Grilled Bratwurst With Beer, Mustard, and Sauerkraut

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Grilled Bratwurst With Beer, Mustard, and Sauerkraut

[Photograph and video: J. Kenji López-Alt]

The key to perfectly cooked sausages on the grill is to start them in a moist bath of flavorful toppings, slow-cooking them to infuse them with flavor and get an even cook, then finish them off over the hot side to crisp and char them.

  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
  • Rated:

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (350ml) beer (almost any beer will do)
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) whole grain mustard
  • 1 (1-pound; 450g) package sauerkraut, with juices
  • 6 thyme sprigs or 3 bay leaves, optional
  • 2 pounds (900g) bratwurst sausages
  • Buns and mustard, for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  2. 2.

    Combine beer, mustard, and sauerkraut in a 10-inch square disposable aluminum pan. (Alternatively, construct a tray out of a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 10 inches square, with sides about 2 inches high.) Stir until mustard is broken up and mixture is homogeneous. Add thyme sprigs or bay leaves (if using). Nestle sausages into sauerkraut.

  3. 3.

    Place tray on hot side of grill and cook until simmering, about 4 minutes. Slide to cooler side of grill. Cover grill, with vents over sausages. Cook with all vents open until sausages register 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes, turning once in the middle.

  4. 4.

    Remove lid. Using tongs, remove sausages from sauerkraut and place directly on cooking grate over hot side of grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes total. Return to sauerkraut. Toast buns over hot side of grill, if desired. Serve sausages with buns, mustard, and sauerkraut from pan.