the recipe: Traeger Smoked ‘n Simmered beer brats
the smoker: Traeger Ironwood 885
the time: about an hour and a half
the full nelson: the best Brat method EVER
I’ve been Brat obsessed since the tender age of . . . well I don’t exactly remember when. But I was a little boy with big dreams of eating all the meats in the butcher’s case. Back in the day, my family would shop at our local butcher shop. That’s where I first laid eyes on Bratwursts, Italian Sausages, Kielbasa, you name it. I’d get my parents to buy me some veal brat(they didnt eat pork) and we would fry ’em up at home.
Years later my food obsessed lifestyle would take me to German Delis, gourmet markets and hipster butcher shops. While it’s hard not to tip your cap to a true German sausage specialist for a top shelf brat, I ain’t mad at Johnsonville for some reason. They do the job. Especially if you simmer them in cheap beer. And while you’re at it, break out the Traeger.
It’s hard not to argue that hot dogs are the simplest thing to cook on the grill. I mean, you’re not even cooking, you’re just reheating. Thing is, Brats > Hot Dogs and the extra effort is frankly more relaxing because you have more time to sip on a beer. And it’s about as cheap as hot dogs too if the kind of dogs you’re springing for are of the Boar’s Head or Hebrew National variety.
I smoked these brats for about an hour at 225 degrees. I use a Traeger 885 Ironwood which has this super smoke feature and I like to use it every chance I get. When it comes to making proper barbecue like ribs, I’ll break out a smoker tube to really drive the point home but these brats only need a kiss of smoke, a chef’s kiss even. I smoke these for about an hour though you could cut that in half if you’re running short on time as it’s going to cook more in the simmer process.
Like burgers, a cast iron skillet is your sausage’s best friend. Like the one from summer camp that you finally reconnected with on Facebook and is now, like kinda weird. Well, actually nothing like that at all, because you’re not friends with a pan. Ok, back to the method. Melt some butter and beer in the pan to a simmer. Now drop the links.
Years ago I came across this method of simmering the brats in butter and beer as part of a Wisconsin tailgate tradition. I’ve dubbed it the Wisconsin Method ever since. Actually I dubbed it that pretty much just now. But trust me, I’ve been to Milwaukee and I’m pretty sure some genius that’s 6 or 7 Old Styles deep, making sweatshirts with Wisconsin Method ironed on as I type this.
Oh right, back to cooking Brats. Look, you cook these till they look good. I’d ballpark it as 10-2o minutes depending on the size of the link and how long you smoked it. For safety, use a instant read thermometer and pull them when they hit an internal temp of 165 degrees.
What’s nice about the simmer is that you can hold the sausages warm without drying them out too much. When you’re ready to serve, toss them on a grill or even a pan to crisp them up. It will only take a few minutes. Then get the buns, mustard and kraut ready.
This is such a fun and easy way to use a pellet grill like a Traeger. And while you could do this all on the grill, you could also just smoke them on the grill and do the rest over the stove. Any grill will work but clearly one that incorporates smoke will yield the best results too. I also find this method is a great way to dress up supermarket level brats like Johnsonville but you could try anything.
In fact, I bet there is a little boy in a hipster butcher shop somewhere in Brooklyn, looking at some sustainably raised Duroc or Kurobuta pork brats wondering how his mom will cook them. Winona, if you can hear me . . . try the Ali Khan Smoked n Simmered method. Just keep the mustard ballpark style. Somethings are simply timeless.
Thanks for bearing with me while I got weird with the humor in this one. If you liked it, comment below!