My Dad’s Beer Basted Bratwurst for Octoberfest

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Beer Basted BratwurstMaybe 15 years or so ago, Larry and I helped my folks with one of their wild parties.  On the menu: Beer Basted Bratwurst.  My parents have a “gang;” their decades-long connection is St. John Fisher grammar school, all the gang’s assorted kids started there. We lived on The Peninsula (they still do), a horsey, remote enclave south of LA, atop a hill. You only went “down the hill” to get something you couldn’t get “on the hill.” That means, like any small town, everyone knew everyone else. Scoring a spot in my folks’ gang thus required the SFJ Catholic connection.

Last weekend, we were invited to an Octoberfest dinner by friends Frank and Val. We had the brat assignment. Brats from Wisconsin are darn tasty (it’s a small pork sausage). Octoberfest means a lot to Wisconsonians, including my dad.  Beer… need I say more? Ray Mathys’ signature recipe is beer basted bratwurst. Back to that party long ago, Larry was involved in the brats and grilled about a hundred that day. Those of you who know my dad know he’s good at getting other people to do work for him. Quite the Huck Finn, which lead Larry to hone beer basting bratwurst grilling skills.

Here are my dad’s instructions via email. He is only 86 years old and wouldn’t share a computer with my mom, so they both have their own. Emails with recipes from my dad are the best.

Beer Basted Bratwurst by Ray Mathys

basting brat “The brats are available at Ralphs or Vons.  Johnsonvile brats  from Sheboygan or near there.  Stack them in a pot like cord wood and cover with cheap beer.  Chop up a good size onion.  Bring the beer to a 1 or 2 minute boil ( blanch ) and turn off fire. dip out a half a sauce pan of the beer and add about 3 or 4  table spoons of brown sugar.  This is for basting to get them golden brown.  Take the pot of blanched brats and the sauce pan of beer with the brown sugar in it out to the grill and start BBQing them over a moderate flame,  Using some long tongs, keep dipping the brats in the sauce pan to keep them moist and to build up a golden brown crust.  at this point,  they should be ready to eat.  I forgot to mention that you poke them full of holes with a sharp fork  before stacking them in the pot to let the juice soak into the brats. They should melt in your mouth.  Best served with German potato salad and Bush beans plus any other good stuff.   No Packer game would be with out it.”

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Justin November 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Now this is what I’m talking about! I’ve been looking for a better way to cook my brats, and this sounds like a very tasty alternative! I will try it once I get everything that I need for the recipe!

2 Worth The Whisk October 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

Barbara, my folks talk about Mimi all the time. Let’s hoist a crisp Chard to her at our next dinner!

3 Barbara Goen October 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

oh, Patti……..this one brought tears! “Mimi” would have loved it. But only if she could have had hers with a crisp Chardonnay.

4 Don Odiorne October 27, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Love the addition of the onions to the beer brats and never would have ever thought of using brown sugar. Going to try it on one of those evenings when it is mild enough to BBQ on the back deck.


5 Worth The Whisk October 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

Julie – my visits to the Old Country (Wisconsin, to our family) have been just a few, and always Kewaunee focused. Gotta get me to Maders now!!

6 Julie M. October 16, 2010 at 6:01 am

I had to stop by when I saw this post. I grew up in Wisconsin; Menomonee Falls for part and Appleton for the rest. Bratwurst is just so “Wisconsin” and bratwurst and beer is the only way to eat them! Have you ever ventured down to Maders in Milwaukee and tried their bratwurst? Sheer German heaven.

7 LimeCake October 15, 2010 at 3:26 am

those look pretty darn good! never heard the term “brats” before!

8 Worth The Whisk October 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Kewaunee, to be exact. Same with my mom. Current population 2,700. More brats than peeps!

9 heather October 14, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I knew immediately from the title that your dad had to be from Wisconsin. Good man. Great brats. EXCELLENT state.



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