Grilled Polish Sausage

We recommend jarred fresh sauerkraut (like Bubbies), which you can find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If you don't have a grill, or this isn't grilling season, you can also put all ingredients into a casserole dish and bake in a 350°F oven for 1 1/2 hours.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds kielbasa, Polish sausage or bratwurst
  • 1 to 2 light-colored (not dark) beers
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pints of sauerkraut
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seed
  • Mustard

Method

1 Grill the sausages slowly over medium heat, allowing them to get well browned. Be patient; do not be tempted to grill the links over high heat, or they will break open and the juices and fat will drain into the grill (they may break open anyway, but they'll break less if you cook them slowly).

2 While the sausages are cooking, put an aluminum grilling pan on a cooler part of the grill and pour in the beer. Stir in the celery and caraway seeds and salt. Bring to a simmer. (This may require covering the grill.) Once the sausages are browned add the sausages, the sauerkraut and sauerkraut juices to the pan.

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3 Grill the onions. Paint the sliced onion with the vegetable oil and grill on high direct heat. If your grates are too wide and you think you will lose too much onion through the grates, you can either skip the grilling part and put the onions directly into the beer bath, or you can cut the onions in halves or quarters and grill them that way. Then slice them and add them to the beer.

4 Cover the grill and simmer (a low simmer, not a boil) for 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving.

Serve as is in a bowl or on a plate, or in a sandwich roll. Serve with mustard on the side.

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Comments

  • Mary

    A friend of mine is having the sauerkraut and sausage meal and ask us to bring a salad. What type of salad should accompany this type of meal. Thank you in advance.

    Personally I love coleslaw with sausage. But then, that’s just a raw form of sauerkraut. But it would taste good. ~Elise

  • Shelly

    Do you serve with regular mustard or some other type?

    Any type of mustard you like. Dijon, yellow, whole grain, your choice. ~Elise

  • Nan

    This really looks good but I’m confused as to whether you start with cooked or raw sausages. Both are available at a German market here. Thanks for a clarification. Love your blog, Nan

    Kielbasas are usually cooked aren’t they? I would look for cooked. You could make this with raw sausage, but you would probably need to cook them longer, and then make sure they were cooked through before eating. ~Elise

  • Mari

    Love your site, Elise! I was wondering – apple goes well with this dish, as somebody said above. Would apple juice, maybe watered down a bit, work instead of beer? I noticed someone asked about beer-free recipes above. Also, they should be aware that even though beer gives the recipe its distinct flavor, all the alcohol is cooked out pretty quickly – beer brats won’t get you drunk!

    Apple juice might work. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Susan

    I need to try this. I don’t have much experience with sausage, but we love sauerkraut at our house. I always caramelize the onions over very low heat first and add a splash of balsamic vinegar near the end of the caramelization before adding the sauerkraut and caraway to it. Do you suppose I could be cooking the sausage in with the onions for an indoor meal?

    Sure! ~Elise

  • Greg Walker

    I was seeking another use for my pickle crock collection, and I stumbled upon my grandmother’s sauerkraut recipe. Best ever and so very simple. It is nothing more than shredded cabbage and a little onion layered in the crock with coarse salt and a weight on top. You do have to keep an eye out for anything that you do not want on your kraut, like fuzz or mold, but other than that, it just ferments away and in a few weeks you have great sauerkraut.

    Just make sure that your fermentation room is well ventilated. When you do everything right, it becomes a bit aromatic.

    I’ve heard about the “aromatic” part. Why my father refuses to let me make sauerkraut in his garage. ~Elise

  • esti

    I don’t drink but would love to try this recipe what would be a good alternative for the beer?

    Hmmm, this recipe really requires beer. You could just cook the sausages in a mixture of half water half chicken stock, making sure you use all of the liquid from the sauerkraut as well. It won’t taste the same but it should still be good. ~Elise

  • CJ McD

    I recommend using smoked keilbasa, not fresh keilbasa. The smoked keilbasa lends itself flavor and texture wise to grilling.

    All you need is some boiled baby potatoes, some grilled corn and mmm-mmm-mmm!

  • Lillianne

    I always add one or two peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples. Love this.

  • Anna

    I make a similar shredded cabbage and kielbasa (smoked Polish sausage) dish when I’m really short on time and attention.

    Place shredded cabbage in a buttered or greased casserole (bacon drippings are great!). Include grated carrot and/or kale for visual and flavor interest if desired. Dot with some bits of bacon drippings if you have some; otherwise use dots of butter. Add 1 tablespoon of water.

    Slice a smoked kielbasa sausage into 3/4″ thick rounds and place sausage cut side up all over the top of the cabbage, spaced closely together (hot dogs will work, too). Bake in a 350°F oven, covered for 30 minute, then another 10 minutes uncovered (40 minutes total). Serve hot.

  • Anna

    How do I love Bubbies sauerkraut, let me count the ways…. Bubbies sauerkraut and pickles are sold in the chill case.

    Beware, not all the sauerkraut and pickles located in the chill case are as good as Bubbies, which is made the old-fashioned way, with cabbage or pickles and salt through an artisan style process called lacto-fermentation, which has been used through the ages to as food preservation and to boost nutrition/improve digestion.

    Most commercial sauerkraut is now made in with a quicker, cheaper, more standardized industrial process using vinegar and heat instead of beneficial bacteria, brine, and time. I like to serve condiment-sized servings of raw (uncooked) Bubbies sauerkraut often (or salad dressing made with sauerkraut or pickle juice instead of vinegar), as raw fermented foods are naturally probiotic food, which means they contain beneficial bacteria which support good gut flora and immune function (much of the immune system is located in the intestines, as the GI tract is source of exposure to the environment). The soluble fiber in cabbage also is prebiotic, which means even though we lack the enzymes necessary to break down the fiber, it can be fermented and broken down by gut bacteria, yielding beneficial nutrients and prompting healthy cell signaling (facilitating nutrient absorption).

    Heating sauerkraut over 115°F will kill the beneficial bacteria (though it’s still a healthy food) so keep that in mind if you are consuming sauerkraut for the probiotics.

    What excellent information, thank you! No wonder my dad only gets Bubbies. ~Elise