Recipes for the Midwest’s favorite tailgating dish sound foolproof, but Cook's Country's first attempts resulted in gray, soggy sausages and bland onions floating in hot beer. To perfect their Grilled Brats and Beer recipe, they browned the sausages first over medium-high heat to give them a good color and seared flavor.
Braising after grilling made the brats soggy, so we threw them back on the grill for a final crisping after braising. Searing the onions first added serious flavor to the beer and onion mixture. We reduced the beer and onion mixture with yellow mustard, which lent brightness and body to the liquid and sauce.
Grilled Brats and Beer
Light-bodied lagers work best here. Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to cook the onions in 2 batches in step 2. Standard hot dog buns will be too small for the bulky brats.
4 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (12-ounce) beers
2/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
10 bratwurst sausages
10 (6-inch) sub rolls
1. Turn all burners to medium-high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes. (For charcoal grill, arrange 50 coals over bottom of grill. Light 100 coals; when covered with fine gray ash, pour evenly over cold coals. Set cooking grate in place and let heat, covered, with lid vent open completely, for 5 minutes.) Scrape and oil cooking grate. Brush onions with oil and season with pepper. Whisk beer, mustard, sugar, caraway and 1 teaspoon pepper in 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum pan.
2. Arrange disposable pan on one side of grill and grill onions on other side of grill until lightly charred, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer onions to pan and grill sausages until browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer sausages to pan, cover grill and simmer until sausages are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove cooked sausages from pan and grill until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer sausages to platter and tent with foil.
3. Continue to simmer beer mixture, with grill covered, until onions are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Place bratwurst in rolls and spoon on sauce and onions. Serve.