Pickle Juice: Officially Makes the World Go Round


Editors Note:  Some of you may remember the controversial pics of beer can chicken earlier this week.  Well, in conjunction with clawing at a bird until only the carcass was left – we also devoured brats.  And serious brats they were, as we now have our friend Weber, a descendant of the great cheese making state, telling us how to really cook up a brat.  Enjoy his simple, yet brutally honest, directions.  And not to steal Weber’s thunder, but I’ll be posting about the concept of eggplant at a tailgate in North Carolina and what I made with it.     

Wisconsin Beer Brats

Johnsonville Brats (or fresh ones from Farmers Market)
beer (Old Style or any cheap kind,  i.e. Milwaukee Best Light)
1-2 onions (big chunks are fine, peel the layers)
2 cup, roughly pickle juice (serves as a water base and adds flavor)

For Good Results:

Combining the beer, onion, pickle juice, & brats in a kettle and boiling on the stove for 20 minutes will yield “good” results and add tons of flavor.  You then can put beer and onions in a container with the brats to let them soak if you are bringing them to a tailgate.

For Best Results:

Do the above steps — for 4 to 8 hours.  You will notice a difference at each level.  If going all out and doing it this way, you will have to add more beer, pickle juice, and water as it boils and the beer evaporates.  I don’t start out with any water, but as it evaporates I add 1 can of beer and 1 can of water.

Condiments to make it a True Wisconsin Brat:

Sour Kraut (This is a must)

Optional items many of us use in WI:

Chopped onion

Spicy brown mustard

You may also like


  • 80 Proof September 12, 2008  

    I’ve had brats before, but never like these. Since they melted in my mouth, I would have to say boiling them for 8 hours is the way to go.

    Best hot dog/brat I’ve ever had in my life, hands down.

  • JoeHoya September 12, 2008  

    Boiled brats are a good time, but I’m still a grilling guy at heart. Any thoughts on whether or not these could be finished on the grill after the shorter-run boil?

  • gansie September 12, 2008  

    sorry, JH. yes, we should have made that more clear. see photo above. those are the brats being finished off in the back corner of the grill.

  • Jeb September 12, 2008  

    Yes we definitely grill the brats every time. I like mine a bit charred.

  • JoeHoya September 12, 2008  

    Then sign me up!

    And just to add one more use for pickle juice when grilling: I chopped up some homemade pickles in the food processor, and I use the resulting relish as a key ingredient in hamburgers. The flavor of the brine works really well in the burgers and the pickle juice helps to keep the patties from drying out on the grill.

  • Very Very Good Girl September 12, 2008  

    What an idea!! I love pickles and will put them or the juice on a variety of dishes. I have never thought about adding brine&relish to BEFORE grilling. Would have been a nice addition to my blue cheese burger last night, but will definately remember for next time.

  • IllinoisGrillster September 12, 2008  

    Love brats, but boiling them first is no-no in my book. Let the raw brats soak in your beer/brine mix for a couple of hours then SLOW cook them over med to med-low charcoal for at least 30 minutes. The added flavor from slow cooking over coal is a must. Do it right and you’ll achieve a “smoke ring” that so many bbq experts rave about, and great snap from casings.

  • foodsnoot September 12, 2008  

    Calling Wisconsin the great cheese making state is rather controversial. I am personally partial to Vermont cheese… or I was, back when I could actually consume cheese. Wisconsin cheddar is just way too bland for me (even the sharpest of Wisconsin cheddars doesn’t hold a candle to a mild Cabbot). Maybe I’m just an East Coast snob.

Leave a comment