I'm not the biggest fan of brats. To me, they lack a certain excitement. They are usually mild in flavor, and if I'm going to have sausage, I want lots of flavor - either spicy, or fennely, or something!
So this year, I was not really excited to make 25 lbs of bratwurst for the brother-in-laws Oktoberfest party. First, 25lbs is a lot of sausage. Second, if I'm going to spend all day making sausage, I'd rather make chorizo or something a bit more exotic. But, I was present solely as a laborer, specializing in the spices, and not a decision maker. I labored away, and in the end, we had a lot of sausage.
The sausages were a hit at the party, I'm sure partly due to my spices. I added more of everything the recipe called for. And this time around, we used more fat, which also added flavor. The husband and I, kept a couple of brats for ourselves, and before the party, tested them out. Along with the sausage, I made cabbage, potatoes and carrots. And by made, I mean I placed my vegetables, beer and seasoning in the slow cooker in the morning, and headed to work.
When I got home, my vegetables were cooked. I transferred the beer juices to a pan, and steamed my brats in them for about 15 minutes. Once the brats were nice and plump, I pan fried them. You can also use the grill at this point. Either way works.
The brats, although subtle, were delicious and juicy. The stewed vegetables made a nice accompaniment. Overall, a nice comforting meal, requiring little work, perfect for a weeknight.