The Juiciest Brats You'll Ever Have: Our Secret Ingredient Revealed

The Juiciest Brats You'll Ever Have: Our Secret Ingredient Revealed

Butter Basted Brats

There’s a delicious thing that claims residency in Wisconsin, it’s called the butter burger. It has become institutionalized in all Wisconsinite’s minds (and tummies) thanks to what has become an iconic part of the Wisconsin landscape, Culver’s restaurants. I recall my very first visit to Culver’s was back in the early 90’s. I had spent a crisp fall day hiking at Devil’s Lake state park in Baraboo, Wis. with my 4-H Club. As we were all packing into cars for the nearly two-hour drive back home one parent, Bruce, suggested one more stop. I couldn’t believe my mom agreed, an extra stop like that was a rare occasion. We always had to be home in time for chores and I wondered who was going to feed the baby calves if I wasn’t there? The caravan of vehicles followed Bruce and as we pulled up, I made eye contact with that big blue sign. My first Culver’s experience was at the original Culver’s in Sauk City, Wis. At the time I hadn’t heard of Culver’s or a butter burger and didn’t know the difference between custard and ice cream but everything about that stop was delicious. Thank you, Bruce, for introducing Culver’s to my life. And not to worry, my farm chores were waiting for me when I got home.

Cold butter melting over brats on the grill

A butter burger in Wisconsin is known for having a smear of butter on both sides of a bun which is then toasted. It adds great flavor and a delicate crunch. This week the weather has been glorious in the 70°Fs and 80°Fs. Not to worry, there is snow in the forecast - this is Wisconsin after all. I grabbed some beer brats at the grocery store last week and pondered for a few days as to how I was going to kickoff grilling season with them. I kept thinking about butter burgers, but I had brats in the fridge. I asked myself, why not a butter brat? Perfect, I would grill the brats, smear some of our Signature butter on the brat buns and toast them on the grill. However, that’s not how things went in real life.

Butter basted brats with toasted buns

I threw the brats on my smoker and thought about how I wanted crispy brats but didn’t want them to dry out. I got some char marks on both sides of the brats, and after 2-3 minutes transferred them to a pan on the smoker and added some cold butter. I tend to use cold butter when basting so it slowly melts. I rubbed the brats with the butter until it all melted, closed the lid, and let them smoke on medium-low. Every few minutes I would flip the brats in the pan and baste them with the melted butter until they were cooked through to 160°F. At the end I tossed on the buttered buns and let them get crispy. The final verdict, I can’t recall ever having a brat that juicy. The skin was crispy, it had that satisfying crack when biting in and the juice slowly dripped out of the brat. Is a brat basted in butter indulgent? Yes. Will I do it again? Absolutely. Will I add onions and peppers to the pan with the butter brats? Highly likely!


Recipe for Butter Basted Brats

P.S. If you haven’t heard Craig Culver tell the story of Culver’s I highly recommend listening to this episode of How I Built This with Guy Raz. You’ll learn about where the idea for the butter burger and custard came from and how the iconic blue Culver’s sign came to be.

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