Summer is Here!
Summer has arrived and my craving for summer grill-outs and BBQs may finally be satisfied. On my trip to the store on Memorial Day, I couldn’t resist purchasing some bratwurst and buns. My father’s recent visit also left my fridge stocked with some beer that I consider to be an abomination to beer-making. Disregarding my lack of access to any type of grill, I was fully prepped for some summertime backyard BBQ food.
Bacon Mac and Cheese
I also had past-Kendra to thank for making bacon mac and cheese and freezing portions of it. Now, I was on my way to having everything necessary for a deliciously American meal. (Shhh, I know bratwurst is German. I meant the whole backyard BBQ in the summer thing.)
Now, I know that for most people, when you’re looking to make a delicious meal even better, potatoes or dessert might come to mind before a salad. And I agree. But we’re adults here and we need to eat our vegetables. So, to complete this meal with the laziest attempt at vegetables eatery ever, I tossed some spinach in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
This was a deliciously simple meal. I also have leftover brats for lunch this weekend and that makes me extra happy. Don’t be fooled by the prep time; it takes quite a bit of time for mac and cheese to go from frozen to piping hot.
Prep Time: 1 episode of Chef’s Table (approx. 1 hour)
1 package of bratwurst (5 or however many your grocery store sells at a time)
Hot dog buns or Kaiser rolls
1 bottle/can of beer (This is a great opportunity get rid of that PBR, Coors Light, or Budweiser that your friend left in your fridge after that one party.)
- Before you start anything else, if you are making the mac and cheese with it, turn on the oven to 350 and put in the frozen mac and cheese, covered with aluminum foil.
- In a large saute pan, add the beer and the brats. Turn the heat on to low.
- Allow this to just do its thing for about 30 minutes. Flip the brats over halfway through. The point of this step is not to fully cook the brats but rather to absorb some of the beer flavor.
- Remove everything from the pan, conserving the beer.
- Put the pan back on the burner at medium heat. Allow it to heat up for about 30 seconds. Add the brats back to the pan, leaving the beer on the side for now.
- At this point, I’d recommend taking a peak at the mac and cheese. It might be a good idea to quickly stir the whole dish to ensure proper cooking
- Allow the brats to cook and begin to brown on each side, this will probably take about 5 minutes per side.
- When the brats are about done, add about the 1/3 of the beer back into the pan. With the temperature of the pan, the beer will deglaze the pan and thicken rather quickly. Continue to cook the brats for a minute or two on each side.
- If you have a meat thermometer, now is the time to put it to use. You want an internal temperature of 160 degrees. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you’ll know the brat is done when you can cut into it and there isn’t pink in the middle.
- Pro tip: Toast the buns in the oven in the last couple of minutes.
- Put a brat in each bun, plate up some delicious mac and cheese, add a healthy dose of spinach salad, and go outside and enjoy this meal in the sun. Happy summer!