Wisconsin Beer Brats Recipe (Grilled Beer Boiled Brats)

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE SALES LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY FULL DISCLAIMER POLICY FOR DETAILS.

Being born & raised in Wisconsin, this Wisconsin Beer Boiled Brats recipe is a total summer staple at the PWWB house! Juicy bratwurst sausages first simmer in beer with onions for extra flavor, then finish over direct flame for a char-grilled crispy & crusty exterior. This post will teach you how to cook beer brats the easy way – you need just 3 ingredients, & I’m sharing my entire grilled brats method, including a secret step to keep them extra juicy & flavorful!

Grilled Beer Brat on a brioche bun, sitting on a small white plate with potato chips & grilled onions. The plate is on a black & white striped napkin atop a white surface. Surrounding the plate is a glass of beer, cans of Miller Light beer, & a small ramekin of whole grain mustard.

Pin this Grilled Wisconsin Beer Brats recipe for later!

Beer brats are a summer staple, especially at the PWWB house! You can always count on them being served at our family gatherings & grill-outs.

But making beer boiled brats doesn’t have to be saved for weekend cookouts. Beer brats are great for summer parties, sure, but they’re also super low maintenance, meal prep friendly, & budget-friendly – a weeknight cooking trifecta! Chris & I have them for dinner at least once a week during the summer months.

Maybe that’s just the kind of thing that happens when you’re both born & raised in Wisconsin, but I’m thinking that as soon as you try this beer brats recipe, you’ll be doing the same.

2 beer brats in brioche buns with mustard & grilled onions. The brats sit atop a piece of while parchment paper on a small metal baking sheet. The baking sheet sits next to a black & white striped napkin on a white surface.

These beer boiled brats are…

  • SIMPLE. This beer brats recipe is made with just 3 ingredients…does it get simpler than that?
  • EASY. These grilled brats take less than 10 minutes to prep, & most of the cooking time is totally inactive. Easy peasy!
  • JUICY & FLAVORFUL. Nothing’s worse than a dried-out or bland brat. I’m sharing all my tips & tricks for the juiciest, most flavorful beer brats every single time!
  • GRILLED TO PERFECTION. You don’t have to worry about firing up the stove for these beer boiled brats – they’re made entirely on the grill, meaning clean up’s a breeze!
Grilled Beer Brat on a brioche bun, sitting on a small white plate with potato chips & grilled onions. The plate is on a black & white striped napkin atop a white surface. Surrounding the plate is a glass of beer, cans of Miller Light beer, a small ramekin of whole grain mustard, & a second plate of beer boiled brats.

Get your grill going, these will be the best grilled brats you’ve ever tried! ♡ Read on to learn more about this beer brats recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

This beer brats recipe is made with 3 simple ingredients!

Beer brats ingredients arranged on a white surface - raw bratwurst sausage on a small piece of parchment paper, next to 2 cans of Miller Light & a white dish of thinly sliced onion.

Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

You’ll need 3 simple ingredients to make this beer brats recipe:

  • Bratwurst – Use whatever brats you love most. If I can’t get to my favorite butcher shop back in my hometown, I actually prefer the brats from ALDI the most! They have an awesome consistency, & they’re totally juicy & flavorful. During the summer months, ALDI sells party packs of brats, which are especially handy if you’re grilling for a crowd.
  • Onion – Pretty straight-forward! I typically just use yellow onions, as that’s what I keep stocked in my pantry, but sweet onions would be awesome too.
  • Beer – They wouldn’t be beer boiled brats without it, right??

What’s the best beer for beer brats? 

The best beer for beer boiled brats is whatever beer you love most. Seriously!

I prefer a Wisconsin lager or ale, such as New Glarus Spotted Cow, Miller High Life, or PBR. I find the lighter flavor doesn’t overpower the flavor of the brats themselves.

If you prefer a heavier or darker beer, feel free to use whatever you love, noting that more intensely flavored beers will more intensely flavor the beer boiled brats.

How to cook beer brats on the grill:

Fresh sausage is a little tricky to grill in general. If not grilled properly, their casings can easily burst well before the center of the sausage is cooked through. Once that happens, their juices will cause flare-ups as they drip down into the flames, ultimately creating a big, burnt mess. Not good.

Lucky you, I’ve totally been there, too, & I’ve figured out how to avoid many of these common problems. If you’re figuring out how to cook beer brats perfectly, you’re in the right place!

There are 2 key secrets to grilling up juicy, flavorful beer boiled brats every time:

  1. Soak the brats.
  2. Create temperature zones for even grilling.

First, soak the brats in beer.

The secret for the most flavorful beer brats soaking them in advance. Yep, you heard that right! Not only are these beer boiled brats, but they are also beer marinated brats. Absolutely delicious!

The first step in this Wisconsin beer brats recipe is to marinate the brats in beer. Essentially, you do all the prep work for this beer brats recipe ahead of time, which takes no more than 10 minutes, & pop ’em in the fridge to marinate in the beer & soak up all the flavor.

