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

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-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 finishing 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 beer (almost any beer will do)(350ml)
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard (15ml)
  • 1 (1 pound) package sauerkraut, with juices (450g)
  • 6 sprigs thyme or 3 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 pounds bratwurst sausages (900g)
  • Buns and mustard for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the 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 the 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 homogenous. 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 the sausages. Cook with all vents open until sausages register 140° to 145°F 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 grates 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