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Season 3

Show 301: Chicago and the Midwest

The professor crisscrosses the Midwest for a collection of the region's best grilling recipes: Grilled Pitas grilled Red Pepper Dip he picked up in the Motor City; a spectacular Bratwurst "Hot Tub" - the tailgate classic from Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Mexican-style Grilled Corn from the Windy City and an all-new take on burgers - Veal Burgers with Dill from the Minnesota's Twin Cities.

Bratwurst Hot Tub printer-ready version

How to Grill the Perfect Brats

Method: indirect grilling

Serves 4 to 8

  • 8 Johnsonville bratwursts
  • 2 cans pilsner-style beer
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 white onion, cut into thick slices, skewered and grilled
For serving:
  • Hard rolls or a baguette
  • Mustard
  • Grilled red peppers
  • Grilled onions
  • Sauerkraut
1. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. This works best in a charcoal grill.

2. Arrange the bratwursts on the grate over the drip pan. Toss the wood chips on the coals, half on each mound of coals. Cover the grill and adjust the vent holes to obtain a temperature of about 350 degrees. Smoke-roast the sausages until golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the beer, butter and grilled onion slices in a large grill-proof pan large enough to accommodate all the brats (I like to use a large aluminum drip pan.) When the brats are cooked through, transfer them to the beer bath, then put it on the grill.

4. Keep the brats warm in the beer bath as long as you like, replenishing the fire with a couple extract coals on each side if needed to keep it smoldering.

5. Serve the brats as they would in Wisconsin, on hard rolls with yellow ballpark-style mustard, or do them up BBQ U-style, with brown mustard, grilled onions and peppers and sauerkraut on a cut-up baguette.

NOTE: Even if you're a diehard gas griller, I recommend investing in an inexpensive, charcoal-burning kettle grill. It's very difficult to get great smoke flavor from a gas grill.

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