Ideally the brats will soak for 24 hours, but 6-12 hours is totally sufficient too.

4 bratwurst sausage in a rectangle glass storage container, soaking in beer with onions. The glass container is atop a white surface.

Then, fire up the grill at dinnertime.

The other special part of this beer brats recipe is that they’re made entirely on the grill. Typically Wisconsin-style brats are boiled on the stovetop, then finished on the grill, but I prefer to make these beer boiled brats entirely on the grill. It’s nice to keep the entire cooking process outside, especially during the hot & humid summer months – nothing’s worse than a steaming hot boiling pot on the stove in the middle of July!

The secret to cooking beer boiled brats entirely on the grill lies in zone grilling. By creating 2 zones of heat on your grill, you can boil the brats with really gentle, steady direct heat before grilling them over strong direct heat for a deliciously charred finish.

If you’ve never grilled with indirect heat before, don’t panic. It’s the simplest thing.

  • Zone grilling on a gas grill – Prepare your gas grill for zone grilling by turning 1-2 burners on to their highest heat setting & 1-2 burners on their lowest heat setting. This creates a zone of strong direct heat (directly over the “high” burner flames) & a zone of gentler direct heat (directly over the “low” burner flames).
  • Zone grilling on a charcoal grill with zone grilling – Prepare your charcoal grill for zone grilling by lighting charcoal and arranging the majority of it on one side of your grill. This creates a zone of strong direct heat (directly over the majority of the charcoal) & a zone of gentler direct heat (the area of the grill that doesn’t have as much charcoal).

If you’re still unsure about zone grilling, be sure to check out this post for more information!

Beer-soaked brats in a large, black dutch oven. The brats are submerged in beer with thinly sliced onion. The Dutch oven is atop a white surface.

Boil the brats first.

Place the beer-soaked brats, along with the beer & onions they marinated with, in a heat-safe cast iron skillet or dutch oven. Set the skillet directly on the grill grates in the low heat zone.

How long to boil brats in beer? 

Grilled Wisconsin beer brats should boil for 10-15 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of about 145 degrees F. Between the time it takes to bring the brats to a boil & boiling the brats, this will take about 20-25 minutes total.

Be patient & keep the grill lid closed as much as possible so you don’t release unnecessary heat from the grill – it’ll only make things take longer!

Lastly, finish the brats over high heat.

Once the brats have boiled, it’s time for the fun part: grilling them off!

Use grilling tongs to carefully transfer the brats from the cast iron skillet to the grill grates in the high heat zone. Let them grill, turning them every few minutes until they’re as crusty & charred as desired. The beer brats will be ready to serve once they’ve reached internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

Don’t forget: a perfectly grilled beer brat needs a perfectly toasted bun!

Let’s chat buns real quick. A good grilled brat neeeeeeds a good bun. Period.

What makes a bun a good bun? If you ask me, a good brat bun needs to have the perfect balance of softness + sturdiness. A pillowy, soft bun will sort of wrap itself around the brat as you eat it, but it also needs to be sturdy enough that it won’t break apart at the seam.

Brioche buns are my personal favorite for brats or any grilled sausages since they are pillowy soft & they don’t break apart easily. Brioche buns are more & more readily available these days – I find them easily at ALDI during the summer months.

If you want to take your brat buns to the next level, brush them with a little oil (or spritz with a little cooking spray) & pop them on the grill grates to toast up for a minute or two as the brats finish cooking. The buns get toasty & slightly crisp – SO GOOD!

3 grilled beer brats on buns sit atop a parchment-paper lined metal baking sheet. The baking sheet is on a white surface, surrounded by a glass & can of beer, & a small plate with grilled onions.

The best toppings for beer-soaked brats: 

There are two kinds of grilled brat people: those who leave toppings very minimal & those who go ALL out. I know which kind of beer brats person I am…but you do you!

A few of the toppings we love at the PWWB house:

  • Beer-braised onions – Do NOT underestimate the deliciousness of the onions that boil alongside the brats. They are tender, full of flavor, & so good. A must-have topping for grilled brats!!!
  • Mustard – Chris always opts for spicy brown mustard, but I’m more of a whole grain Dijon gal myself. Grab whatever you love!
  • or try Dijonnaise! Fancy speak for mayonnaise + Dijon mustard. My personal favorite! Mix about 1/3 cup mayo with 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Add some garlic for aioli vibes, or a hint of honey for some honey-mustard vibes, or a dash of your favorite spice blend. YUM.
  • Sauerkraut – Not typically my favorite, but Chris loves it & it’s a pretty traditional/typical beer brats topping.

What to serve with this Wisconsin beer boiled brats recipe:

A good beer boiled brat dinner doesn’t need much else besides an icy cold beverage & a side or two.

Here are a few summer side dish ideas to get you started:

Grilled Beer Brat on a brioche bun, sitting on a small white plate with potato chips & grilled onions. The plate is on a black & white striped napkin atop a white surface. Surrounding the plate is a glass of beer, cans of Miller Light beer, & a small ramekin of whole grain mustard.

