We as Americans celebrate the birth of our country by eating German sausages and lighting off Chinese fireworks. Hey, we’re the best country in the world. We can do whatever we want. And now Johnsonville combined these two favorites with their new Firecracker Brats. I will show how to cook them properly (90% of Americans don’t) and dress them up with some balsamic caramelized onions and feta cheese. Did I mention the sour dough rolls? Think of a lobster roll, but with sausage, onions and feta. It’s going to be dynamite! Or should I say, a firecracker?
Firecracker Brats with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Feta Cheese
1 package of Johnsonville Firecracker Brats (5 total)
1 red onion
1/2 stick of salted butter (divided)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
8 turns fresh white pepper (optional)
8 turns fresh black pepper
2 sourdough mini loaves (about 9 inches circumference and 3 inch diameter)
4 oz crumbled feta
And here are the rest of the main ingredients:
Now, let’s get to cooking the bratwursts properly. 90% of Americans either boil their brats or cook them over high heat. Both are big no-no’s. Boiling doesn’t make tasty meat. Boiling meat is how we make tasty water. It’s called broth or soup. It’s perfectly acceptable to store them in a warm bath of beer and onions on the side of the grill with no heat until people are ready to eat, but don’t boil. And cooking brats hot and fast is also bad. The idea is to keep the casings intact, not to rupture them. We don’t want juices running out of our steaks, why would we want that to happen with our sausages? The best way to cook sausages it to smoke them:
Got the bratwursts on the top rack of a 225 degree smoker. It takes longer, about an hour or so, but it makes all the difference. And a quick note about the Firecracker Bratwursts. They aren’t kidding about the firecracker. Generally hot and spicy isn’t all that spicy when done on a grand scale. But man, these brats pack some punch. I really dig hot food, and these had me sweating when I ate them without all the toppings. The rest of the ingredients in this recipe really helped to put out that fire.
While the brats are smoking, time to make up the balsamic caramelized onions.
Rough chop one red onion (looks purple to me) and place in a grill safe pan (I used a cast iron pan) along with a quarter stick of butter, the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and both kinds of pepper:
Place the pan on medium heat and stir periodically. When the onions have turned soft and browned up, they will be good to go, about 45 minutes.
Now let’s kick up the hotdog bun to levels unknown to mankind (thank you Emeril).
First, drop the rest of the butter into a grill safe container and set it next to the soon to be balsamic caramelized onions.
When the butter has melted, slice the sourdough loaves into thick hunks (about 2 inches):
Now brush each cut side of the bread with the melted butter:
Then toast each side of the soon to be sausage buns on on the grill:
Be careful not to walk away too long. These things burn real fast. I left one on just a little longer than the other two:
Now let’s make up some firecracker brats with balsamic caramelized onions and feta cheese (on sourdough buns). Slice down the side of the sourdough buns (along the middle) but not all the way through:
Next, stuff a firecracker brat in each one and top with the caramelized onions and feta cheese then plate:
You can also drizzle some of the butter from the onion pan over the top for an added kick.
The glorious heat of the firecracker brats is countered wonderfully by the warm sourdough and sweet onions as well as the savory feta. The crunch of the bun adds a wonderful texture to a sublime sausage.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
Johnsonville Sausage compensated me to use their product in this post
- 1 package of Johnsonville Firecracker Brats (5 total)
- 1 red onion
- ½ stick of salted butter (divided)
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 8 turns fresh white pepper (optional)
- 8 turns fresh black pepper
- 2 sourdough mini loaves (about 9 inches circumference and 3 inch diameter)
- 4 oz crumbled feta
- Place the brats on a smoker at 225
- Rough chop the onion and place it and ¼ stick of the salted butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and both kinds of pepper in a grill safe pan and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Place the other ¼ stick of butter in a grill safe cup or pan and put it on the grill
- Once the butter is melted, slice the bread into 2 inch thick hunks and butter each cut side of the bread
- Toast the bread on each side
- Slice down the middle of the side of the bread (with the crust, not the cut side) but not all the way through
- Stuff a firecracker brat inside and top with the caramelized onions and feta cheese
- You can also drizzle some of the butter from the onion pan over the top