There is truly nothing more delicious than grilled brats in the summertime. Of course, I do love a good bourbon as well, so I thought to myself, why not mix the two? That’s just what I did. These bourbon bathed bratwursts turned out amazing, and I think you’ll love them too!
Traditionally, grilled brats are nestled into a beer and onion bath until they are ready to serve. My recipe steeps the uncooked brat in a warm bath before grilling, with the option of returning them to the broth after. The reason for doing this is so the sausages can soak up as much bourbon flavor and aroma as possible. Don’t worry, though; the bourbon flavor does not overpower the bratwursts. Now that I’ve piqued your interest let’s walk through how to make the best brats of your life.
What you need to make bourbon bathed bratwursts:
- You’ll need good quality bourbon. I used the standard 10 year Four Roses Bourbon for this recipe. Not only is it one of my “go-to” spirits, but it pairs quite well with grilled and barbecued proteins.
- Next, you’ll need some low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, either store-bought or homemade. I felt that beef broth had too deep of a flavor to pair with bourbon. The last thing I wanted was for the broth and bourbon to fight over flavor dominance. Beef pairs well with red wine, while bourbon needs a milder liquid like chicken or vegetable broth to really shine.
- Vinegar. I chose to use apple cider vinegar for the bourbon bath as it offers a nice bite and carries a nice fruity undertone. You can also use distilled vinegar but stay clear of balsamic.
- Buns and condiments. I love a good pretzel bun for this recipe, but any hot dog bun will do. Serve these sausages with a good grainy mustard, some fresh crunchy sauerkraut, and chopped white onion.
- Finally, it would be best to use good-quality brats. We sourced ours from Porter Road, and they were fantastic! However, you can find great bratwursts at your local grocery store. Ask your butcher for their recommendations.
If you plan to return the brats to the bath after grilling them, make sure to reheat the liquid on your stovetop for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. Doing this will kill off any bacteria left behind from the raw brats. Let the mixture cool slightly before placing the cooked brats in them. You can also make up two batches if you are entertaining a large gathering. Use the first batch as instructed in the recipe, and place the second batch in a slow-cooker over low heat. Take the bratwursts straight from the grill to the slow-cooker, cover, and let your guests help themselves to these awesome bourbon bathed bratwurst when they are ready.
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Bourbon Bathed Bratwursts
- 6 bratwursts
- For bourbon bath:
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup bourbon Four Roses Bourbon
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 bay leaf
- In a medium-sized pot, add all bourbon ingredients, and simmer over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Carefully add brats to the bath; we don’t want them to break!. Cover the pot and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Remove brats from the bath and place them onto a large plate or cutting board.
- Add bratwursts on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until there is a nice golden brown color with grill marks present. You can also slice them ¾ of the way through (lengthwise) and grill them. Shorten the cooking time if choosing to do the latter.
- Once done, remove brats from the grill, and serve with your favorite mustard and sides. These make excellent sausage sandwiches too.