Pressure-cooking cuts cooking time by at least half for foods that traditionally need slow-cooking, such as pot roasts, and foods that usually take under 30 minutes, such as fresh bratwurst. A big advantage of pressure-cooking is volume, since you can usually cook more brats in a large pressure cooker than you can on a small grill. Gone are the days you had to worry about a pressure-cooker tragedy involving beans on the ceiling or sausage on the walls. Today's pressure cookers have safety valves that release pressure if it builds to dangerous levels, so you can cook brats safely and quickly.
Remove the brats from the refrigerator and let them reach room temperature on a plate.
Drizzle the bottom of the pressure cooker with oil and set it on the stove over medium-high heat. Heat the oil for about five minutes.
Lay bratwurst in an even layer in the bottom of the pressure cooker and sear them on both sides until golden brown, about two minutes total. If you're cooking so many brats that they will not fit in a single layer on the bottom of the cooker, sear them in batches and return them to the pressure cooker when finished.
Pour 1/2 cup of liquid in the pressure cooker for every pound of brats. Beer is a classic addition, but water, stock or broth all work. You should never cook in a dry pressure cooker when the lid is secured.
Secure the lid on the pressure cooker and set the heat on the stove to medium. Cook the bratwurst for seven or eight minutes after the pressure regulator starts to jiggle. If you hear whistling coming from the pressure regulator, lower the heat until it stops whistling.
Turn the stove off and let the cooker each room temperature on its own, or remove it from the stove and place it in the sink. Run cold water over the cooker until the safety releases.
- If cooking frozen bratwurst, skip searing and place them in the pressure cooker as-is. Cook frozen brats for 10 minutes after the pressure regulator starts jiggling, or two minutes longer than room-temperature brats.
- You can also cook brats without searing them first if you sear them on the grill for a few minutes after removing them from the pressure cooker to develop a charred crust.
- Never fill a pressure cooker more than half full of food or two-thirds full of liquid.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.