Attention sausage and sauerkraut lovers! I think it's time we had our own fan club, don't you?
I nominate my Minnesota-raised father as the honorary chairman of that club. All I have to do is mention the words sausage and sauerkraut, and it doesn't seem to matter what else is involved. He's all over it.
In this case, when I mentioned we were grilling polish sausages and then simmering them in beer with sauerkraut and onions, he couldn't get here fast enough.
Polish Sausage with Sauerkraut—A Summer Standby
Sauerkraut and sausage are great summer grilling party food because you can keep those polish sausages simmering for a couple of hours on the grill, ensuring you have hot food ready throughout the party.
From what I understand, this dish is a summer standby in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Dad thinks it's pretty common in Nebraska too.
I'm just happy it made its way to Northern California. My patio, to be specific. Enjoy!
What Sausage Is Best for This Recipe?
Use either kielbasa or bratwurst in this recipe. Both are types of sausage. Kielbasa is a sausage of Polish origin that's commonly made with pork or a combination of pork and beef, seasoned with spices such as garlic, marjoram, and paprika. Bratwurst is a sausage of German origin (yes, this is a recipe for Polish sausage, but this German version is equally delicious in this dish) that's commonly made with pork and veal, seasoned with spices such as ginger, nutmeg, coriander, or caraway.
Can You Use Non-Alcoholic Beer in This Recipe?
You can use non-alcoholic beer, or NA beer in this recipe, and there are many options of NA beer to choose from that will add the flavor needed. But, be aware that non-alcoholic beer isn't always truly alcohol free. By law, it can contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). That small amount of alcohol is not enough to get anyone drunk or even tipsy, but those who are completely abstaining may want to stay away from non-alcoholic beer.
Perfect Sides for Sauerkraut and Sausage
Grilled Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut
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.
- 2 to 3 pounds sausage, either kielbasa or bratwurst
- 1 to 2 (12 ounce) cans light (not dark) beer
- 2 to 3 cups sauerkraut
- 2 medium yellow onions, thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 tablespoon caraway seed
- Mustard, for serving
Prepare the grill:
Heat the grill to medium heat.
Grill the sausages:
Place sausages on the heated grill and allow them to brown well. 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.)
Heat the beer with celery seed, caraway seeds, and salt:
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.)
Add the sausages and sauerkraut:
Once the sausages are browned add the sausages, sauerkraut, and sauerkraut juices to the pan with the beer.
Grill the onions:
Paint the sliced onion with the vegetable oil and grill on 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.
Cover the grill and simmer:
Simmer (not boil) for 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving. Cut the sausages into serving sized pieces before serving.
Serve as is in a bowl or on a plate, or in a sandwich roll. Serve with mustard on the side.