Beer-Braised Bratwurst

Reliable, semi-fancy, and undoubtedly delicious.

Words by Monique Seitz-Davis, photos by Bryce Olsen

Fancy car-camping dinners can be wonderful. But after a long day of exploration, the prospect of cooking up a slow-roasted gamut of meat, potatoes, and greens can be daunting. And yet, chowing down on a box of mac and cheese or pre-cooked rice can sound equally unappealing.

So, sometimes you just have to abide by the K.I.S.S rule. This delightful little acronym stands for: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

We’d like to think that beer-and-fire braised bratwurst paired with sauteed peppers and onions is a happy medium between your freeze-dried meals and those 2-hour-long endeavors. Not only that, but there’s something about fire-kissed bratwurst that’s unparalleled to even the most complex burgers or stews. Maybe it’s the rewarding, snappy texture combined with the juicy, smoked goodness. Or, maybe it’s the connection to our Paleolithic ancestors. And then again, it could be something completely and utterly unrelated—you could just be very hungry.

Whatever the reason is, this recipe is fast, savory, and filled with flavor, yet it’s simple and easy on the wallet. I prefer precooked bratwurst or sausages: this makes transport, cooking, and clean up a real breeze. On the other hand, you can get as fancy as you like: swap out prepackaged bratwurst for handcrafted local sausages. Or, you can substitute the meat tubes in favor of meatless alternatives.

That being said, this recipe is better suited for car camping, and, as a result, the options are limitless. You can bring the kitchen sink and then some: let your creativity be unobstructed. We’re a big fan of cooking in cast irons while car camping, as they bring forward a robust, smoky flavor that’s not often experienced when cooking at home. However, beat-up pots and pans will do just fine, too. Personally, I’m not a big fan of using aluminum foil, simply because of the waste that it creates. So, without further ado:


“Maybe it’s the rewarding, snappy texture combined with the juicy, smoked goodness.”


[Feeds 5 people and then some]

  • 2 packages of precooked bratwurst or sausage (Aidells is my favorite)
  • 3 green peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 onion (sweet or red works fine)
  • 1 can of PBR or Coors
  • 1 container of hot dog buns
  • 1 roaring(ish) fire
  • A few hot pads, Kinco gloves, and a spatula

Note: I purposely make an excess amount of food as to repurpose the ingredients into breakfast hash the following morning. So if you intend to follow my instructions and ingredients list, be prepared for a lot of food and a need for overnight storage. I recommend bringing Tupperware or Pyrex. It comes in handy more often than you think.

Loose Instructions

Admittedly, there’s no concrete method to my madness. I grew up cooking on the fly, so my approach to recipes is relatively similar.

Thinly slice up your peppers and onions. Toss in the dutch oven or cast iron pan. Pour a little bit of beer in with the veggies. Carefully place cast iron or dutch oven atop the fire.

Next, wrangle your tube meats. Carefully place them in another cast iron or dutch oven. Shower them with beer. Again, carefully place atop the fire.

Watch diligently, as campsite scavengers are known for abducting such delicious treats. Turn veggies until they are gently sauteed. Keep an eye on your bratwurst, flip when one side is taut and slightly crispy. Pour additional beer atop bratwurst or vegetables when necessary: you want to make sure that neither cast iron loses moisture. After all, there’s a fine line between artistically burnt food and severely-charred-beyond-recognition snacks.

Upon completion, remove your savory snacks from the fiery pit. Adorn hotdog bun with vegetables and resplendent meat. And now, enjoy.


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