I remember my very first cookout in Wisconsin. It was my freshman year and a number of residents from the floor of my dorm came out to the communal grills in our courtyard. I can’t quite recall who exactly supplied the food, but what does ring vividly in my mind is one question that seemed to echo from everyone’s mouths.
“Where are the brats?!”
As I listened to one Badger after another ask this, my first thought was “what the f*&! is a brat?” For those that are as ignorant to the food as I was 18 years ago, let me explain.
A brat is EVERYTHING! To be more specific, it is the pork shoulder of sausages. Brats are fatty, flavorful and can be cooked in a number of ways. And the way I learned to cook them was from my dear friend Timothy who became one of my best friends and resources for all things Wisconsin.
The only way to cook a brat, he told me, is to braise it first. And traditionally, the braise consists of nothing more than beer. From that day on, I made sure I gave myself extra time to braise my brats whenever I prepared them. But during a recent trip down memory lane in my kitchen here in Miami Beach, as I started to get my ingredients ready for this staple Wisconsin dish, I dreadfully discovered I had no beer in the house. Only wine. And from there came this recipe.
White Wine Brats give you every bit of flavor as beer brats do. Adding the onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes do nothing but vault this dish to unseen heights. What better time to make this dish than at the height of football season? So check this recipe out. And on the next game day, experience why every tailgate and watch party in the state of Wisconsin has an abundance of these on hand.
White Wine Brats
(serving size – 4 brats)
For the brats:
2 cups white wine (pinot grigio)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thick
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tb butter
1 tb olive oil
Heat the butter and olive oil in a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. Brown the brats for 4 minutes on each side. Remove the brats and add the onion. Brown for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute.
Return the bratwursts to the pot. Add the white wine and simmer vibrantly for 45 minutes with the lid on until the sausages are tender. Remove the lid and raise the heat to a boil. Cook down the liquid (should take about 15-20 minutes).
Serve warm in potato buns alongside the caramelized onions and your choice of condiments.
- If you have access to a grill, save the browning process for the end. Braise the brats in the pot and once the liquid has cooked down and the sausages are tender, place the brats on the grill for a few minutes on each side until the skin of the sausages has slightly crisped, offering a great contrast in flavor and texture.
- No wine on hand? Go old school by substituting the vino with your favorite beer or even prosecco. The end result will be equally delicious!