Bratwursts originated in Germany (hence the German name) and have been around since the 14th century. These sausages are generally made from pork, veal, or beef and are usually grilled or fried. True Bratwurst aficionado's never, ever, never eat brats with ketchup. Never. Spicy brown mustard, onions, sauerkraut - YES. Ketchup - no - no - No - NO - NO!!!!!!!!!.
Brats are tremendously tasty right from the grill. Some people pre-cook them to reduce the grilling time. You can boil them in water, or do what most Wisconsinites do and boil them in beer. Here's a recipe straight from Johnsville - they make a mighty fine brat.
Johnsonville Brat Hot Tub (www.johnsonville.com)
(11-inch x 9-inch x 2 3/8-inch) aluminum foil baking pan
2 to 3 cans (12 ounces each) beer*
1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced
Brats - of course you should use Johnsonville brats!
Put the pan right on the grill - pour in the beer, and add the butter and onions. Grill the brats to a juicy, golden-brown perfection. Serve immediately or place brats into the steaming hot tub. Let soak for a while then serve.
*Do what Julia Child always recommends. Never cook with a beer that you wouldn't normally drink. Ok..she said that about wine, but you know what I mean. I suggest a hearty Wisconsin beer. Something from Leinenkugels (www.leinie.com) or New Glarus Brewery (www.newglarusbrewing.com).
Here is a really creative way to serve brats - as an armadillo egg. Not a real egg - doesn't even include an egg. Just an egg-shaped, bacon covered taste sensation!!
6 medium to large jalapeno peppers (remove stem, cut in half and remove all seeds)
Cream cheese or goat cheese
12 slices of bacon
3 grilled bratwursts, cut into 1 inch chunks
Take one half jalapeno and fill with cream cheese. Cover cream cheese with 1/4 of a chunked bratwurst. Wrap all of this in one slice of bacon. You can secure with toothpicks if necessary. Repeat with remaining ingredients. You will have 12 "eggs".
Place on grill (try to have cheese-side up) and cook until bacon is crisp and done. No need to turn. You can also bake these in a 350º oven until bacon is crisp.
Get creative with this recipe. Experiment with different soft cheeses and different meats like sliced chicken or turkey. Don't like the heat of a jalapeno? Try with bell peppers instead (use only 1/4 of a pepper or you'll need more bacon to wrap). Always, I repeat, always, wrap in bacon. No substitutions allowed there.