Before Hitting The Grill, Give Your Brats A Boil

Nothing puts a barb in your summer barbecue like biting into a crisp bratwurst fresh off the grill only to find that it's still pink in the middle (and it's not a smoke ring, like on brisket). It can be a real problem — if you leave the brats on the grill long enough to cook all the way through, they might end up super charred or burnt. Thankfully, there is a way to avoid that fate, and it's something you might not have thought of before: Give your fresh, uncooked brats a quick boiling bath before laying them on the grill.


To do this, you'll place your sausages in a large enough pot or Dutch oven to allow them to lie completely horizontal and fill the pot with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer; let the brats simmer for 10-20 minutes. Get out your meat thermometer, because they're good to grill once their internal temperature hits 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

From there, you can toss them on the grill for three to four minutes on each side or until you've achieved your desired char marks. Grilling really is that easy, and brats are very low-fuss. We should note that if you're cooking bratwurst burgers (meat patties seasoned like bratwurst) instead of links, there is no need to parboil them.


Why you should boil your brats before grilling

While there have been some detractors to the parboiling method, many in the cooking field tout the positives. For one, boiling these tasty sausages ensures that they are cooked through before they hit the grill grates, so you don't have to worry about leaving them on so long that they char or burn before the middle is cooked. It also cuts down on grilling time — especially important if it's just too darn hot to be outside over an open fire (or if your preferred barbecue activity is yapping rather than grilling).


This method for cooking brats, when they are submerged in liquid and gently boiled, also keeps the juices from bursting through the casing, as they so often do when placed raw on a hot grill. It ensures that the insides stay nice and moist while the outside can get nice and crisp, giving each bite that delightful snap. There is also the fact that boiling your brats, depending on what you boil them in, can impart extra flavor.

Boil your brats in beer or brine

While water is perfectly fine for parboiling your brats, you can take the flavor up a notch by giving them a boiling bath in beer. And really, any beer works, from IPAs to stouts to regular old Budweiser; even non-alcoholic beers will do the trick.


You could also make a brine by adding aromatics like onion and garlic, as well as herbs (fresh or dried) like thyme, sage, or oregano, to a few bottles of beer in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Be sure to include salt and pepper (whole peppercorns would be great here).

Add the brats and refrigerate, covered, for 3 to 12 hours. Once the time is up, you're going to put the whole pot on the stove and bring it to a gentle boil. Then simmer for the requisite 10-20 minutes, remove the sausages from the pot, and lay them out on your grill for a few minutes on each side.