Bratwurst Subs with Ale Onions


Some of my favorite foods are some that for some reason I never imagine having at home. The type you can find at baseball games, breweries, and fairs, and for some reason the type that never occurs to me that also can be made at home! I think we can all probably agree, for some odd reason, there is something intimidating about making the foods we don't eat often. Despite that, some of the most delicious and easiest fun fall recipes are just that kind.

Like these bratwurst subls with ale onions! Bratwurst truly tastes like the epitome of fall- similar to sausage, with a mild sweetness, but the same savory flavor essential to a good sub. In a good roll, topped with slow caramelizing ale onions and sauerkraut, I'm not sure what could be better. In terms of speedy fall dinners, or a fun weekend autumn lunch, this one has definitely got you covered.

Starting with the best part

Okay, I know, this is a recipe about a bratwurst sub, but honestly these onions are the best part. On their own, I certainly wouldn't hesitate to eat them with a fork, but to be honest they taste even better paired with the rest of this sub. While I think we all love caramelized onions, these onions are extra special in that they don't need much oil or butter, and become super soft and caramelized mostly from the beer.

We'll start by melting a bit of butter in a large skillet and adding our thinly sliced onion. We'll also add in some salt, a little brown sugar (which pairs perfectly with the other flavors) and some apple cider vinegar. Out of these couple of additions, the apple cider vinegar is by far my favorite. Extremely acidic on its own, a little dash in a recipe like this not only brightens the flavor a little, but also does lend that apple flavor that we are all currently craving. Like white wine or lemon juice, a dash of acidity seems to always add that flavor that we know is missing.

Once the onions are softened, it's time to grab your favorite ale (or, okay, I'll be honest, any beer you have in the fridge) and add a cup to the simmering onions. Of the truest fall flavors, I truly think beer could be one of them. While we often cook with wine, I often forget the subtle flavor that a good ale can add. In this case, the onions take on that subtle flavor and it truly is a match made in heaven with the bratwurst.

While the onions are simmering, it's time to grill the bratwurst. In this recipe we are using precooked bratwurst, but if you can only find raw then you can cook them as you would a normal sausage and then proceed with the rest of the recipe. With precooked items like this, my favorite thing to do is always sear or grill them. If you have a grill, it's as easy as lightly oiling it then roasting the bratwurst on each side until charred. If you don't have a grill, a little oil in a hot skillet will also be perfect.

Ending with the most important part!

While I may have said the onions were the best part, I really think the other toppings could be the most important part. Starting with what could be the best condiment, the mustard here is a main character. When I think of my favorite fall spots, and the fun autumn recipes that can be made at home, my mind almost always heads straight for the dunkers and toppers, in which case mustard usually tops the list. To stand up to the many textures in this sub, the grainy kind is key and adds the best flavor.

Now to sauerkraut. Our family has always loved having barbecues on our deck, complete with all the classic barbecue sides. While the holiday barbecues are usually planned, we also love a spur of the moment Sunday evening dinner complete with our go-to outdoor fireside foods. While we always agree on the staples (hot dogs, burgers, etc.), we also always have fun going our separate ways in the grocery store, coming back to the cart with our individual favorites. Our dad has been know to grab some sauerkraut, and while otherwise having the best taste in food, we've still always been slightly skeptical!

Going off our dad's advice, I recently tried it, and in certain circumstances it adds the perfect umami flavor that I don't think could be replaced by anything else! With the same vinegary base as a pickle, the flavor can really stand up to everything else in this sub and add the perfect kick.

Toast up those buns, and serve the bratwurst topped with the ale onions, grainy mustard, and sauerkraut. Grab these rolls for the next football game, October dinner, fall weekend lunch, or any other time you're craving the easiest meal reminiscent of all the best fall activities.

Bratwurst Subs with Ale Onions

Satisfying and super easy at-home brewery-worthy grilled bratwurst subs topped with ale-caramelized onions, sauerkraut, and grainy mustard.



Servings: 4

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beer, ale
  • 4 bratwurst
  • 4 sub rolls
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut
  • grainy mustard


1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion, salt, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Sauté over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add beer and simmer over low heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes until onions are caramelized.

2. Meanwhile, grill bratwurst until charred and warm and toast sub rolls.

3. Serve on sub rolls, topped with ale onions, sauerkraut, and grainy mustard.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

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