While brats are usually considered to be a tailgate food that is prepared within the context of a large grilling situation, they are just as easily prepared right inside your own home.
These tailgate occasions are likely to be an exception rather than a normal day in the kitchen, therefore, it becomes important to know how to prepare brats outside of those special days.
Fortunately, there are a number of other ways to cook these delicious items that are both convenient and simple enough to do on a regular basis. Here are four other options that can be accomplished easily in most kitchens.
Baked in an Oven
Bratwurst can be combined into a number or different recipes by just placing them in the oven for awhile. About fifteen minutes at 350 degrees should be enough to cook them thoroughly and have your brats ready to be added to any meal.
Keep turning them every few minutes for the best results and an even texture throughout each piece. When they come out of the oven, always be sure to check that they are cooked thoroughly as a precaution and place them back inside for a few additional minutes if necessary.
You can also cook other accompanying items such as potatoes at the same time.
On the Stovetop
If you have a skillet or even a grill pan, brats can be easily prepared on your stovetop in minutes. A thorough coating of butter on the pan along with additional vegetables for flavor is a good way to start.
Once the pan is hot and the stove is set at medium to high heat, you can add the brats and cook them for about five minutes on each side.
Adding additional items such as sauerkraut and beer the last few minutes that they are in the pan is also a common technique to add additional flavor and create a more varied meal.
Much like their closely related cousins the hot dog, bratwurst is easily cooked in boiling water. This is probably the simplest and most convenient option for cooking brats without a grill.
Once water is boiling in a large pot on your stove, add as many brats as you want and let them steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
A common technique is to also add some beer to the boiling water for additional flavor, or lower the heat and slow cook them for a fuller taste.
In a Smoker
Smokers are generally a way of slow cooking at lower heat. This is done with the smoke that rises and gradually cooks through the meat over hours rather than in a span of about 10 to 20 minutes as with the other options.
The smoker is best left for times when you have an entire day to cook. Each individual smoker has its own instructions for use such as adding water, wood chips, or other ways to get additional flavoring.
In most situations, expect to leave the brats in the smoker for at least two or three hours at a higher temperature, or even longer for lower and slower cooking.
It will be beneficial if you are already experience with smoking and have made similar items successfully in the past such as smoked sausage.
A Note on Cooking
With any of these methods, your own cooking times may vary depending on your individual stove, oven, smoker, and entire kitchen setup.
Use methods such as an internal thermometer or checking the insides to make sure the brats are completely done before serving. Most brats develop a crisp exterior and some browning when they are thoroughly cooked.
Always use basic cooking safety to make sure each method is done at the right temperatures and raw or undercooked food is not served.
With these simple tips, it is easy to leave the grill behind forever and enjoy brats throughout the year. This popular and versatile food item actually has a number of different ways to be cooked and served, so search around and get creative with some new ideas on a classic staple of tailgating.