you grill the wurst. By simmering & finishing the cooking in a beer bath, you will have a stronger beer flavor and a plump, juicy sausage. Perfect! And who doesn't love a plump, juicy sausage!???!!!

Wednesday night's dinner was bratwurst and fresh corn on the cob, both on the grill.

After the wurst get a nice sear on the outside, take them off the grill and...

...put them in a bath of beer, onions and butter. In this case, I had a medium-body, hoppy beer with onions I had grilled the night before. I used about 1/2 a stick of butter. Because butter is good for you.

Leave the corn on the grill until it because nice and charred as well. I think the most important step for grilling corn actually occurs before grilling starts. You need to soak the corn in water for at least an hour. This will trap some water between the kernels and the husks, creating additional steam to help cook the corn.

Beautiful. The corn, not being locally grown and just picked, was a little starchy, but still tasty. I kicked up the flavor some by making a chili-lime compound butter to put on the corn. Take one stick of butter, at room temperature, and mix with some chili powder (I used Chipotle & Cayenne powders), the zest of one lime and the juice of half a lime. Add some fresh black, cracked pepper. Mix together until well blended and spread on the hot corn. Hot and dripping in more butter. Yum.


Jack said...

Interesting. I was raised with beer parboiling, but this does sound better, of course I usually end up frying my in a pan since I can't do an outdoor grill in my apartment. Now, what I would suggest is a little lime juice and zest in with the onions, beer and butter, especially if you are going to do Lime on the corn. Did you consider doing a milk bath for your corn instead of water? I know that was also very popular in WI especially if your corn was not just picked.

ScottE. said...

I've soaked corn in milk before as well. 1) it's expensive and 2) I didn't notice a difference.

Tony said...

my wife taught me to par-boil brats because, well, that's just how they did it where she's from! We've been talking about brats for July 4th; I'll see if she's open to giving your method a try!

As for corn: I'm pretty lazy. I shuck, wrap in aluminum foil, grill for 15 or so minutes, let 'em rest.