Have you ever had to cook brats, hot dogs, and other sausage items for a large group? Here is a way to make this task simpler and safer. I even do this when cooking at home for my family of three.

I like to boil my sausages prior to grilling to make sure they are cooked through and hot before placing them to finish on the grill to achieve that browning/grilling flavor and texture. Brats are a fresh sausage usually made from pork and other ingredients. Sausage of any type, as well as hot dogs, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees for food safety. If you put a raw brat, sausage, or hot dog directly on the grill straight from the refrigerator, especially if they are bigger ones, you usually will burn the outside before the insides are hot and cooked to proper temperature.

I like to place my brat or hot dogs in a pot and cover them with cold water (or beer), then place them on direct flame. A lot of gas grills have a side burner you can use to keep the heat from inside the house. If a large number of items are to be prepared for your group, you can have the brats and hot dogs going on the side burner, which allows you room to grill the other items for your party, like the hamburgers. When the water comes to a boil for a couple of minutes, the brats or hot dogs should be to temperature and ready to finish up on the grill. I like to get some nice grill marks on these items to get the cookout flavor. I just roll them around for a bit and then they are ready.

If you have some picky eaters who don’t like the crispy grilled flavor or darkness from the grill, you can also serve these directly from the pot, skipping the grill step. Some children don’t like a grilled hot dog. Blasphemy, I know! This will save you time, quality–by not having burnt on the outside and cold or raw on the inside–and the brats will be nice and juicy. This will also help cut down on flare-ups on the grill, since some of the fat will be cooked out, cutting down on possible brat squirtage (a new word from the grill dictionary?) and flaring up.

Grill on, everyone!
John