Don’t mess with tradition. Growing up, cheddar brats were one of my favorite parts of the summer. A snappy, smoky sausage, nestled between a Martin’s potato roll… the stuff that dreams are made of. Now, whenever I indulge in one of these tasty treats, I am rocketed back to my childhood- reluctantly dragging myself out of the lake or out of the woods to the sounds of “LUNCH TIME!!!”. Grubby hands, grabbing food, and chowing it down as quickly as possible so that I could get back to hunting for frogs or pretending to be Anakin Skywalker or whatever else I was doing at the time. I had no idea how good I had it, but digging in to a nostalgic grilled dinner can bring back fleeting glimpses of a simpler time, a simpler life, with less distractions and more freedom. Now, we are resigned to our desks, to our jobs, to our lives, working our asses off for some short fleeting windows of freedom and lack of responsibility. So funny how we spend our entire youth preparing for adulthood, when we should really be holding on to what keeps us young. Holy crap. I need a beer. I’m never going to make my daughter do a damn thing. She will have plenty of time to figure it out once the harsh reality of life sets in, but until then, carefree living is what she’ll get.
Here we are, bringing you nostalgia in a box! I may have gone for a straight up cheddar brat on a plain roll when I was 10, but not, I’ve got a slightly more sophisticated palate. We’ve provided you with all of our favorite toppings, from caramelized onions to kraut, from beer mustard to pickled peppers. All jammed into a Martin’s potato roll, and followed up by some tasty sides.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Some tongs, a couple spoons and forks, some softened butter or olive oil, kosher/sea salt, and a pepper mill!
For the brats:
Schaller & Weber have been making sausages, charcuterie, and smoked meats for over three generations. Their master butcher is the great-grandson of New York City’s meat mogul of the 30’s, and since then, not much has changed about their preparations or standards. They’ve only continued to hone their craft and better their products, and as a result, we get to eat some of the best smoked cheddar brats in the market! These tasty weenies are fully cooked, so we’ll just need to give them some char on the grill before stuffing our buns.
To cook, simply remove the brats from the packaging, and pop them on the grill. We just want to get some nice char marks, and heat them through. Medium heat works best, rotating every so often to evenly caramelize and char the outsides. Should only take about 6-8 minutes, depending on the strength/type of grill you’ve got, to heat these puppies through to perfection. Once they’re hot, transfer them to a cooler/indirect area of the grill to stay warm till you’re ready to fill up a bun.
For the buns:
To grill, or not to grill? I totally understand the appeal of a toasted bun, but sometimes, especially with potato rolls, I find it unnecessary. A soft, cool bun is sometimes a better experience than a toasted one- but try it out! We’ve got enough buns for two per person, so you can do one of each, if you’d like.
To grill, simply open up the rolls, dress lightly with some softened butter or olive oil, and place on a clean, hot section of the grill until crispy and toasted on the edges. Boom. Toasted.
You can warm the caramelized onions beforehand, but I don’t necessarily think you have to. I personally like the texture of them when they are cold, but if you want to get them hot, just place them in a small pot on the corner of the grill while you cook the brats, or microwave them briefly.
Once your buns are good to go, you’re ready for all the toppings! I start with the beer mustard- a generous lather at the bottom of the bun, and then go for caramelized onions. Then, it’s sausage time. Top the brats off with the pickled peppers and a generous pile of kraut. Pop them on a plate, fill the empty space with sides, and step back to admire your work. Proud of you! Happy grilling, and enjoy 🙂