So we, as in me and my two roommates, decided to take this basic recipe and the 3 prior negative comments to create a super tasty dish worthy of the Man Fuel name. First and foremost, put away the beef bouillon; we're making pork & beef gravy after all. Salt to taste throughout the process, however. Second, break out the crock pot because some slow cooking is involved. Third, add green peppers and onions ... and a bit of sage or other spices that match your pork pallet. Finally, garnish with man's worst enemy ... green veggies. How low can we go? A ring of six oven roasted brussell sprouts, that's how low we went. Basically the same ingredients, otherwise. So here we go. Start by heating some butter in a pan to begin the saute and add fat that will eventually go into the gravy roux. Cook the brats in the butter, piercing beforehand to allow additional fat to escape into the oil. Brown around it a bit as you cut veggies and add them to the heating crock pot with seasonings and upwards of two bottles of beer. Choose as you will but Pabst Blue Ribbon Brats were quite yummy. When the veggie chop is through and the crock is heating, the sausages should be browning up nicely. When half cooked, add the brats to the veggie broth and slow cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Reserve the butter and fat oils for use in the gravy and second saute process and keep the pan handy, unwashed. Mashed potatoes are definitely involved and if you're boiling and mashing your own, you should start them around this point. We used instant, however, and devoted the intervening time to appertifs. Needless to say, this is a somewhat complex cooking process that involves the re-introduction of the saute pan and about 30 minutes of final cook time. To begin that process, start heating a bit of the reserved oils in the previously used pan which you will add veggies and brats to and begin sauteing over mid-high heat. Meanwhile, start the roux. Heat the rest of the fat and start adding flour a teaspoon to tablespoon at a time until you reach desired roux consistency and browness. Mind us, roux consistency not gravy consistency ... that's what the beer broth is for. When the roux is good, thick and golden, start adding the beer broth remaining in the crock, about a cupful at a time, stirring between each addition until the gravy reaches desired consistency. Let it simmer medium as you finish the details. I did forget to mention the brussells sprouts, simply roasted in olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, ground peppercorns and a bit of white cheese. Temp: preheated oven 400 degrees, baking dish covered in foil. Begin baking in oven about an hour before the final product is plated. So now we have gravy in small pot, brats and peppers and onions in larger diameter pan, mashed potatoes in mashing pot or microwave safe dish, brussells sprouts coming hot out of the oven. Serve it up. Mashed potatoes on the bottom ... a bit of gravy ... the peppers and onions ... a brat or two per plate ... smothered in more gravy ... ringed with about six oven-roasted brussell sprouts. Enjoy ... It is Man Fuel, indeed ... meat, potatoes, even veggies ... and what man meal would be complete without beer? Cheers
I'm still not sure how I felt about this gravy. I used a dark malty beer, which may have changed the flavour dramatically, but there were a few other things about it that I didn't really care for. The first thing was the saltiness. After reading the other reviews, I added half the amount of bouillon, (the bouillon actually caused a fairly major eruption with the beer, and I lost most of my Italian seasoning onto the counter). Even at half, it was STILL very salty. The other factor was the texture of the gravy. More cornstarch (1 tsp) was needed to thicken it sufficiently, but the final texture was almost rubbery. The overall flavour was good on the brats, but it quite overpowered the potatoes. I do feel bad giving it only a 3, but I think some changes need to be made. I may try it again with a lighter beer and less bouillon. If the results improve, I'll gladly change my rating.
I made the gravy with Black Butte Porter, a delicious beer. I also had trouble getting the gravy to thicken. I added more cornstarch twice before it started to get the right consistency. And WOW was the gravy salty, I am a big fan of salt, but this was too much bouillon. With less salt, this would be a nice alternative to plain brown gravy.
Having never pan fried brats before, I ended up feeling like the directions were very much lacking. Not sure if they were supposed to be fried in anything, but I ended up adding a couple of tbsp of water just so they wouldn't stick so much to the bottom of the pan and the directions should probably indicate that at medium heat, if you don't roll them over really often, the brats will start to burn. After what seemed like forever (more than 25 minutes at any rate) they still hadn't cooked much in the center so I turned the heat down and put a lid on the pan. That seemed to work better. I used Johnsonville brats and Newcastle ale and made the gravy as directed. It thickened pretty much not at all, so I added another 1/2 tbsp cornstarch. All in all it was pretty good and nice for a different way to do brats. I liked the taste of the flavor pan-frying gave the brats, once I finally got them to cook through rather than just burn on the outside. But a bit of warning, I've been known to eat salt straight out of the shaker and I thought the gravy was a little too salty, you may need to cut back on the bouillon if you're not really, really excited by the taste of salt.