An educated person in my family once said to me at a cookout “I don’t want you serving your brats (in a beer bath) to my kids because I don’t want them to get drunk and like the taste of beer!” Can’t make that one up.
I’ve always loved cooking with beer but it’s not everyday I discover food with good beer in it. Granted there are sauces and condiments with alcohol ingredients but I’m talking something already infused even though that word gets trampled to death. So hey, it’s infused meat!
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery posted a video on YouTube last week showcasing bratwurst made with their various beers and they were available at Whole Foods. I tweeted Whole Foods and they in turn messaged the store to find out they did indeed have some in stock AND they were on sale for $6.99/4pk (Excellent use of social networking by them!). After spending the afternoon at the pool with Teaspoon, I strapped him into the car and we road tripped to East Liberty.
I picked up 2 of the 3 available at the store. The Greek Feta Brat and Heirloom Italian Brat had me most curious while passing on the standard bratwurst. There is also a Spicy Espresso Brat that sounds amazing but I didn’t see it in stock. Check out the DFH brat family on their website.
Fired up the grill on Labor Day and treated the family to a special dinner. Here’s what we thought.
The Greek Feta Brat
made with feta cheese, mint, spinach, cumin, lemon and a dose of Midas Touch.
Me: LOVE LOVE LOVE this one. Ate it with no toppings, just a bun and it’s a winner served naked. Could you add on to it? Sure, why not but as a standalone chicken brat it was fantastic. Great snap when I bit into it and the flavors exploded. I would be anxious to try it without the Midas Touch just to see what flavors it brings that aren’t masked by the ingredients.
The wife: I like it and will cut you if you touch my plate
The kids: Can’t we just have a hot dog with ranch?
The Heirloom Italian Brat
based on a recipe from Dogfish founder Sam Calagione’s family. Sam’s great-grandmother used pork, fennel and red pepper in her classic Italian brat. If it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for Dogfish. (Well, the Italian gets a helping of beer/wine/mead hybrid Midas Touch for good measure!)
Me: It was a little on the bland side for overall flavor but it packed a nice heat punch that would make it perfect on a bun dressed with green peppers and onions. Watch out though because with the slightest pop while on the grill, I had a serious case of flare up.
The wife: I don’t like it.
The kids: Why can’t we have a hot dog already? COME ON!
Here’s where Dogfish Head also nailed it, the packaging. The back tells you which beers are suggested to drink with it. I’m sketchy on drinking the beer the food is made with so it’s not overkill and they seem to agree. One beer in common, which I haven’t had in awhile but agree that it would be an excellent choice, is their Burton Baton (10% ABV | 70 IBU). I think the raisiney and vanilla notes would complement both well.
There you go, the official Derda Family thoughts on the brats. The kids are still coming around to eating non-hot dog tubes of meat no matter how I try to sell it to them.