Grilled bratwurst served on crusty rolls is a cookout favorite. A common way to go is to start by simmering the brats in beer with sliced onions, then finishing on the grill. But on Chowhound, knucklesandwich wonders: Why simmer a sausage that’s destined to be cooked again on the grill? And why use beer in the first place?

Since you almost always find bratwurst raw in the market or butcher shop, poaching before grilling guarantees it’ll end up fully cooked by the time the casing is crisp and charred. Since you know your brats are already cooked, you don’t have to stress about raw pork or pink centers. And while some say it makes no difference whether you simmer in beer or water, ThanksVille thinks beer adds an important flavor element. But If you want to avoid alcohol, or don’t like the flavor of beer, or even want to try something besides poaching, steam the bratwurst over water containing lots of herb sprigs, suggests EWSflash.

Meanwhile, twodales reverses the whole process, first grilling the sausages and then simmering them in beer with onions. And then there’s LauraLG‘s three-step approach. She simmers brats in beer and onions until cooked through, then grills them, and then puts them in a slow cooker filled with more beer and onions with green peppers and garlic. She thinks it’s great for parties, since you can cook the sausage ahead of time and hold it in the beer bath until your guests are ready.

And once you’re done simmering, don’t throw out the poaching liquid. The onions make a fine condiment for the bratwurst, and you can reduce the beer till it’s syrupy and drizzle it over the sausage, todao says.

Discuss: Why boil brats?

Photo by Chris Rochelle /

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