New Orleans Bratwurst: A Window into the City’s German Immigrant History

There are a growing number of New Orleans neighborhood restaurants serving Bratwurst. While most people who have spent their lives in New Orleans vaguely recollect the cities immigrant past, food culture tends to bring elements of our history into focus. New Orleans has festivals for every occasion celebrating our Italian, Irish, French, Spanish cultures and many others. Our German culture is proudly proclaimed with an October Fest celebration sponsored by Deutsches Hause at 700 Moss Street in New Orleans. If you look further and deeper into the German immigration through the port of New Orleans in the 19th Century you will find many of the German immigrants found their way into the bayou areas of the south and prairie areas of west Louisiana and melded into the Cajun Culture helping us develop the different sausages and specialty meat products we now enjoy.

So let’s talk about Bratwurst… Bratwurst is a type of German Sausage commonly made from Pork. The name is derived from Brat (finely chopped meat) and Wurst (Sausage). The earliest documented evidence of Bratwurst date to 1313 in the city of Nuremberg, Germany. There are over forty verities of Bratwurst. In America the name Bratwurst is often shortened to Brat, especially in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. Bratwurst have become a mainstay of sports stadiums, especially baseball parks. In 1954 they were introduced in Milwaukee County Stadium when the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee. Many sports stadiums in the Midwest and Northeast now sell more Bratwurst than Hot Dogs at their events. While you can find fine examples of Bratwurst in different outlets in New Orleans, we think the Bratwurst Louisiana Craft Butchers produces might be the best you will find in our area. Our selection of products and hand crafted care make sure you get the best product possible.

Here are a couple of ways to enjoy your Bratwurst: for cooking brats on the stovetop, which first has you simmer the brats in a skillet in beer, onion, and butter to partially cook the sausages, and then you do a quick brats pan-fry to get the exterior brown to your liking.

Recipe 1:  Boil

· 1 or 2 lb of bratwurst

· 2-12 bottles of beer

· 1/4 cup butter

· 1 large onion, sliced

how to cook bratwurst on stove top or in a plan with beer onions and butter

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, add the brats, 1 sliced onion, the beer, and 1/2 of a stick of butter cut into cubes. Make sure the beer is just covering the meat.

Bring the beer mix to a slow boil, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer the bratwurst for 10 minutes. They’ll be par-boiled at this point, meaning partially (but mostly) cooked. They’ll finish cooking with the next step.

Remove the bratwurst from the liquid and wipe out the pan, making sure to save the onions to serve alongside the bratwurst.

Pan-sauté Brats in a skillet with a little oil for 3 minutes on each side until brown. The internal temperature should be at least 160F to be properly cooked.

how to grill brats photo on them cooking on a bbq

Recipe 2: Grill

Grilling brats outside is probably the best way to cook bratwurst when it’s summertime and nice and sunny out! You can enjoy the cold beer with brats while they cook.

Grill the uncooked brats over indirect heat for about 18 minutes, or until the sausage is “almost” cooked through but not quite.

Grill them for 1-2 more minutes over direct heat to brown the outside of the sausages, the internal temperature should be at 160F+.

Serve with buns and hot dog toppings to go American style, or serve the German classics like sauerkraut and mustard. If you need to keep them warm, put the bratwurst in beer and simmer on low until you’re ready to serve them.