It’s unseasonably warm here in Wisconsin right now. We’re looking at highs in the 70’s (80 today!) when we should still be expecting winter weather warnings and temperatures still in the 30s… not that you’ll catch us complaining. All this warm weather makes us want to haul the grill out and cook as many meals on it as we can before an unexpected late-season blizzard decides to come rolling through The Northwoods. So, let’s talk Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bratwurst.
First and foremost, Wisconsinites require brats (that’s “bratwurst” to the rest of you) to complete a proper grilling or tailgating experience. We’ve got several varieties of applewood smoked bratwurst, including applewood smoked cheddar bratwurst, and our newest creation, applewood smoked BACON cheddar bratwurst. These new applewood smoked bacon cheddar brats contain chunks of our famous smoked bacon and, thus, are intensely smoky, very juicy, and have been fairly flying out the door here in Wittenberg.
While it would be hard to be disappointed when tasting any of our brats hot off the grill, if you really want to guild the lily, soak your sausages in a traditional Wisconsin brat bath before grilling. There are several ways to bathe a bratwurst in beer and it’s debatable which one is the very best, but a for a good, basic brat bath involving only beer, onions, and bratwurst, try this:
- Dice one onion (white, yellow, your choice) per 6 – 12 brats.
- Place a (grill-safe) skillet on your grill and heat to medium. Place your onions and brats in the skillet.
- Pour enough pilsner beer over the brats so that they are submerged. If you are cooking a large quantity of brats this way, you’re going to need a lot of beer and you should probably consider doing this in a slow cooker/roaster and then transfer the brats to a grill for the later steps. You want the brats and beer to be very warm but NOT boiling, or you’ll blow out the brat casings before even getting these beauties on the grill. Let the brats hang out in the beer bath for a minimum of a half-hour, or you won’t get enough of the nice beer-and-onion flavor out of this process.
- After the brats have spent their fair share of time in the beer bath, transfer them to your grill (use medium to low heat to avoid split casings). If you’re using any of our applewood smoked bratwurst varieties, this cooking step will be shorter than if you are using an unsmoked brat, as our smoking process gives you a bratwurst that’s already cooked. If you’re using unsmoked brats, cook them to an internal temperature of 160°F. If you’re using our applewood smoked bratwurst, cook them until the casings are nicely browned.
- Serve the brats on bratwurst buns, if you can find them in your area, or any nice, crusty rolls you can get your hands on. In our area, most people like their brats served on a bun with sauerkraut and a good, grainy mustard and many will add chopped raw onions or ketchup, as well.
Get outside and get grilling. Enjoy!