In our diet-obsessed culture, the mere mention of bratwurst normally gives people stomach convulsions. If you listen closely, you can probably hear the collective squirming of my readers’ gastrointestinal systems.
And there’s nothing quite like that sound to whet your appetite.
When you read “deep fried bratwurst,” you probably thought of the heart attack on a bun in the picture. You see, I care about health and authenticity. Deep fried bratwurst is supposed to be healthy and German. And let’s face it: the chili ain’t exactly German… although I’ve had chili in Germany and it’s not too bad if you aren’t expecting anything spicy. (However, you should steer clear of the “curry.” It resembles applesauce. And the currywurst is a wiener with “curry.” Yum!)
But I digress. Let’s get us a pic of a typical German bratwurst.
Notice the nice dark color and lack of breading. The bun, as usual, is undersized by American standards but it allows the discerning glutton to appreciate the bratwurst in its bratwursty goodness without the interference of bread. The bun makes a nice handle, though, and is rather tasty too. The mustard, on the other hand, is an oddity within German culture because it’s spicy. In Germany, an overabundance of parsley might be considered overly spicy, so the mustard will shock your system if you’ve been there longer than a few days.
However, you didn’t visit this post to read about mustard. So let’s talk wurst. I’ve had them grilled, smoked, and boiled in various liquids (beer, etc) in Germany and all forms tasted most excellent. Unfortunately, American bratwursts don’t stack up to their German counterparts and this becomes especially conspicuous when you’re feeling lazy and try to cook them in a frying pan. The reason Germans can eat so much sausage and remain thinner, on the whole, than Americans comes partly from the fact they use lean meat. The symphony of grease that passes for German food in the U.S. pales in comparison.
I shall skip over the gratuitous flabby wiener jokes. You’re welcome.
So how do you improve these lesser goods, other than by going to a specialty butcher? (I highly recommend the specialty butcher, by the way. Their stuff is better and cheaper, at least at the one near me.) Deep fry the suckers! I like to fill a saucepan with vegetable oil (because it’s cheap and less unhealthy than lard) until it’s an inch or two deep. It saves oil because I’m cheap and unemployed and it suffices. The bratwurst goes naked into the hot oil and comes out after spending 5-7 minutes on each side. It comes out dark brown, almost with a crust on the outside, and healthy by bratwurst standards. It’s kind of like a supermodel in a tanning bed, but without the healthful connotations. You can put the bratwurst (not the supermodel) on a plate, cut it into pieces, eat it, and notice that the bratwurst leaves no oily residue. Your arteries will thank you.
So finally you may be wondering why I’ve skipped over this minor detail:
I’ve never seen anyone cook bratwurst in leather, unless you count the grillmaster’s shoes. However, it’s quite the fashion statement and it would go over interestingly at the next county fair. Give it a shot!