Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst
A couple of weeks ago I ran into Nick from Macheesmo, and we started to talk about sausage making. I then invited him over to help make some Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst. This was key as it really requires two people to make sausage. Not just two people though, two people that really like to cook. To spend 3 hours elbow deep in raw meat is not for the faint hearted. Although, the rewards are worth it.
The key to a good bratwust is to make sure that it is juicy yet not so juicy that it explodes in your face. I have had many cheddar brats that as soon as you bite into them you hit the person next to you in the face with molten cheese. That is never good. This recipe is a perfect balance of meat and cheese. No need to wear goggles when the person next to you is biting into one.
Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst – (adapted from The Barons Bratwurst in Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue)
- 1 cup powdered milk
- 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
- 1 tbs fine sea salt
- 1.5 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1/2 tsp caraway
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 5 lbs pork butt trim off fat (roughtly 4lbs pork and 1 lbs pork fat remaining to be used for the pork fat)
- 1 lb cubed pork fat
- 1 lb veal
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1/2 cup jalapenos
- 4-6 ozs sharp cheddar cheese
- 12 Pack of your favorite beer
Step 1: Open a beer. The process is going to take time, but remember to reserve two beers for boiling the brats. I opened a Yuengling Lager. It is a great lager from Pennsylvania. I recommend that you try one. While you are in the refrigerator, grab about 12 feet of casings and soak them. Casings come salt cured so they need a good soaking to remove the salt.
Step 2: Remove the pork fat from the meat. Once you have removed the fat, cube all of the meat and fat. Keep in separate containers and freeze for 20 minutes. This is a good time to have another beer. Remember to drain the casings and replenish the water. Don’t want salty casings.
Step 3: Grind the fat and meat using a large die. Start with the fat as it will help lube the grinder and make everything easier on you. After you grind each type of meat, put it back in the freezer. Cold meat grinds better. Plus the act of grinding cause a lot of heat to build up and you do not want the fat to start melting. Trust me, it is not a good thing.
Step 4: Get another beer. Social lubrication makes the process a whole lot easier.
Step 5: Clean out the grinder and insert your smaller die. Regrind the fat, pork and veal again. Remember start with the fat. As always as soon as you are done put the mean back into the refrigerator/freezer. Once you have grinded all of the meat, grind the cheddar cheese and jalapenos.
Step 6: Mix the spices together. Add the Milk powder, bread crumbs, sea salt, ground white pepper, granulated onion, mace, cloves, caraway and marjoram and mix well.
Step 7: Combine the pork fat, pork, veal, cheese and jalapenos and mix well with your hands. Then add 1/3 of the spices and a 1/8 cup of the ice cold water. Mix until combined. At this point I realized that I could have used ice cold beer instead of water, giving the brats another layer of flavor. But, I forgot. I would recommend that you try it though. Then add another 1/3 of the spice mixture and add another 1/8th cup of water. Mix and then add the rest of the spices and however much water is needed to allow the spices and the meat to combine. Then place the mixture in the refrigerator/freezer for another 20 mins to let the flavors meld and the mixture to chill. Wash your hands and grab another beer. You deserve it.
Step 8: Clean the grinder and add the sausage horn. Once you have the stuffer assembled, put the casings on the horn. I used 32mm pork casings from The Syracuse Casing Company, these come salted on tubes for easy placement on the sausage horn. After putting the casings on the horn do not tie off the end. Let the casing hang off the horn by about 2 inches giving you space to tie it off later. You need to leave it open so that air can escape. You definately do not want to make balloon animals with sausage casings. They kind of smell when you leave them out for a while. Don’t forget to grab another beer.
Step 9: Stuff the sausages. Once the meat starts to come out of the horn, you can twist off the end of the casing. Then form 5-6 inch brats. When the link gets to be 5-6 inches long twist it 8 turns in either direction. But remember what direction you started with. As you need to twist the next link 8 times in the opposite direction. This will make it so the twisting of the next link will not untwist your previous link. Then repeat twisting in opposite directions until the meat is all in the casing.
Step 10: Store or freeze the brats. I have found that the best method to freeze brats is to cut them apart, and place them on a cooking sheet. Freeze them individually, and then group them into bags. This way you can remove only the amount that you need from the freezer.
In all the Kitchen Aid did a great job. If I were to make sausage more than 4 times a year I might get a dedicated sausage stuffer. The Kitchen Aid took a long time to stuff the sausage. Plus the stock plunger that came with the grinder attachment was not solid so meat kept on moving around it and failed to go through the stuffer.
Overall the brats were delicious, the spices blended well with the cheese and jalapeno. The recipe was supposed to make four feet of brats, but Nick and I were blessed with 12 feet of brats. Yep the total yield was 25 brats. Bringing the cost to a measly $0.75 a brat. Not too Shabby. The kicker was that I wanted to make enough brats for Nick to take home so we doubled the batch. Yep, we had 50 brats on our hands. So the 2 hour brat spectacular turned into a 4.5 hour brat endurance race. It was worth it though as the brats were awesome.
My recommended method of cooking would be to add the brats to a pan. Cover in two – three beers along with one chopped onion and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 mins and remove from the heat. Place them on a medium/hot grill and cook till golden. Eat on a bun covered in spicy mustard, beer onion from the boiling step, and some sauerkraut. Also don’t forget to pop open another beer. Beer and brats are a perfect combination.
If you are looking for some good homemade buns check out my hot dog bun recipe.
I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to visit Nick over at Macheesmo.