Gerhard Riautschnig says that cast iron pans are the way to cook his käsewurst. I spoke to the sausage maker about what makes a good brat for Growler Issue 14, and he stressed simplicity. Just heat up his brats in some simmering water, he says, and serve with mustard and crusty bread.
But the cheese brats are a little different, in that the cheese will begin to leak out of the pork casing. And if you’re diligent enough about making sure the brat cooks evenly, a cast iron pan allows you to mold a protective cheesy crust on the outside of the sausage.
That’s precisely what Surdyk’s is doing for lunch over the next couple weeks. Their cart will be out front of the store, stocked with Gerhard’s Brats every day (Mon-Sat) from 11am to 4pm (weather permitting) until Saturday, July 26th. