Last week, I posted a piece from DCFoodies on Oktoberfest celebrations in the area along with a receipe for bratwurst and German potato salad. The receipe looks wonderful, but a bit… non-traditional by heartland standards.
Oh, my gosh. That’s not how you do it! I grew up in Sheboygan County WI, home to Johnsonville, Brat Days (yes, days are necessary to celebrate the brat), and an artificial drinking age.
The real way to do this is to slow boil your Johnsonville brats in vats of cheap beer, with onions (I have a secret ingredient, but I’m not sharing). After the brats have changed color, they go on the grill. While they are being served they go back into a beer and onions bath.
Ideally you need Sheboygan hard rolls, but they are not to be found in DC… a regular crusty hamburger roll will have to do. I think sauerkraut is weird, and the brats have such a great flavor, that a little grainy mustard is all you need.
I grew up in the Midwest, in downstate Illinois (it’s the equivalent, more or less, of upstate New York). Later, I lived in Chicago for 10 years. Home to millions of people of German or part German descent, sausages are important food group in the Midwest. This is especially true in Chicago with its huge populations of Germans, Poles and Czechs. Lots of varieties of sausages, including the German bratwurt or “brat” and different sausages of Polish persuasion. Some German delis are still operating on the north side of the city.
Until the last few years, the choice of brats in local D.C. supermarkets was disappointing, maddening. It’s gotten better with the influx of more sophisticated food stores. The DCFoodies blog has had some posts about upcoming Oktoberfest… so, courtesty of the DC Foodies, here is a recipie for brats and grilled German Potato Salad:
Bratwurst and grilled German potato salad
(Makes 5 hearty servings)
For the bratwurst
1 five-foot bratwurst (or 10 traditional six-inch brats)
10 buns (optional)
1 lb. sauerkraut (never optional when grilling brats)
For the grilled German potato salad
2 ½ lbs. of fingerling potatoes
2 dozen red pearl onions, pealed and skewered
6 slices of black pepper bacon, cut into lardons (1 inch pieces)
1 clove of garlic, minced finely
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbs. stone ground mustard
6 tbs. canola oil
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Read entire post, with cooking instructions and a recommendation on where to buy your brats. Scroll down the page as this was posted September 22. Also, I have to tell you, Borderstanians, that I find grilled German Potato Salad a bit… unnerving. In the Midwest, we boil the potatoes until they surrender.