Grilled Beer Bratwurst

The Secret to great bratwurst is to simmer them in beer first. Like hot dogs, brats need to cook a long time on the grill to get hot all the way through. This long cooking time often burst the brat’s thin skin letting all the glorious juices out.

Here’s how to do it right (Makes six brats):


6 Johnsonville Brats
1 whole yellow or white onion
1 large Green pepper
12 ounces of beer
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon salt (Kosher is best)

Cut the onion in half and slice. Slice the green pepper into 1/4 inch wide strips.

In a 2 quart saucepan, sauté the sliced onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter for three to four minutes.

Remove 1/2 of the sautéed onions and green peppers and place in a bowl covered with foil to keep warm. (You can use these on the brats later) Leave the remaining onion and peppers in the pan.

Next add 1 bottle or can of beer and 1 cup of water and bring to a low simmer. Never boil bratwurst –it will break open the skins. A low simmer is when there is steam rising off of the water and no bubbles are coming to the surface.

Don’t use Bud or Coors or any of those wimpy light beers. I use Red Hook IPA. Mexican beers like Corona or Tecate also work fine. Basically you want to use a full-flavored beer.

Simmer the brats on low heat for 20 minutes and remove. (Discard the liquid and peppers).

Take your simmered brats straight to the grill. Grill on a low setting. If you are using one of our outdoor firepit grills, push the fire to one side and grill the brats on the other –out of the direct flame. Grill for about 5 minutes total, turning often. They are now ready to serve.

Don’t use a fork to turn your brats. Poking holes in your brats lets all the good juices out. Use tongs.


Serve on good quality fresh baked buns (not hot dog buns) and season with Sauerkraut, the onion and pepper mix that you sauted, or with brown or deli-style mustard –or all of the above.

If you like Sauerkraut on your brats, I like to use the fresh Sauerkraut from the refrigerated section of the supermarket. I heat it in a pan with a dash of Caraway seeds and some course cracked black pepper.


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