Brats: The best of the wurst
August 16th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Wiener, wiener sausage dinner! In case the rum runs dry, August 16 is also National Bratwurst Day.

Another classic German invention, the bratwurst is one of civilization’s oldest sausages. First made in the early 1300s, this type of sausage is typically made from ground pork, veal or beef. The seasoning - nutmeg, salt, black pepper and garlic are common suspects - is what sets it apart from other links from other regions.

Kyle Griffin of Pine Street Market in Atlanta, Georgia, gave us some frank advice: While some recipes call for you to cook your brat in a broth first and then grill or pan fry it, Griffin thinks in reverse.“I recommend grilling it first, on low heat, and then having a pot of simmering beer with an onion, peppers and garlic ready and finishing [the brat] in the beer." This prevents the brat from drying out.

One of the main reasons sausages split their casings when you cook them, is because they’re being cooking too hot, too fast. The fat literally explodes out of the sausage. Poking holes in your banger will prevent the link from splitting. According to Griffin, “Hand-stuffed, natural casing [brats] are more prone to splitting.” It’s also good to remember that a low, indirect heat works better for most sausages.

As for serving the perfect brat? “Hoagie roll, good mustard and good sauerkraut,” says Griffin. It doesn’t get anymore German than that.

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