Monday, June 27, 2016

Bratwurst Bar

One of my favorite local spots to have a casual date night or even group hang (do the kids even day hang anymore?) is a place called Brat Haus. We love it so much we even hosted out rehearsal dinner there for our wedding. Casual benches placed among an outdoor covered/uncovered patio complete with life-size jenga games, an entire chalkboard wall covered in unique art, and the best damn brats this side of the Mississippi (I cannot confirm or deny this fact, but it felt good to say it). This post is an ode to the Haus, and my own twist on how to serve up brats on a warm summer day, and my two favorite toppings to go with. The hot pepper relish is just that. Hot. But you can tone up or down the flavors depending on the types of peppers you use. Don't like heat? Omit the habanero. Or go turbo and add in a ghost pepper or two. The perfect match to hot pepper relish? Sweet and savory caramelized beer onions. While they do look a bit like worms and extremely difficult to make look appetizing in a photo, you'll just have to trust me on their delicious factor. This is a great way to gather friends and family for a casual, no fuss brat bar, because all of the prep can be done up to a week ahead of time! Take that, summer!

Bratwurst Bar
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 6 egg hot dog buns
  • garnishes (such as shredded cheddar, mustard, crushed potato chips, chutney, etc.)
Hot Pepper Relish
  • 2 cups chili peppers (I used a mix of red bell pepper, red chiles, and habanero), chopped into evenly sized pieces
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
Caramelized Beer Onions
  • 2 large onions, sliced evenly
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 beer (I used a Scottish ale)

To make the hot pepper relish, add all ingredients into a medium-sized pot and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

To make the caramelized onions, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add in the sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and beer. Simmer on medium-low until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before using.

Grill your favorite brats over medium-high heat until char marks appear. Serve hot in split hot dog buns, topped with hot pepper relish, caramelized beer onions, or your own personal favorite toppings. 

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