While I'm starting to move into the mindset that the process of making sausages is not so arduous that it can't be done on a regular basis, the fact of the matter is it's still more time consuming than the majority of other recipes I do. So, when it does come time to work on some links, I usually make it count and do at least five pound batches, which both leaves me in a position to not have go back and remake the sausages anytime soon, but I also usually end up with more than I know what to do with. Luckily, I had a perfect use for some excess bratwurst I had on hand at the last Meatwave—serve them as currywurst!
Currywurst is a German snack that consists of a cooked, sliced sausage topped with curry ketchup. It sounds seemingly simple, but the combination of two well spiced ingredients combine to be a pretty killer pair. If you already have sausages on hand, then the prep is really just about making the curry ketchup, which I've done from scratch in the past to excellent results, but decided to take a shorter path this time. Still, I started with cooking some onions until lightly browned, which I think adds a really nice sweetness to the final sauce against the spices and peppers.
Then, instead of taking a plethora of ingredients and tomato sauce and simmering until thickened, I just used ketchup and added in a few different spices until it tasted right. The main one was curry powder, of course, but that didn't get me all the way to a robust tasting curry ketchup. A little extra pungency was needed to counter the sugary and fruity ketchup, which came by way of ground mustard. Then a tad more heat was needed, which I used hot paprika to get. After that, everything tasted great and I removed the sauce from the heat and pureed it until smooth with an immersion blender.
Now I'll leave it up to you if you want to attempt to make your own sausages here, but really, with so many good choices on supermarket and butcher's shelves these days, making your own is less an effort in increased quality and more about personal learning. Making your own does afford you the opportunity to season the sausages exactly to your liking, and the brats I made had a more classic German character than most I find in the stores—creating a medium spice using ginger, white pepper, mustard, and nutmeg.
No matter if you bought or made your sausages, the real crucial part is grilling them correctly. For the juiciest and most even cooking, it's best to employ a braise to bring sausages up to near completion before finishing them over the fire. This allows the internal temperature to slowly rise in a more even fashion, and has the benefit of avoiding the all too common burst casing.
Once the sausages hit around 140°F internally, they can be moved from the braise to directly over the coals, where they'll brown up beautifully and finish up cooking in no time.
When I sliced up these particular sausages, I found myself pretty excited that my homemade specimens were still super juicy. An even bigger point of pride though was the texture, which was smooth and emulsified—something I've struggled to get right in the past.
Then to make these into currywurst, all I had to do was squeeze on some curry ketchup and finish with a little sprinkling of curry powder for garnish—serving them with fries is also traditional, but not required. I was more than content with the bratwursts on their own, but as currywurst, they just got all the better. The light pungency of the brats was elevated by the more complex ketchup that brought in a mix of sweetness and heat along with its complex spiced profile. It certainly made downing more of that large batch of brats easier since the currywurst was addictive and easy to keep popping one piece after another in this snack format. Even with this extra use for my sausages, I was still left with a healthy portion at the end of the day. I see this as a good thing though because I also had a lot of extra curry ketchup and I have no problem making this currywurst again and again.
- Yield 6 servings
- Prep 15 Minutes
- Cook 20 Minutes
- Total 35 Minutes
- For the Sauce
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon curry powder, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
- 6 German bratwurst
- 2 12oz cans of beer
- 1 9 x 13" foil tray
- To make the sauce: Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add in ketchup, curry powder, ground mustard, and paprika. Stir to combine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Puree sauce with an immersion blender, or transfer sauce to the jar of a regular blender, and process until smooth. Transfer sauce to a squeeze bottle or airtight container. Set aside.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place foil tray on hot side of grill and pour in beer. Nestle sausage in tray and cook until beer begins to simmer, about 4 minutes. Slide tray over to cool side of grill, cover grill, and continue to cook until sausages register 140 to 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes, flipping occasionally during cooking.
- Uncover grill and remove sausages from liquid and place on hot side of grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until sausages are browned and crisp all over, about 3 minutes total. Transfer sausages to a cutting board. Slice sausages into 3/4-inch pieces and transfer to a serving tray or plates. Squeeze or spoon on ketchup and sprinkle with curry powder. Serve immediately
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Richard Henry Easy to follow recipe and would love to try it out with friends this weekend.