My beautiful grill. Sigh... I think I'll call her "Josie."
Erin's parents got me a new Char Broil for my birthday, and it's mostly a thing of beauty. The only drawback is the igniter. Press the button and the sideburner will pop on just fine, but it just can't get the main burners going for whatever reason. Very frustrating. We even tried replacing the electrode (the astonishingly helpful customer service people at Char Broil sent us a replacement kit, on their dime, no less), and it worked exactly once. It's a frustrating problem, but pretty easy to work around until my father-in-law and I can get it fixed for real (if ever). I just open the gas bottle, stick one of those grill lighters through one of the bottom exhaust vents, turn on the burner gas jets and pray I don't set my head on fire.
(And yes, I'm one of those gas grill heathens. I agree wholeheartedly that charcoal grilling does indeed taste better, as well as making the neighborhood smell terrific, but I don't have the time, patience or general inclination needed to keep the damn fire going. Alton Brown would be so disappointed in me, I'm sure.)
But that one little problem aside, the grill is a thing of beauty, and I got to break it in right last weekend with the year's first cookout. Nothing fancy, just some burgers, potatoes and Bill's Semi-Famous Bratwurst (formerly known as Fishy Pat's Semi-Famous Bratwurst, but he lives 3 states away so I can now claim local ownership), but definitely a great note to start things off on, especially the brats, which you all should make for yourselves sometime. Here's how:
- Get yourself some bratwurst. If you can get the straight-from-the-butcher-shop, uncooked variety, great. If not, a package or two of regular ol' Johnsonville brats will do just fine.
- Poke some fork holes in the bratwurst and boil them in beer for 20-30 minutes. The amount of beer needed depends on the number of sausage being cooked and the size of the pot you're using. Generally, one package of Johnsonville bratwurst (5 per package) requires 3-4 cans of beer. If you're feeding a lot of people, you may need a whole six pack or more. You can use any kind of beer you like for this, but given the amount you may need, and the fact that you won't get to drink any of it, it's wiser (and certainly more cost-efficient) to use, say, Natural Ice, than something like Magic Hat #9 or Newcastle Brown Ale.
- After boiling, the bratwurst will be the sickest, most unappetizing gray color you've ever see. This is perfectly normal. Throw 'em on a Medium-to-High heat grill to add color and those ever-popular grill marks. These things have been fairly thoroughly soaked in alcohol, so be careful of flare-ups. Length of grilling time is based on personal preference. And if you like them best on the well-done side like I do, close the grill cover to really put the spurs to 'em.
Whenever I've made these for people in the past, they've always gone over really well (usually leading to a pile of uneaten burgers and dogs). It's amazing to me that something so tasty can also be so simple. There's a million variations you can do during the cooking process, I'm sure, but I like to keep it pretty simple. If you do decide to experiment, let me know what you did and how it all worked out.