@recipe and images LAURA HOBBS
What purebred, red-blooded American doesn’t like a perfectly cooked, juicy hamburger? OK, leave out the vegans, the vegetarians, and the poor souls with a generally flawed palate. Those who are leftover will most likely sink their teeth into a charbroiled meat patty sandwiched between two soft, toasted buns with the glee and delight of a five-year-old at Chucky Cheese. Yours truly included.
Hubby and I recently bade adieu to our first grill. Purchased ten years ago, this grill far outlived its original life expectancy; it was a humble, reliable workhorse, and helped host many outdoor parties. Towards the end of its life, however, the burners had rusted through and collapsed into a brittle, rusty mass. We ditched the propane tank and filled the body of the grill with charcoal for a few more uses, finally giving in and purchasing a shiny new natural gas Weber.
The farewell meal on our old Coleman may have been the best we ever made. I’d just purchased a few top end Polish sausage links. Turns out, what I thought were three Polish sausages were really two Polish sausages and one “wild card” sausage – I’m not sure what the guy behind the counter grabbed, but it sure wasn’t a Polish sausage. No worries, though! I was already planning to use them with some leftover brats I had in the fridge.
You’re probably thinking: Wow, fascinating. Grilling sausages. What’s she going to talk about next, boiling water? Well, listen here, you! What I did was to take a grilling staple – in this case, fresh sausages – and transform them into another grilling staple – burgers.
For my Bratburgs, I began by peeling off the sausage casings and placing all the meat in a bowl. With my hands, I gently mixed the meat together until it was incorporated, and divided it up evenly into patties. While the patties rested in the fridge, I got my burger fixins ready.
Adorning your burger can be a very personalized, intimate affair, so I’m not going to micromanage here, or bark orders about what you should put on it and how you should put it on. I will tell you, however, that around our house, bacon and cheese reign supreme. Tomato, lettuce (and pickle and onion for Hubby) are nice additions, sure; but seriously, it’s all about the bacon and cheese.
The bun plays another important role. While there are a bazillion choices out there, the vast majority of them are inherently the same: dry, fluffy white bread that turns to mush in a matter of nanoseconds. Give me something with substance, something with body! I chose ciabatta buns for our burgers, and was not disappointed. The outside was crisp, the inside was chewy, and I actually tasted the bread as a part of my burger, not just using it as a vehicle to get the meat in my face.
As the old Coleman cooled after its final mission, Hubby and I sat down to an epic burger experience, complete with home fries and spicy ketchup. I could try in vain to explain the burger’s flavor with fluffy adjectives, but I’ll spare you. They’re amazing. We’ll leave it at that. Enjoy!
Bratburgers (makes 4)
6 of your favorite fresh sausages
Burger toppings of your choice
A hot grill
Remove the casings from each sausage and discard the casing. Thoroughly mix the sausage meat together to combine, and pat into four patties.
Grill, adorn, and dig in.