New Year’s Eve

Brats and New Years

Brats and New Years

Somewhere in the hands, or basement, or files, or attic of one of my siblings is a picture of my Dad on New Year’s Day. Not so much unusual about that, but this one captured the essence of Dad on New Year’s Day.

He had this wild streak in him.  Well, wild for him at least. He would fire up this little charcoal grill in our backyard, which sat on a dilapidated old work bench outside next to the garage, and cook bratwurst. Before he lit the charcoal, he completed two vital actions: He brushed the snow off the workbench, and he made a martini for himself.

Perhaps my memory is a bit messy, but I remember him doing this on many New Year’s.  The picture I referred to has him standing in front of the little grill, martini in his mittened-hand, wearing a snowmobile jacket and a foot of snow on the workbench.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention, wearing a huge smile, too.

I decided it would be a fitting tribute to Dad to bring this memory to life, sans the martini.  There isn’t any snow on my grill because it sits under a covered patio, but there IS snow on the ground.  The temperature is about 12 degrees, and those are Wisconsin brats.

The brats on the grill have been parboiled in Pabst beer with a generous addition of sliced onions.  They go from the pot to the grill, where they get the nice coloring and a great flavor.  After the grilling, they get returned to the pot of beer and onions, where they can simmer for a whole day and only get better as time goes by.

I have had brats in Wyoming that go right from the package to the grill, and that just seems so wrong.  The beer and onions method is part of the birthright of Wisconsinites, and we get the recipe with our birth certificate.

Here’s to you, Dad.  Happy New Year!


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