I can’t wait for you to try this beer brats recipe ASAP! We love it so much, & I know you will too.

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon
2 beer brats in brioche buns with mustard & grilled onions. The brats sit atop a piece of while parchment paper on a small metal baking sheet. The baking sheet sits next to a black & white striped napkin on a white surface.

Grilled Wisconsin Beer Boiled Brats Recipe

  • Author: Jess Larson | Plays Well With Butter
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 hours (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches & Burgers
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Being born & raised in Wisconsin, these Grilled Wisconsin Beer Boiled Brats are a total summer staple at our house! Juicy bratwurst sausages first simmer in beer with onions for extra flavor, then finish over direct flame for a char-grilled crispy & crusty exterior. The easiest & best grilled beer brats recipe!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bratwurst (4-6 sausages)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 24 ounces beer of choice (See Recipe Notes)
  • for serving, as desired: toasted brat buns or brioche buns, beer-braised onions, sauerkraut, mustard or Dijonnaise, etc.

Instructions

  1. Marinate the brats: At least 12 hours before grilling your beer brats, marinate the brats. Add the bratwurst sausages, sliced onion, and beer to a large airtight container or resealable bag. Shake to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or for up to 24 hours.
  2. Prepare your grill for zone grilling, creating a zone of direct high heat & a zone of direct low heat. If using a gas grill, begin preheating at least 15 minutes prior to grilling. If using charcoal, light the charcoal at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. (To learn more about zone grilling, be sure to check out this post.)
  3. Boil the beer brats: Transfer the brats (& onions, & beer) to a medium cast-iron skillet or a heat-safe Dutch oven. Transfer the cast iron/Dutch oven directly to the grill grates over the low heat zone. Close the grill. Bring the brats up to a boil, then boil for 10-12 minutes or until they reach about 145 degrees F. Between the time it takes to bring the brats to a boil & boiling the brats, this should take about 20-25 minutes total. Be patient & keep the grill lid closed as much as possible so you don’t release unnecessary heat from the grill – it’ll only make things take longer!
  4. Charbroil the beer brats: Once boiled, use grill tongs to carefully transfer the beer boiled brats directly to the grill grates. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, until charred as desired & the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Transfer to a plate to rest & cool slightly before serving.
  5. Serve the beer brats, atop a toasted bun, topped with the beer-braised onions, sauerkraut, &/or mustard as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Best beer for beer brats: I like to keep it simple & use a light Wisconsin lager or ale (PBR, Miller Lite, Spotted Cow, etc.). I find the lighter flavor doesn’t overpower the flavor of the brats. Feel free to use your beer of choice!
  • Boiling the brats: This recipe is written to boil the brats directly on the grill grates. If you’d prefer, you can, of course, broil the brats on a burner on your grill, or on the stovetop in your kitchen!

Keywords: beer brats recipe, grilling recipe, easy recipe, weeknight dinner

Obsessed with all things grilled? Us too! Here are PWWB’s Top Grilling Recipes that you HAVE to try next!

3 grilled beer brats on buns sit atop a parchment-paper lined metal baking sheet. The baking sheet is on a white surface, surrounded by a glass & can of beer, & a small plate with grilled onions.

Ready to Hit the Grill?

If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to this Grilling 101 post, where we dive into all the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.

All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 13 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.

& lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, & we have so much fun on Instagram!

Ready to learn more grilling tips & recipes?

Ready to learn more? Subscribe to receive PWWB Let’s Grill, Girls! updates sent straight to your inbox. We send good emails! All season long, we’re sharing exclusive grilling tips, tricks, & sneak peeks to our email friends. Plus, we’ll send all of our new grilling recipes straight to your inbox – you can save them in an easy & convenient spot for referencing all summer long. Subscribe below!

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest for more easy, modern recipes & fun!

Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

Don’t forget to pin this how to cook Beer Brats Recipe for later!!!

Wisconsin Grilled Beer Brats graphic with text overlay for Pinterest.

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

Topics

Sign up for our newsletter

Leave a Rating & Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. 7.5.20
    Cindy said:

    These were great! I grew up eating brats but always overcooked them. Using the zone grilling method and the beer left mine so juicy! Even leftovers the next day were great!

  2. 6.17.20
    Megan said:

    These were a huge hit! So tasty, so easy, and very little clean up- a win all around! I used a stronger beer and the flavor definitely comes through, so I would echo Jess’ recommendation to use a light beer if you want a subtle flavor.

  3. 6.11.20
    Heather said:

    These look amazing! Can you pre-boil them and grill them later? I’d love to prep them before a party next weekend and only have to grill to finish them. Can’t wait to try!

    • 6.24.20
      jess said:

      Hey Heather! Yes, you can definitely pre-boil to grill them later – I’d say up to 2-3 days in advance. Just keep the boiled brats in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to grill them off. They’ll be a hit!!