Beer and Bratwursts are a Match Made in Heaven...
...or so says this cook & sports fan. Add some cheese and we're talking magic!
As a cook and an arbiter of taste in the sports and food space,
one of the things that's most important to me is working with brands and products that I actually like--with food products I would actually eat myself and serve in my own home. I stay away from products that don't fit that criteria.
A few years ago for Labor Day, my husband and I went on a spontaneous car trip throughout New England in search of America's oldest taverns and pubs. (I like beer. He LOVES beer. And we went looking for the oldest places to drink it). It was a fantastic trip that took us through New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island and we visited what is considered to be the oldest tavern in America--the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island. Awesome. We even bought souvenirs just because it's the oldest.
Why do I bring this up? One, I am a total history geek and I live for this stuff. Two, and more importantly, because when I teamed up with Smithfield to come up with a recipe for their latest product in their special Craft Collection, I was delighted to find out that the product, bratwursts (mmmm!), were made with Yuengling, America's oldest beer! (To be very specific, Yuengling & Son, established in 1829, is the oldest operating brewing company in the United States). I thought to myself, "Cool! Beer and brats, I already love that combination. But with Yuengling already cooked in? Nice!"
Think of two of your favorite things partnering up together--peanut butter and chocolate, chocolate chip cookies and milk, burgers and French fries, etc. I was excited. You have what I consider to be a premium pork brand that I've known since I was a kid (and this is their even more elevated craft line made with American craft beers, which the foodie in me loves) and a beer that to me embodies America's heritage of dedication to craftsmanship (and yumminess) smashed together into a bratwurst designed for our eating pleasure. So with that in mind, I came up with a yummy recipe to showcase the brats and to up the ante on your tastebuds' delight.
There are a couple tricks to making my Beer Brat Cheese Dip just right. First, you have to properly grill the brats, which is perfectly timed for the summer season. (Or you can get an indoor grill and make this recipe all year round like I intend to. I shared my first batch with some friends and I was out in like 10 minutes. I then made another batch and that didn't last long either. So plan on making a bunch of this dip because it's going to go...quick).
I grilled my Smithfield Yuengling beer brats in 20 minutes. Each side got 10 minutes on the grill, but I rotated them twice (so five minutes, flip; five minutes, flip; repeat). You could also boil your brats first and finish on the grill, but I found that I liked the texture I got from grilling them only.
The second trick to making this ridiculously awesome dip (if I don't say so myself) is to add in your cheeses slooooowly. You'll see in the recipe that you're first blending your cream cheese with (more) Yuengling and that's to give you a thick and creamy base to melt your other cheese into. (Normally you would allow the beer to cook off but in my recipe I don't...so maybe keep this recipe from the kiddies). If you add in the amount of cheese I prescribe slowly, it'll all melt together well. If you add in too much at a time, you may feel compelled to add more liquid. Just beware, if you do, you'll likely end up with cheesy soup and not dip.
And that's basically it. It's a simple recipe that you can make start to finish in 30 minutes. (You can also let it marinate in its own goodness for another 20 to 30 minutes in the oven if you choose. Either way, this recipe is tasty).
Some Information about the Product
Smithfield Yuengling Bratwursts come in 19-ounce packages for a limited time throughout grilling season at East Coast grocers such as Shop Rite and Harris Tetter and sell for $4.99. For this recipe, I used two packs (most of the brats were grilled up and served alongside the dip for dipping).
The new line of Smithfield Craft Collection bratwursts feature premium pork combines with real IPAs, ales and lagers. Yuengling is considered a lager.
For more information, head here.