Why It Works
- Poaching the sausages in a flavorful mixture of beer, sauerkraut, and mustard cooks them through from edge to edge.
- Simmering the sausages in a pan set directly on the grill helps to imbue them with smoky flavor as they cook.
- Finishing the sausages on the hot side of the grill gets their exteriors nicely crisp and charred.
The key to perfectly cooked pork bratwurst on the grill is to start them in a flavorful bath of sauerkraut, beer, and mustard. Slowly simmer the sausages so they're infused with flavor and cook evenly, then finish them off on the hot side to crisp and char.
- 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
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.
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.
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 bratwurst. Cook with all vents open until bratwurst register 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes, turning once in the middle.
Remove lid. Using tongs, remove bratwurst 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 bratwurst with buns, mustard, and sauerkraut from pan.