Trader Joe’s Bavarian Bratwurst

 Finally, something I really, really know something about (well, except beer and wine but this is where it all started!). Let me take you to the way back machine and transport you 1980 where as a kid I was living in Germany, namely a small city called Bonn where my father was stationed (as a civilian) at the embassy there. We lived in the small community of Plittersdorf and there were several hundred Americans living there. We were pretty far from most of the American military bases back then. I think the closest base of any size was in Frankfurt about an hour up the Rhine river.

I spent a lovely year in Bonn finishing out high school and got lucky enough to go to Munich for two years and went to school at University of Maryland – Munich Campus. I loved living in Munich, it’s a great city. Not too big, but close enough to so many countries. Austria, Switzerland, France and then later Czech republic. I spent a lot of time downtown Munich roaming around, hanging out and of course drinking beer!

Anyone that spends any amount of time  in Germany will eventually run into eating at a Schnellimbuss (translates to fast food or snack bar) on the streets in Germany. Usually they carry wurst, schnitzel, pomme frites, chicken. There are a ton of them and they are everywhere. I ate a ton of wurst and frites on the street and usually would go for curry wurst and frites. They would pile up a small plate with frites wurst then pour the curry ketchup sauce over them. Man, I was in heaven eating those things. Curry wurst is generally in northern Germany, but is probably available all over the place now. The curry sauce was generally a simple concoction of ketchup and curry powder poured over some type of pork sausage. In southern Germany that might be bratwurst. Bratwurst are like hot dogs to Bavarians, they are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. This is the go-to food when you are out walking around the streets. When most people think about brats in this country they think of Johnsonville, which seem to burst on the scene a few years ago. Before that it was kind of hard to find decent bratwurst. I’ve even made my own and it’s pretty easy and can be really tasty.

You don’t see many “Made in Germany” products at Trader Joe’s. Mainly candy, cookies and some seasonal Christmas stuff and it was a joy to see authentic, “Made in Germany” from Bavaria Bratwurst show up on the shelves a few weeks ago. These are smaller than the fresh, raw Hofbrau bratwurst that Trader Joe’s sells (that looks suspiciously like Isenrios). I have to say I like these a bit better. They are in a smaller form factor and lighter in color and weight when you eat them. I would say they are more “refined” and more European than the fresh ones. The combination of spices seems just right and what I remember back in Germany all those years ago. You can throw them on the grill or cook them in skillet like I did. You get 8 sausages and the total weight is 7 oz, so they are little like breakfast links. Traditionally what I do is the old Wisconsin way of cooking them and that is boiling them in beer and onions, something I don’t ever remember a German doing, but that keeps them moist and adds some flavor.

Anyway, so I just browned them in a couple of tablespoons of water until they are cooked through (they are already cooked). I didn’t have any pomme frites available but a perfectly authentic way to serve them  is with a hunk of bread and then I also served them with Trader Joe’s Dijon Mustard (which is one of my top products of all time) and then a curry concoction of Trader Joe’s Ketchup and Trader Joe’s Curry Powder. Zehr Gut!

These are the real deal if you want authentic Bavarian bratwurst so I am going to rate them 9 Bells!

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