Learn how to parboil brats and why we recommend this extra step before grilling them.
If you love brats but are never entirely satisfied by the way they turn out when you cook them, it may be time to learn how to parboil them!
While it may seem like an unnecessary additional step, you won't ever go back once you start parboiling brats.
You might be thinking that parboiling is just for rice. But not so fast!
While rice is a food that this technique is commonly used for - particularly brown rice, which takes forever to cook if this step is overlooked - parboiling is good for other things too!
What is Parboiling?
The process of parboiling involves simmering a food in water until it is partially cooked.
Unlike regular boiling - which uses a high heat - parboiling requires only gentle heat.
Once the food in question is partly cooked, the water is drained away (or used to make broth or soup).
The partially cooked food can then be fully cooked according to any recipe - but in a lot less time!
Why Parboil Brats?
Parboiling brats before grilling or pan-frying them is a game-changer.
For one thing, it ensures they cook through evenly.
This means you can concentrate on getting that lovely golden color on the outside, confident that the inside will be cooked!
The process of parboiling locks in all the juiciness and flavor of the brats so you know they'll taste amazing - and it also stops them from cracking, which is a real bonus.
Parboiling is also a great way to add flavor if you choose beer as the liquid to simmer the brats in.
Beer and brats are just a match made in heaven - rather than changing the flavor of the brats, it compliments it perfectly.
Try this Beer Brats with Onions and Mushrooms Recipe to see just what we mean!
Finally, parboiling brats saves you time when you actually come to cook them.
Since part of the cooking has already been done, you can finish them off relatively quickly.
This makes them ideal for a busy evening when you don't have much time in the kitchen.
How Long to Parboil Brats in Beer or Water?
Given their small size, brats only take around 6 to 8 minutes to turn fully gray, which is how you to tell they've reached the stage you need.
Don't parboil them for any longer than this - the final stages of cooking will take place on the grill or in the frying pan.
How to Parboil Brats
Place your brats in either a shallow saucepan or a large, deep skillet.
Pour in water or beer until the brats are just covered.
Heat over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a simmer, then cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the brats are fully gray. Don't be tempted to poke them as they are simmering - this can cause them to lose moisture.
Quickly remove the brats from the heat and drain them thoroughly. Pat the brats dry and they are now ready to finish cooking in whichever way you prefer until the skin is golden brown and slightly crispy.
How to Use Parboiled Brats
You can create so many dishes with brats once they're parboiled! Here are a few suggestions:
- Parboil brats before pan frying/browning - they will be juicy and evenly cooked.
- Parboil brats before grilling - no more cracked skins!
- Parboil brats before smoking for a unique, flavorful meal.
Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.