Read The Laughing Chef's bio and previous columns


July 9, 2008

When a Little Rain Falls, Make a Boiling Shelter for Your Brats


Grilling bratwursts are to summer what Santa Claus is to Christmas. You may have one without the other, but it is violation of a law that remains to this date unwritten.


Most people will claim to have their own way of grilling brats, beginning with the medium heating.  Others will bicker over bun size – either one sized properly for oversized meat tubes or a traditional hot dog bun, which will make the brat look bigger.


Others will insist that they must top their brat with strips of green pepper and onion, while others prefer the more austere, mustard-only approach. The idea of naught but ketchup is so offensive that in more civilized quarters it is considered an assault on meat-related decency, and an underground movement is afoot to make this a jailable offense.


Few would argue that you kick things off by first heating the grill – either cooking charcoal to ash over, or simply by turning on the gas – and then by placing your brats on a plate and approaching the grill with that in one hand, long-handled fork in the other.


You walk outside, and begin to sidle up to the grill. From the sky, however, comes the rumble of thunder, rain drops begin to pelt your chef’s hat. From your grill comes steam and the sound of sizzling. Your desire to grill has ended in complete failure.


Yet, you still have your brats, and wish to honor them in a way that does not offend the standards of meat-related decency (perhaps you are part of the underground movement hoping to make this kind of thing illegal).


Here is what you do.


Fill one pot with water and begin the boiling process. In another, heat some chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes will release their juices, which will make what is in your pot particularly watery.


To this, add some chopped onion and green pepper, and also some minced garlic and dried oregano. Cut the brats into inch-thick slices and dump those in. The brats will plump as they cook, breaking the bonds of the sausage casing, and forming what appear to be little meatballs.


The purpose for the oregano is that the brats, green pepper and onion were planning to get together on your bun, and will be happy to be united no matter the circumstances. This will leave the tomato as a fourth wheel at a party for which only two invitations were sent by the host (in this case, the brats). And while garlic is welcome at any party, oregano helps to keep the tomatoes company and to prevent a sense of abandonment from creeping into your food.


Into the other pot, when the water is boiling, dump some pasta. This is an alternative to the bun, and better equipped to stand up to water.


Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, and once the tomatoes are cooked down, blend the two together. It isn’t a brat on a bun, but it’ll work on a rainy day.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column #TLC092. Request permission to publish here.

Op-Ed Writers
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Gregory D. Lee
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Writers
Mike Ball
Bob Batz
The Laughing Chef
David J. Pollay
Business Writers
Cindy Droog
D.F. Krause