Thursday, July 10, 2008

recipe: classic german bratwurst

As promised, I'm posting an abbreviated version of the brats we grilled up for my daughter's b-day. I've pulled the ingredient list and steps from the book I mentioned previously, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlmann & Brian Polcyn, which contains some additional tips and details.


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, diced (if you're in MN, buy from Prairie Pride or Farm on Wheels from the St. Paul Farmers' Market)
  • 1 pound lean veal shoulder, diced (could also use venison or beef)
  • 1 pound pork belly or back fat, diced
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper (or black, if you don't have white)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (very important - check out Penzey's)
  • 2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup ice-cold heavy cream
  • 10 feet hog casings, soaked in tepid water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed (I get my from Kramarzcuk's in Minneapolis).
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the eggs and cream and toss well to distribute seasonings. Chill in a bowl until ready to grind.
  2. Grind the mixture through the small die into a bowl set in ice (note: I use the Kitchen-Aid food grinder attachment, which is an excellent tool, but you could also use an old-school manual grinder).
  3. Using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer (or a strong wooden spoon if mixing by hand), mix on low speed (or stir) for 1 minute. Add the eggs and cream, start the mixer on low, and then increase the speed to medium and mix until the cream and eggs are uniformly incorporated and the sausage appears sticky, about a minute longer. Saute a small portion of the sausage and taste; adjust the seasoning if necessary. (Refrigerate the sausage mixture while you do this.)
  4. Stuff the sausage into the hog casings. Twist into 6-inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook. (note: I use the Kitchen-Aid sausage stuffer attachment, which doesn't work very well).
  5. Gently saute, roast, or grill the sausage to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Yes, do not overcook your sausage. You bought the best all-natural meat, correct?
Try it. You will never look at Johnsonville the same way, if you even choose to look at them.

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