Monday, September 4, 2017

Midwestern Style Brats

Happy Labor Day!!!
Here in the Black Hills, we' (?) the same heat and drought conditions we had five years ago, when I first posted this recipe. Since then, and because of that summer drought, we replaced our charcoal grill with a gas grill. But I still love this recipe!

Our drought conditions are quite ironic when you think of the flooding in the wake of that storm that hit Texas and continues to wreak havoc through the central southeast. One of my friends refuses to write the name of the storm, preferring "he-who-must-not-be-named."

But as we continue to pray for the millions of people who have been affected by Harvey, and the additional millions affected by the heat, drought and fires in the northwest and in California, we still celebrate the holidays.

After all, traditions are important - and even more so when the world is so chaotic.

So enjoy your Labor Day!

Jan's Midwestern Style 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 on 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 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 (buy the cheapest you can find) - or substitute water - or experiment with ginger ale or another fizzy drink - or use non-alcoholic beer
  •  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. Empty the cans of beer or other beverage of your choice 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.

Isn't that a great Labor Day meal?


  1. Yes, the weather is all topsy-turvy this year. We've had record rainfalls (though nothing like Texas!) all summer long and now it's gotten cooler (yay) earlier than it should. I hope that trend keeps up through the fall. Labor Day marks the last day of freedom for our school age kids around here and from the sounds of things they are making the best of it! Enjoy your labor day, Jan and family.

  2. Jan, we had family in town this weekend (the kids came home!) so I missed your post. But yummy! I still need to try this!

    We had hotdogs for Labor Day but didn't grill them. I just did them in the skillet. :)