Diary Of A Comfort Foodie: Race Day Bratwursts

Friday, February 22, 2013 - by Kent Whitaker
- photo by Kent Whitaker

The Daytona 500 is this weekend and fans will be doing something in addition to pulling for Dale Earnhardt Jr, watching Danica Patrick start on the pole and keeping an eye out for the “Big One.” There will be plenty of cooking going on! Tailgating is a tradition at any race but when done at Daytona International Speedway things take one the feel of a big game. After all, the Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s “Super Bowl.”

My wife Ally has already penciled me out as a no-show for Oscar Night even though I may pop in for some Red Carpet activities.

To kick off the racing tailgate season I think a classic recipe for Bratwursts are in order. First, there are about a zillion ways to cook a bratwurst as far as style points go. Some people use a beer bath, some use a fruit juice bath, some use a light marinade bath, and some just toss the things on the grill and go for it. All of the above are fine.

The only stead fast rule is to try your best to not puncture the casing and when done make sure that onions and peppers are involved. Or, look for some of Chattanooga’s own topping named “Slawsa.” It’s my new favorite off the shelf topping for anything on a bun. It’s a combination of slaw and relish that I’ve become slightly addicted to. It’s a Chattanooga product that’s in more and more stores across the country!

Here’s a quick way you can grill up some “Brats” for the Daytona 500

Kent’s Brat Bath

This is really a method more than it is a recipe so feel free to adjust to your taste buds. The whole point of this technique is to make sure your bratwurst stays nice and juicy! The choice of beer will add to the flavor. Play around with different varieties.

1 beer – your choice

2 cups apple juice

4-8 bratwursts

Sliced onions, peppers
Favorite condiments

Directions: Place the beer, bratwurst, apple juice, onions and peppers in a deep sided foil pan and place directly on the grill. Close the lid and allow everything to simmer until bratwursts are beginning to puff up. Keep the pan on the grill but bring each bratwurst out and grill it until golden. Return them to the “bath” and keep them nice and moist until you serve. You can place them back on the grill briefly if you want to get rid of excess moisture. It’s probably a good idea to have additional onions and peppers sliced up as the ones in the bath will be pretty limp at this point. Serve hot on your favorite roll, bun, and bread topped with your favorite items.

Hope you enjoy the recipe and the race because if you can’t be at the race… then you might as well cook like you are! I call it tailgating in place.

(Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author living in Chattanooga. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Mr. Whitaker’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com or @theKentWhitaker)

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