My apologies guys. We’re halfway through football season – tailgate time – and it occurs to me that I haven’t brought anything to the party. I haven’t cooked for you yet. Gonna have to bust out a recipe for the king of tailgate chow… the bratwurst.
There are so many ways to gussie up such a hearty hand-held meal, but one method that I found recently has such a dynamic combination of flavors that it stands alone from the pack of options. As there’s beer in the recipe, you’ll already have your beverage picked out for the party. Bonus!
I know I just reviewed a Victory product last week, but honestly the Storm King Stout is a marvelous beer. Midnight black with a mocha head of foam, Storm King pounds the senses with deeply roasted grain, dark roast coffee and dark chocolate scents. Loads of rich malt sweetness mingles with the big flavors of bittersweet chocolate, dried fruits, espresso and the faintest touch of black liquorice. Very noticeable hop presence, too, with a kind of high level of carbonation yet creamy texture. This stout works dynamite with the sweetness of the onions and the sharp notes from the rosemary and malt vinegar in the relish recipe below. Feel free to boil your brats in a bock beer for a neat contrast in flavors.
4 medium red onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil or, for bigger flavor, bacon drippings
½ cup malt vinegar
12oz of the Storm King
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tsp ground fennel
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
Heat up your oil or bacon fat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Sweat off your onions and garlic to caramelize the sugars, about 3-4 minutes. Add everything else, stir and bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and check on it from time to time. You gotta let those flavors come together so let ‘em cook. Stir periodically. Should be nice and thick in about 30-40 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Crack some fresh pepper in there and you’re ready to go.
Thanks to Beer Advocate for the initial inspiration for the recipe. I know 12oz of beer is a lot to let go for a recipe so run down to Hopjacks, pick up a gallon growler and there’ll be plenty to go around at the tailgate.