One of my favorite summer dishes has to be beer bratwurst. The long slow cooking process releases all kinds of great flavors from the beer and the veggies along with it. Follow that by searing them on the grill is the perfect way to have a cookout in the backyard or in my case, apartment. Either way, it’s a great reason to have a bunch of people over for some good food and drink. Unfortunately, beer is obviously not the best of choices since it’s grain based. However, recently I made the happy discovery of hard apple cider thanks in part to my friend Bill over at The Food Lovers Primal Palate. While it’s not the same in terms of flavor, I figure it’s a good enough beer substitute in the beverage format so why not in the braising of bratwurst? The following is something I made for a BBQ I had for my birthday a couple weeks back. I decided to add some jalapeno to my original recipe since cider is inherently sweeter than beer, I figured a sweet and spicy combination would work well. It didn’t disappoint. Another option is hatch chiles since they are currently in season instead of jalapenos.
- 4lbs or 12 individual bratwursts
- 1/2 green pepper sliced
- 1/2 red pepper sliced
- 1/2 orange pepper sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers sliced, seeds optional
- 1 shallot sliced into half moon rings
- 60 oz Hard Cider
- bacon fat
In a large sauce pan or pot, melt bacon fat on medium heat and sweat shallots, peppers and jalapenos for about 2-3 minutes to release some flavor. Add sweated veggies and bratwurst to a crock pot alternating layers of veggies and brats. Pour hard cider into crock pot until liquid just covers the bratwurst and veggie mixture. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Once you have finished slow cooking, remove brats ( be careful as they will have softened somewhat) and place them in a baking dish or other large container to cool. Transfer remaining liquid and veggies to a large pot and reduce by 3/4 on the stove at a medium-low heat, about 2 hours. Once liquid has reduced, preheat grill to high heat and grill brats for 3-4 minutes per side to heat throughout and produce grill marks. Spoon reduced liquid and veggies over brats and enjoy!
Note: If you do not have a crock pot, you can use a french oven or large oven safe pot instead. Set your oven to 250° F and braise for 5 hours. Repeat same steps as above and enjoy.