Don't wait for a tail-gate party or backyard barbeque to enjoy a juicy brat on a bun -- enjoy brats year-round cooked on a stovetop griddle. Brats are a German speciality sausage made from veal, pork or beef, and sold two ways, raw or precooked. The difference between the two is in the preparation. Precooked brats are more common and convenient because they can go straight on the griddle. Raw brats can go directly onto the griddle as well, though the result often produces a burnt exterior and an undercooked interior. Therefore, poaching or braising in a flavorful liquid such as dark lager is recommended prior to cooking on the griddle. Add spices, garlic or onions to the beer to heighten the flavor of the brats.
Cooking Raw Brats
Pour either ale, dark beer or light beer, whatever your preference, into a large saucepan. If desired, add hot mustard, sliced onions or spices to the beer such as red pepper flakes, garlic powder or onion flakes. For a non-alcoholic version, use water or non-alcoholic beer.
Turn the stove-top burner on medium-high heat. Prick each brat with a sharp knife. Place the brats in the beer.
Bring the beer to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer the brats uncovered for 10 minutes. Turn the brats over and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the brats from the beer with tongs and set aside. Dispose of the beer, spices and onions. Place the griddle on the stove over medium heat.
Transfer the brats with tongs onto the griddle and cover the griddle with a lid. Cook the brats for approximately 5 minutes, then remove the lid and turn the brats over. Place lid back on griddle, and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes or until the brats are light brown, cooked through and a thermometer inserted registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heating Pre-Cooked Brats
Place the griddle on a stove-top burner over medium heat. Remove the brats from the package. Prick each brat with a sharp knife, creating a few small holes.
Place the brats on the griddle. If preferred, season with pepper, garlic powder or chili powder. Cook for 5 minutes.
Baste with dark beer, light beer or non-alcoholic beer if desired. Turn the brats over with tongs. Baste with more beer, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, until light brown and warmed through.
- Brats may be simmered in beer and cooked on a barbeque. However, use a heavy saucepan with an oven proof handle to simmer brats in beer. If an oven-proof handle is not available, wrap the handle in tin foil to protect it from the heat.
- Always check with the butcher or read the package carefully to determine whether your brats are precooked or raw, and adjust cooking method accordingly. Steam can build inside the brat casing during cooking, which causes the brat to split or explode. Pricking each brat with a fork before cooking will allow the steam to release. However, do not make holes too big, as juice will leak out and dry the brats.
Katherine Macropoulos has authored two books; a fictional, young reader and a spiritual autobiography. Her areas of expertise include food, beauty and style, travel, culture and society, business and spirituality. Macropoulos holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a diploma in photography, graphic design and marketing and certification in esthetics.