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Beer and Brats: The Perfect Camp Grilling Combo

As those thermometer dials continue to creep upward, my fellow Wisconsinites continue to do belly flops off the rafts you’ll find littered throughout the thousands of sky blue lakes in the great Northwoods of our nation’s “Dairyland”. 

That’s where you’ll most likely find me each weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day, because let’s be honest, when you’re from Wisconsin you have to enjoy every second of warmth and sun you can… The two seasons in Wisconsin are Winter and Construction, to give you context.


Now there’s one recipe that you’re sure to find in every Wisconsin Griller’s recipe book… (whether it’s a tailgate, or a camping trip, this is a staple)…  Beer Brats.  You can include whatever vegetables you want, but this past weekend we dove into some onions and mushrooms. However, the king here is the beer.

Typically I’m grilling for 5 of my closest buddies, so naturally that means 30 brats, 6 each, but we’ll keep this simple!

If you’re looking for general grilling tips while camping, check out this awesome postto get you through your first camping trip from fellow friend, camper and Weber Grill Master, Kelsey Heidkamp.  However, if you don’t click over – two quick things to always remember – extra foil drip pans for food prep and extra fuel, chances are you’ll need both.

I typically grill these on my Smokey Joe or Q1200 series – we rotate when camping.  

Entire Prep/Grill Time: A quick 30 minutes
(so you can get back to the lake, but make sure you wait at least 30 minutes after eating… right mom?)

12 pack brats (preferably just plain, fresh, brats)
12 pack of your favorite beer (4 for the brats and veggies, the rest for your and your friends)
12 brat buns
3 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
1 carton sliced mushrooms
4 tablespoons of brown sugar (we always just bring a ziplock baggie full)
Dijon mustard
Yellow mustard
Jar of sauerkraut


1. The most important step, use a fork to poke a few holes throughout each brat, then place in a large mixing bowl with enough beer to completely submerge the brats.  Then let marinate in your fridge (or cooler) for around 45 minutes to an hour before you plan to grill.

2. Preheat your grill until the internal temp hits 450F (or on high heat for 15 minutes), then before anything clean your grates with a Weber grill brush.

3. While the grill is preheating, in a disposable drip pan (or small bowl), mix together two beers, 4 tablespoons of spicy Dijon mustard, and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar.

4. Drain the brats from the original bowl, and dump that beer out.

5. In a large disposable drip pan place the onions and mushrooms in a nice layer on the bottom, then place your brats directly on top, lastly dump your fresh beer mixture over it all.  Place the pan directly over the heat source of your grill, on medium heat, close the lid and simmer for 20 minutes.  Try to rotate the brats a few times (2 or 3) throughout the 20 minutes.

6. After the 20 minutes, empty the jar of sauerkraut into the drip pan with the brats, and simmer for an additional 4 to 5 minutes with the lid closed.

7. Transfer your brats from the pan to the cooking grates and grill over direct medium heat  with the lid closed until browned and fully cooked (160F).  It should only take about 2 to 3 minutes.  You can remove the pan of veggies and cover with aluminum foil to retain the heat.

8. If you like a toasted roll, after the pan of veggies and brats come off the grill, place your rolls cut side down on the grates for 30 seconds to a minute. 

9. Place the brats in your toasted roll, top with the sauerkraut, veggies, mustard and ketchup!