Several great bratwurst debates rage among Wisconsinites: Do you parboil the brats before grilling? (Heresy cry purists.) Do you prick the sausage to release some of the steam and fat? (Not unless you want dried shriveled-out sausage and a raging inferno on your grill.) What's the best method for cooking the brats? (Tradition calls for direct grilling over a moderate fire.)
Being a part time Yankee who spends the rest of the year in Miami, I've sworn not to wade into the controversy. But I've grilled enough brats over the years to have my own preferred method -- one which dodges the risks of setting this highly flammable food on fire while at the same time leaving it astonishingly crusty on the outside; plump and moist inside; and even imbuing it with the soul of American barbecue, a smoke flavor.
You guessed it: My preferred method for cooking brats is indirect grilling with wood smoke. And one of my favorite ways to serve brats is in a Mile-Long Smoked Brat Sandwich, pictured above. You can see how it's made in this Gold Plate Tailgating video.
So what else do you need to know about bratwurst?
- In Germany, there are 42 recognized varieties, most distinguished by their size and the spices used to flavor them. There is even a bratwurst museum in the village of Holzhausen.
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