Monday, May 30, 2016

Midwestern Beer Brats For Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope you're having a wonderful day of picnics, time with friends and family, and splendid summer weather.

But, just in case your Memorial Day picnic has been rained out, here's a way to cook those brats on the stove - saving your meal in a delicious way! Enjoy this recipe that I shared back in 2012:

Midwestern Beer Brats

“Hot enough for ya?”
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
                        And its partner, “It’s a dry heat, just like your oven.”
And my favorite?
“Satan called. He wants his weather back.”

Face it, this summer has been brutal, rivaling the 1930’s dust bowl era.
In our part of the country, drought has been the killer.

Our area (the Black Hills of South Dakota) is classified as “extreme drought”. That means fire bans. All fires.

The problem? I have a charcoal grill.
Yeah, I know, gas is more convenient. But a gas grill just doesn’t give you that smoky flavor…

 Anyway, I haven’t been able to use my grill since June.
     No 4th of July barbeque!
                No Saturday night burgers!
                                And {gasp!} no brats!
What’s a mid-western gal going to do to feed her family?

Believe it or not, a southern belle came to my rescue.
(No, not Missy. The other one. Paula.)
This recipe was one her show one day back in June (before my daughter was employed and still had time to watch daytime TV), and when I thought I couldn’t stand going without brats one more week, I remembered it.
I’m rating this one “pretty easy”. You do have to open the beer cans…

Oh, and for those who don’t drink? There’s no alcohol in the finished product. It all gets simmered away - or you can use water or non-alcoholic beer.

Midwestern-Style Beer Brats
With thanks to the Deen brothers for the original recipe.
(Which I changed, of course. I can never leave those recipes alone!)
  •  10 fresh (not smoked or pre-cooked) bratwurst sausages (I used Johnsonville)
    • (This is to serve seven people, three with large appetites. Make as many brats as you need.)
  •   6  16 ounce, or 8 12 ounce cans of beer (not the good stuff - after all, you will be cooking it) - or water - or another fizzy drink, like ginger ale
  •  1 large onion, sliced and divided into two piles
  •  A variety of peppers – I used those little bell peppers you can get in yellow, orange and red, and threw in a few slices of green pepper to go with them.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 10 brat buns or hoagie rolls
  • Mustard – don’t skimp on this. Get the best German-style, stone-ground mustard you can find.
So, first we boil the brats in the beer. Empty the cans of beer into a large pot and add half the sliced onions. Prick the brats all over with a fork, and then drop them in. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onions and the peppers. Cook about 15 minutes, or until they’re very soft, stirring and tossing occasionally.

When the brats are done simmering, add them to the skillet with about a quarter cup of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat up a smidge and stir the brats, peppers and onions together until the brats start browning (between 5 and 15 minutes). Add more liquid if necessary to keep the peppers from scorching. As they’re cooking, season with a few grinds from your pepper grinder (or shakes from your shaker).

Split the buns, if they aren’t already sliced. Slather one side of the bun with mustard and add your brat along with as many of the sautéed peppers and onions you desire.

And the corn? I used the microwave method Missy shared with us a few weeks ago, of course! Go here to find that recipe.

Back to 2016 - Memorial Day is a very special day in the US. While Veteran's Day honors soldiers who have served in our armed forces, and Armed Services Day honors those who are currently serving, Memorial Day honors those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

So enjoy your day, but don't forget the reason why we celebrate. :)

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. I've never had a braut, Jan. But LOL my dog absolutely loves Merrick's Brauts-N-Tots.

    We've had a scorching weekend so far (after NO spring), but Memorial Day itself is supposed to be a washout thanks to a certain tropical depression making its way inland.

    Happy Memorial Day to all. I'll be thinking of Jolene's grandfather and all those like him who gave their lives so that we might live in peace.

    1. Or a brat. ;)

      Why does that make me think of Ruthy?

    2. *snicker, snicker* (We can hope that maybe Ruthy won't see this) *snicker, snort*

      We're doing indoor cooking today, too, because we're expecting storms. This morning is awesome, though. I just got back from walking the dogs, and the sunrise was beautiful. I'll enjoy the sunshine until the clouds roll in!

  2. Jan, I had forgotten about this recipe. I'm so glad you shared it again! These look delicious.

    I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day. I'm so grateful to all who have sacrificed for our country.

    1. One thing I love about this recipe is the way the kitchen smells when it's cooking. All those peppers and onions! Mmm....

      Have a great Memorial Day!

  3. Oh, yum! I remember trying these right after you shared the recipe. SO GOOD. And I haven't prepared them since. I think it's time!

    1. They ARE good, aren't they? I think this has become my favorite way to fix brats.

      Happy Memorial Day!

  4. I watched the Memorial Day program on PBS last night. It always gets me choked up. You guys sure know how to honour your military! It's very inspiring.

    1. We try, Kav. But compared to what they've done for us, what we do to honor them is just a frail effort.

      Have a wonderful Monday, Kav!

  5. I am now officially starving.

  6. I must try this!!! And I'm a day off, I was wondering why Mindy was posting on Monday... DUH! Yesterday was Monday, Rufus!!!

    Jan, this looks marvelous, and bless Paula for making it easy! I'm all in!