New Ways to Grill Brats and Burgers

Photo: villagemoon, Getty Images.

Burgers and brats are grilling standbys for a reason — make that many reasons: Because they require little preparation, can feed a crowd on short notice, and no one ever refuses them (except vegetarians, which is why you shouldn’t invite them to your BBQ in the first place). But even the juiciest brats and the most mouthwatering burgers could use an upgrade from time to time. That’s where TV food personality and author Adam Richman comes in. He has two hot takes on brats and burgers for your grilling pleasure; the first incorporates beer into your brats (‘nuf said) and the second is a cheese-filled patty reminiscent of the infamous Juicy Lucy burger. If these recipes don’t light your fire, nothing will.

Milwaukee Beer-Braised Bratwurst Sandwich with Pittsburgh-Style Slaw

Photo: Evan Sung.

“In Green Bay’s Lambeau Field stadium, there is a restaurant called Curly’s Pub, named for the great Packers coach Curly Lambeau. Tailgating culture is extremely strong in the great state of Wisconsin, and the sovereign meat product of a Wisconsin tailgate is the bratwurst. At Curly’s Pub I saw the brats braised slowly with beer and onions, which added a depth of sweetness and flavor. The slaw is inspired by the great Primanti Bros. restaurant in Pittsburgh. Slaw appears on all their sandwiches (along with French fries, of course). It’s got a wonderful bracing acidity and is more of an Italian salad than your traditional mayonnaise-based picnic slaw.” – Adam Richman


For the Slaw:

  • 1 pound green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Brats:

  • 4 bratwurst links
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 12-ounce bottles of beer
  • 4 hoagie rolls, toasted
  • Spicy mustard to taste (optional)


1.       Combine the cabbage, sugar, salt, and celery seed in a colander set over a bowl. Let stand for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours to let the cabbage fully wilt and release its juices.

2.       Transfer the wilted cabbage to a clean bowl (discard any remaining liquid). Add the oil and vinegar and toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste.

3.       Put the brats and the onion in a large pot and cover with the beer. Place directly on the grill, over high heat and bring to a boil.

4.       Remove brats from the beer and onion bath and place directly on the grill, grilling until full cooked.

5.       Stuff the toasted rolls with the brats and onions. Top with the cabbage slaw and some spicy mustard, if using, and serve.

Tip: If you prefer to keep the sausage moist and juicy, transfer the brats from the pot to a cast iron pan on the grill and cook until fully cooked.

By Adam Richman. Adapted from “Straight Up Tasty.” Courtesy Clarkson Potter 2015.

Also: 5 Cocktails Ideal for Day Drinking

Juicy Lucia

Photo: Evan Sung.

“The Juicy Lucy is easily the Twin Cities’ most iconic burger. This cheese-filled masterpiece has been the subject of feverish debate for generations, with two iconic spots claiming to be its originator: Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club. To avoid my potential partisan affiliation, I offer up a variation that bears no resemblance to either of those progenitors but pays tribute nonetheless. This Italian version combines bulk Italian sausage with ground beef as well as fresh basil and roasted peppers, and it’s stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese.” – Adam Richman


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 pound hot Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil, cut into thin chiffonade slices
  • 3 roasted peppers
  • 6 semolina rolls
  • Olive oil, for grilling the rolls
  • Roasted Garlic Mayo (see below)


1.       Mix the beef with the salt, pepper, garlic, liquid smoke, and sausage meat. Form into 12 thin patties, each roughly 5 inches in diameter.

2.       Cut the cheese into 6 slices and place 1 slice on top of half the patties. Top the cheese with some basil, half a roasted red pepper, and finish with a second meat patty. Crimp the edges of the patties to enclose the stuffing, making sure no cheese is exposed.

3.       Chill the patties for about 15 minutes. Preheat your grill or a cast-iron skillet to medium high.

4.       Place the patties on the grill and cook until medium and no longer red in the center, about 6 minutes on each side. While the burgers are cooking, brush the cut sides of each roll with olive oil and grill or toast until golden.

5.       To serve, place the burgers in the grilled rolls and top with a dollop of the garlic mayo.

Serves: 6

Roasted Garlic Mayo


  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise


1.       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.       Peel off and discard the outer layers of the garlic skin, leaving the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off about ½ inch of the top of the garlic head to expose the individual cloves.

3.       Put the garlic in an oven-safe pan and rub the olive oil over the exposed cloves. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes, until the entire head is very soft.

4.       Remove the pan from the oven and let the garlic cool. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and whisk to blend thoroughly. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Makes 1/2 cup.

By Adam Richman. Courtesy of “Straight up Tasty,” Clarkson Potter, 2015.