Brats- another name for bratwurst sausages- are commonly thought of as a summer food. It is something that you would normally eat on a clear, warm afternoon, perfectly grilled and served with a generous serving of sauerkraut on the side. In fact, brats are so entwined with the grilling process that some people can't imagine having them cooked any other way.
How To Cook Brats Without a Grill
But what if you don't have an outdoor grill? If you're asking, "how to cook brats without a grill" - fret not, there are other cooking methods which you can try out. Sure, they may not be the "traditional" way as far as cooking bratwurst sausages go- but they are just as good and delicious as grilling.
Here are some excellent ways with which you can cook brats without a grill:
1. On The Stove, With Butter and Beer
Another popular way of cooking bratwurst is to cook it on a pan with beer and butter. Sounds like a weird combination, but the combo does give a unique kick and pleasing flavor to the sausages that is just irresistible.
First off, take a can of your favorite beer as well as some spices (pepper, cumin, and garlic cloves taste great- but this all boils down to your own personal spice preferences), mix them together, put in a deep pan, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for around ten minutes until the sausages are thoroughly cooked.
Next step is to brown the sausages. Take them out of the liquid and pat them dry with paper towels. In a frying pan, melt some butter and fry the brats in it to brown them. Make sure to turn them on each side so that they would brown evenly. Serve with some caramelized onions or any other condiments of your choosing.
2. Using a George Foreman Grill
This portable, electric grill has been around for a long time, and chances are, you might have one lying around your house right now. The George Foreman grill is probably the best substitute for an outdoor grill, and in some ways, it's even better. Clean up is not only infinitely easier, but cooking your brats this way cuts out a lot of the excess great and fat. It's an easier and healthier option.
To start cooking your sausages, preheat the George Foreman grill to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go up to 400 degrees if you want them to cook faster, but 350 degrees is the sweet spot if you don't want to risk the meat from going too dry, too fast. While the grill is pre-heating, cut your bratwurst links partly in half (kind of like the way you would spatchcock a chicken for cooking), then brush both sides with oil.
Preferably, you can use olive oil, but any other oil with a moderately high smoke point (canola, sunflower, avocado, etcetera) can also be used.
Once the grill has been preheated, throw the spatchcocked bratwurst links into the grill and close the lid. Since the sausages are cut in half, it makes it easier for them to be placed on the grill, and the cooking time is also much faster. Leave them on there for about ten minutes (add in a few more minutes if you're using raw bratwurst), remove from the grill, and serve with condiments of your choice.
3. Plain Boil
It sounds simple, but boiling is a very traditional way of cooking bratwurst. Simple, grab a pot, fill it with water, and bring to a boil. Take your brats, chuck them into the pot. Just make sure that they're not packed too close together- use a larger pot if necessary. Turn down the heat a little, and let it slow boil for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Once the sausages have been cooked, take them out of the water, and serve.
For additional deliciousness, you can opt to add spices in the water. Or you can then further brown the sausages on a frying pan for that crispy texture on the outside.
A Note About Precooked Versus Raw Brats
Bratwurst sausages come in both raw and precooked versions. Better check the kind of bratwurst you do have, since this affects their cooking time greatly. If cooking raw bratwurst, it's best to add around five more minutes of cooking time to ensure that the sausages will be cooked through. Frozen brats also need to be thawed in the fridge overnight before you can cook them properly. Here's a great resource on how to cook raw bratwurst if you're still confused about the process.