Go Pack Go: Same-Day Bratwurst from Grindhaus LA

Beer-Marinated, Grilled Bratwurst

Hollywood is a long way from Green Bay. And when beating the cross-stateline rivals, Chicago Bears, was essential to, first, making it into the 2010-2011 playoffs and, second, making it to Super Bowl XLV, I knew I needed a good luck ritual to help my team win the NFC Championships last week. I needed a good luck food.

My lack of planning meant that I forgot to mail-order the Sheboygan brats ahead of time. Instead of going to the supermarket for Johnsonville, I decided to channel my fandom through locally-made sausages, instead. I figured my Wisconsin meat-packing counterparts would understand, since I’d be saving shipping fuel and time. After all, freshness is key, and always has been the priority – even as a matter of spoilage thanks to high fat content in bratwurst, with the earliest recipes dating back to the 1400s.

Marinating Bratwursts

I stopped in the brand new, brick and mortar sausage shop known as Grindhaus on Hollywood Blvd. to see what was ready in their case. Italian sausage, bockwurst, pickled vegetables were all available, but of course, the bratwurst were sold out. I was lucky in that they were working on another batch. When I asked about their sauerkraut, they were also working on it then – but said it’d be ready and done fermenting in 8 days. I returned 2.5 hours later to get the first of the new batch of brats. They cost a reasonable $6/lb, which yielded 6 sausages for about $10.50. If my experience taught a lesson, phone in if you have specific tastes to see what they have in stock. They are allegedly rolling out their food truck very soon and will be roaming the eastside, so I can’t wait to taste their prepared food on-the-go.

Since my brats were completed literally a few minutes beforehand, one of the three friendly Grindhaus guys present advised to leave them in my fridge, uncovered, for a few hours so that the meat would settle and harden a bit inside the fresh casing. Done. And then it was time to start the ritual of marinating them overnight. Below is the marinade recipe I used, which I’m in no way touting as the best out there, nor is the method I used. I have a lot more experimentation to do before I cross that bridge. But these fresh brats from Grindhaus turned out so tasty, I was extremely proud of my somewhat haphazard method. Maybe this method will work for you, too.

(Recipe after the jump.)

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Brooklyn, New York: Prime Meats Is Simply Divine

Sauerbraten on Pretzel ($10)

My familiarity with The Franks, funny enough, began in Los Angeles at a little restaurant called Animal. So upon visiting Prime Meats with NYU grad student Nancy, I had experienced the imported version of Italian food originating at Frankies 457 – immediately next door.

Interior of Prime Meats

But that lunch, after my vintage hat box purchase at the Brooklyn Flea Market, would instead be German. Prime Meats’ menu is intact with The Franks’ restaurant philosophy, with housemade items and farm-to-table ingredients. The servers wear suspenders, cuffed jeans and pin-striped shirts; I had never been inside a German restaurant that had so successfully turned “dingy” on its side to yield “hip.” And here we were. Brooklyn. It was a beautiful, sunny day when we visited, and natural light flooded the doubly-expanded, distressed, wooden interior.

Though our fellow diners seemed to prefer breakfast, Nancy and I both settled on lunch. I was eager to try another interpretation of the German influences that had been so prevalent in my Midwest upbringing – or at least experience the Brooklyn, artisanal approach to it. Nancy’s Sauerbraten was dressed with braised red cabbage and came with a side of Bavarian mustard. The housemade pretzel braid that encased the sandwich, however, was key. I may have stolen a bite when she went to the bathroom, and had tried to refrain from asking for that third or fourth bite once she returned. That is my confession.

Weisswurst, Sweet Mustard, Pretzel Roll ($10)

That’s not to say that I was in the least bit dissatisfied with my serving of Weisswurst – made with minced veal and pork bacon. The server helpfully divulged that typically, the wurst is opened and the interior spooned out onto a roll – but that this housemade version was completely edible, inclusive of casing.

And he was right. It steamed as I cut it open and its texture inside was perfectly tender yet bouncy to the bite. I was really blown away by the mustard (also made in-house, of course) with its potency and subtle sweetness.

This is definitely a place that I would slate for a re-visit with purposes of trying more selections on the menu. It’s also a restaurant that would inspire me to call Brooklyn my home should I ever move to the East Coast, what with Prime Meats’ kitchen open until 1 or 2 AM. (It could be that early kitchen closing time is just an L.A. thing – grrr.) The prices are more than reasonable, staying true to making artisanal and simply prepared food accessible. Who knew that probably my favorite, casual German restaurant would be in Brooklyn?

Breakfast
Everyday: 7 AM – 1 PM
Sat & Sun: 7 AM – 3 PM

Lunch & Dinner
Mon – Wed 1 PM – 1 AM
Thurs 1 PM – 2 AM
Fri – Sat 3 PM – 2 AM
Sun 3 PM – 1 AM

No reservations

Prime Meats
465 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
718.254.0327