Skeptical: Boiling brats in beer before grilling

bratwurst should never be placed directly on the grill without bathing it in said beer first. “Only a fool would just put the brats on the grill to cook them,” I was told by every single one of my fellow campers.

But as someone who doesn’t make brats on a regular basis, letting encased meat soak in a vat of beer before cooking it wasn’t exactly the first thing that came to mind. So while this might disgrace my Midwestern upbringing, should you really boil brats in beer before grilling them? 

(Via Quinn Myers in MEL Magazine)

One of the theories as to why boiling brats in beer helps is that it makes the collagen in the casing tougher. While that might be true, I don’t know of anyone who eats a brat that says, “Boy, I wish that was tougher!”

Will boiling the brats help them cook faster? Sure. But the beer imparts no flavor to the process. Why? The afore mentioned casing. Modern casings won’t absorb additional flavor any more than old school intestines will. However, particulates and impurities might stick to the casing and that might end up with a tasty char.

If you want to boil brats in advance so they will be cooked through, do it in water.

I’m not a food scientist, so don’t take my word for it. Check out other sources or run a blind test of brats boiled in beer or water and both grilled. See if there’s a difference.


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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.