If you put a brat on the grill without first soaking it in beer, you will burn in hell for committing sacrilege of the highest kind.
I recently went on a camping trip, and one of the many things I picked up from the experience was that, as long as there is a beer within reach, bratwurst should never be placed directly on the grill without first being doused in said beer. This is one of the many lessons I learned on the trip, along with the potential dangers of getting bitten by a tick. I was informed by each and every one of my fellow campers that the only person who would be a fool to cook the brats by just placing them on the grill was an idiot.
However, as someone who does not often prepare brats, the idea of letting the wrapped meat soak in a vat of beer before frying it was not precisely the first thing that sprang to mind. Should you actually boil brats in beer before grilling them, despite the fact that doing so could bring shame on the upbringing I had in the Midwest?
The Flavorful Advantages That Come From Boiling Sausages and Brats
Jim Mumford, a professional chef as well as an author of cookbooks, asserts that plunging brats into a vat of beer is about much more than just showcasing the beauty of the Midwest. He says that it is rational to boil brats in beer since doing so will cause the collagen casing on the sausage to become more compact. This helps to minimize sausage juice explosions, which may lead to flare-ups, and as a result, grilling is made simpler as a whole.
In addition, if you boil the brats in beer for ten to twelve minutes, or until the temperature on the inside of the brats reaches around 145 degrees, you won’t have to spend as much time cooking them on the grill. “Boiling brats makes grilling a lot faster since the sausage will then be completely cooked, enabling you to merely sear them before you serve them,” Mumford informs me. “Boiling brats also ensures that the sausage is more flavorful.” Although there are many who believe that boiling brats before grilling takes away part of their taste, in reality, this is only the case if the brats are sliced or otherwise compromised in some way.
“As for taste,” Mumford says, “as long as the brat isn’t sliced, the delicious sausage fluids (read: fat) will remain in the flesh, while the exterior will receive a lovely, malty flavour from the beer.” This is true as long as the brat isn’t cut.
The Best Beer to Drink While Cooking Brats in a Boil
The question now is, what kind of beer should you use to boil your bratwurst? My fellow campers advised me to “simply grab whatever is inexpensive,” which is a statement with which Mumford fully concurs. He recommends going with a classic microbrew as the best option. “Any nuanced nuances from a craft beer will be obliterated by the boiling, or camouflaged by the flavour of the brats, so go cheap here,” the author of the article writes.
When it comes down to it, the answer to the issue of whether or not you should boil brats in beer before grilling them is yes, you very certainly should. And if you don’t have enough time to boil your brats in beer, Mumford recommends doing the next best thing, which is to thoroughly grill the brats and then enjoy them while simultaneously holding a beer in the other hand.