Brats -- fresh, lightly seasoned sausages made from pork -- show up regularly at summer barbecues and autumn tailgate parties. Bratwursts are the go-to sausage to munch on at football games. Cook the brats stadium style at home or at a tailgate party and you can almost hear the crowd roar as your favorite team scores.
Select Your Brats
Bratwurst is traditionally made from veal and pork. However, you can find chicken, turkey and beef brats as well as brats that incorporate chunks of cheese. Brats may be made with natural casing or casings manufactured from collagen. The brats may be precooked -- which only require browning -- or raw. Stadium style brats call for raw pork brats.
Precook for Perfection
It's a challenge to get the interior of a raw bratwurst cooked through and not burn the outside of the brat. One way to do that is to precook the brats in a simmering liquid for 10 minutes. Beer gives the best flavor but broth, or a combination of beer and broth, or even water works as well. Stadiums sometimes cook the brat completely in the liquid and finish it off on the griddle to get an attractive brown color. That allows the stadium to serve more customers faster. You can do the same for a crowd.
Tailgaters grill their brats over a charcoal fire until the outside is dark brown and snaps when you bite into it. As the cook, you have the obligation to test a few brats to make sure they're done. There should be no pink in the middle. If there is, throw it back on the grill. If you're making your brats at a football game in the parking lot of the stadium, you have a way to dispose of the hot coals. Stadiums such as Lambeau Field have bins expressly for hot coals.
Don't Forget Buns and Condiments
Brats without a bun are simply naked sausages. The buns could be soft, crusty or chewy -- to each his own. Serve the brats with a choice of grilled onions, raw onions, mustards and sauerkraut. Ketchup is frowned upon by true brat connoisseurs. Side dishes include sweet and sour potato salad, baked beans. cucumber salad and grilled sweet peppers.