The Reason Simmering Bratwurst In Beer Before Grilling It Is A Good Idea

Not much can compare to the flavor of a juicy grilled bratwurst. However, nailing that combo of juicy on the inside and charred on the outside can be more difficult than it seems. The internet is full of tips and hacks for perfect brats, but one particular method is tried and true: simmering the sausages in beer before they hit the grill. Beer brats evoke such a specific flavor memory and expectation, so nothing is worse than biting into a brat that's overcooked and dry or, even worse, undercooked and raw. 

To save the cookout, try beer braising, a great way to not only ensure an even and consistent cook on your brats, but also impart a unique flavor, Chowhound suggests. The process is simple enough: Just submerge the sausages into your beer of choice and simmer them until they're fully cooked. Finally, grill the brats until the outer casing is charred to your liking before loading them up with your favorite toppings. So, what advantages does this method bring that you couldn't get from grilling alone?

Even cooking is the name of the game

Nothing ruins a summer afternoon of grilling quite like an undercooked brat. One of the biggest advantages to pre-cooking a brat in beer, according to Chowhound, is that it will ensure that the brat is fully cooked even before it meets the grill. With just grilling alone, you run the risk of overcooking the outside of the sausage before the inside is done. This is simply because of the sheer level of heat on a grill, which can char the exterior of the brat without fully heating the interior, leading to sausage with uneven doneness and an unappealing texture.

If you slowly simmer your brats in beer before grilling them, though, they'll be fully cooked first and can then be finished briefly on the grill for a quick char only. Jesse Denes, the vice president of Schaller & Weber (a New York City authority on all things German and meat), told Chowhound, "The whole idea is you want to get it cooked through pretty evenly before you start to crisp up the outside. So you get that snap and that bite and a little bit of that char."

Why use beer instead of water?

If the simmering step is all about pre-cooking the brat, why use beer instead of, say, water? For some, the idea behind the beer is all about the hoppy flavor that complements the meat. A Chowhound reader going by the screen name of Thanksville told the site, "We've used everything from an IPA to a porter, Guinness to Sam Adams and found distinct flavor profiles with each beer," which suggests that no matter which type of beer you choose, you'll be in for a major flavor payoff.

You may still be wondering how much of a taste beer can really impart when it has to make its way through a tough sausage casing. BBQ Dragon says the secret is to go low and slow. This way, you give your brat enough time to gradually absorb all the moisture and flavor nuances of the beer. Plus, the beer bath can soften the casing, making it less likely to burst once it hits the grill and more likely to lock in all those delicious beer-y juices.