Grilled brats in beer are perfect for outdoor parties, camping, tailgating or just about any time you want a delicious, fun and easy dinner idea. While it may seem easy to cook good bratwurst, there is a sure-fire method for cooking amazing brats in beer that results in a moist inside and crispy, caramelized outside. This is destined to become one of your favorite bratwurst recipes.
Braising brats in beer and onions before grilling them deepens the flavor of the bratwurst and is a favorite way to make juicy brats. After simmering in the onions and beer the brats are grilled quickly for nicely browned casings. The brats can then be finished with the richly flavored caramelized onions, placed on lightly grilled buns and topped with your favorite fixings. Pure dinnertime bliss!
⭐ What Makes This the Best Way for Grilling Brats
To make tailgate worthy brats, we first sauté onions in butter and oil until just softened. Then, we boil brats in beer for some serious extra flavor. The brats are then seared on the grill for a nicely browned casing.
Both a gas grill and a charcoal grill work great for these delightful German sausage.
The caramelized onions in beer add deep rich flavor that is perfect for bratwurst.
Simmering the bratwurst first helps cook the brats evenly throughout eliminating any uncooked internal spots and overcooked casings.
Grilling the bratwurst over medium heat reduces the risk of splitting the casings and letting all the juiciness disappear.
Not only do we finish by searing the brats on the grill, we continue simmering the onions and beer until the liquids are reduced, and the onions are deliciously caramelized.
🔪 How To Make Perfect Brats
- Preheat a gas grill or charcoal grill to medium heat.
- Place a cast-iron skillet directly on the grill grates and add the oil and butter. Heat until the butter is melted and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes or until just softened. Pour in the beer and heat until simmering. Add the bratwurst to the skillet and nestle them down into the onions and beer.
- Close the lid of the grill and cook, turning the brats occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the onions are caramelized, the bratwurst is lightly browned and the internal temperature reaches brats registers and internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using tongs, transfer bratwurst to the the grill grates and grill, turning often, 3 to 5 minutes or until they are browned on all sides. While you are grilling the bratwurst, continue simmering the onions in the skillet until the liquid has cooked off and the onions are caramelized, about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grill the buns, cut-side down, 1 minute or until golden. Place the buns near the side of the grill where the heat is closer to medium-low so you don't risk burning the buns.
- Using tongs, transfer the brats to a serving platter and let rest a few minutes until ready to serve.
- You can either serve the brats with the onions and buns alongside or place the brats on the buns for serving.
🌡️ Cooking time can vary between different grills and the cooking process. Always check the internal temperature of the brats before eating. The safe temperature for bratwurst is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA. I remove the brats at 160 degrees as the internal temperature will rise while resting.
💭 Tips for Seriously Good Brats in Beer
Fresh Brats. You want to use fresh sausage not precooked. Your local butcher shop is always a great place to find fresh brats. Two of my favorites are Johnsonville brats or Usinger's bratwurst. Both of these are made in Wisconsin so you know they are going to be great. Choose whichever flavor you prefer, just as long as they are fresh bratwurst.
Beer. A pilsner or lager beer work bests for simmering brats and onions. Stouts or other heavier beers overpower the taste of the bratwurst.
Caramelizing. Onions get perfectly caramelized when they are cooked slowly. Don't rush this step! It only takes a bit longer for wonderful caramelization that it does for partially simmered onion or worse yet, burnt onions.
Tongs. Do not use a fork or other sharp utensil as you risk piecing the bratwurst and loosing all of it's delicious juices. Silicone coated tongs are the best choice for this task.
Meat Thermometer. Use a high quality instant-read meat thermometer to know exactly when your brats are cooked thoroughly. It also prevents you from overcooking your brats and drying them out.
Buns. Bratwurst buns or hoagie buns work best for grilled brats in beer and any condiments you may add. Hot dog buns will not do the trick as they are too flimsy.
- Replace one of the onions with a green or red bell pepper that has been seeded and sliced into strips.
- Omit the beer and boil the brats in water or chicken broth.
- If using water instead of beer for the boiling process, you can add apple cider or apple juice to taste.
Try the many different flavors of bratwurst sausages such as cheddar brats, beer brats with beer already in brat, spicy brats with a whole variety of chili peppers, Cajun-style and more.
Change up the beer flavor by preparing the beer bath using a good German beer.
Cooked brats can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. To reheat, arrange them in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat on the grill or the stove top. Turn the bratwurst occasionally until heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Uncooked brats can be frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, place brats in the refrigerator overnight before making this brats recipe.
🥗 What To Serve With Beer Brats
Favorite condiments such as ketchup, mustard, prepared horseradish, chopped raw onions, sautéed bell peppers, sauerkraut and pickles make the perfect toppings for grilled brats.
For an epic grilled meal, I highly recommend making Elote, an excellent grilled Mexican street corn that you can make on the hot grill along with your brats.
This sure-fire recipe for grilled bratwurst is hands down the best way to cook brats! Infuse your brats in beer with serious flavor by simmering them in beer and onions. Then serve them with the caramelized onions and any of your other favorite toppings.
Grilled Brats in Beer
- 2 12 ounce cans pilsner beer 12 ounces each
- 2 onions halved and sliced ¼-inch thick
- 6 uncooked bratwurst
- 6 brat buns split
- Preheat a gas grill or charcoal grill to medium heat.
- Place a cast iron skillet on the grill grates and add the oil and butter. Heat until the butter is melted, swirling the skillet to coat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes or until just softened. Pour in the beer and heat until simmering. Add the bratwurst to the skillet and nestle the brats in the onions.
- Close the lid of the grill and cook, turning the brats often, for 20 minutes or until the onions are caramelized, the bratwurst is lightly brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into center of the brats registers 160°F.
- Using tongs, transfer bratwurst to the the grill grates and grill, turning often, 3 to 5 minutes or until they are browned on all sides. Continue simmering the onions in the skillet, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has cooked off and the onions are caramelized.
- Meanwhile, grill the buns, cut-side down, 1 minute or until golden.
- Using tongs, transfer the brats to a serving plate and let rest a few minutes until ready to serve. Serve the brats with the onions and buns alongside.
- Serve with ketchup, mustard, prepared horseradish, chopped raw onions, sautéed bell peppers, or pickles alongside the bratwurst.