Recipe: Honest Bison Bratwurst and Brussels sprouts sauerkraut

Bison Bratwurst from the The Honest Bison
Bison Bratwurst from the The Honest Bison

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2016 – Tired of hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken?  Are you looking for a unique, and healthier, grill treat?  This Memorial Day is a great time to grill and serve up something super special: bison bratwurst with health sauerkraut.

This recipe is great for a backyard party because you can prepare it in the kitchen the day before, and then finish it on the grill for your guests, letting you spend time having fun instead of just cooking.

Lower in both calories and fat, bison is a tasty, health-conscious alternative to beef and chicken.  Bison offers B Vitamins with a serving containing 14 percent of the DV for riboflavin, 16 percent of the DV for niacin, 17 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6 and 41 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12.  Bison is also loaded with health minerals, DV for iron, phosphorous, zinc and selenium.

Bison is also heart healthy and according to a “Nutrition Research” study (April 2013) eating bison involved a smaller increase in triglyceride levels and no increase in the markers of inflammation. (Adapted from Livestrong)

Bratwurst from The Honest Bison
Bratwurst from The Honest Bison

Bison Bratwurst and Brussels sprouts sauerkraut .

1 lb. (4 brats) Bison Bratwurst (you can also use chicken or pork bratwurst) warmed to no longer cool to the touch

1 onion, sliced

1 bottle of bock-style beer*

2 cups beef broth (or bison broth made with The Honest Bison’s soup bones!)

2 tbsp. organic, unsalted, butter

3 cups sauerkraut, drained *tip

1 cup Brussels sprouts (may be cut in half, quarters or julienned)

1/4 cup of shaved carrot

Sea salt and pepper to taste


Heat a tall-sided skillet or wide, shallow pot over medium-high heat.

Caramelize onion in a bit of butter, add beer and when very warm, but not boiling, add The Honest Bison bratwurst.

Simmer, turning* brats occasionally, until beer is reduced to a syrupy consistency and onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes.

You want to cook almost done at this time, but not overcook the bratwurst.  Do not boil the beer jus as it will cause the “skin” casing on the brats to burst, and they will lose their juice and flavor.  You want to make it very warm, not scalding.

Remove brats* and add beef/bison broth to the pan, scraping the bottom until mixture is fully incorporated and bring broth to a full boil until reduced to syrupy consistency. Be careful that it doesn’t burn off.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add two tablespoons of butter, scraping up the caramelized bits in the pan. If consistency is too thick, add reserved sauerkraut juice in small quantities to the pan. You can also add beer or more broth, depending on your tastes. Just keep it moist so the vegetables do not stick to the pan, not soupy.

Add Brussels sprouts and carrot to the pan and cook, until greens are wilted and slightly caramelized.

Add sauerkraut and mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Sauerkraut tips:

  • An old Polish trick to perfect sauerkraut is to “squeeze out the sour”.  Empty canned or bagged (preferred) sauerkraut into a colander and let drain well into a second dish.  When fully drained, with the knuckles of your fist or a small jar or glass, push down on the kraut, and squeeze out the sour.  Let drain well.
  • If the sauerkraut is still too sour to your taste, you can make a rou from 2 tbs. of melted butter to 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix very well and then gently incorporate into the sauerkraut. This will give the kraut a silky texture and sweet taste.
  • You can sweeten sauerkraut with chunks of peeled sweet, not tart, apples.
  • Add some spice to your sauerkraut with powdered chipotle seasoning.

You can return the brats to the pan, cover and cook until fully heated, or set both the sauerkraut and the brats to the side until cool, refrigerate and grill the next day.  Do not store together.  Tightly cover the sauerkraut so it does not share its flavors with other foods and store the brats in a glass dish on paper towel to remove excess exterior moisture being careful to not break the casing.

If you are heating inside the house the next day, place the sauerkraut and brats in an oven proof pan and gently warm at 325 until the sauerkraut is fully warmed and you can see the juices boiling inside the casing.

Or, if taking outside to the grill, place the brats on the grill until fully warmed (again, can you see the juices boiling inside the casing?) but do not grill until the casing breaks.  If the casing breaks, using tongs remove from the grill and check to make sure there is no “pink” in the meat before serving.  If using an instant thermometer (which you should) the brats should be at 160 degrees for done.

Serve with yellow mustard and soft Vienna rolls.  You can also mix us some diced onions with crush tomatoes for a topping.

*Tip: Do not pierce the ‘skin’ on the bratwurst as it will cause the “juices” to run. Do not cook until the skin breaks either.  You want to keep them intact as much as possible.

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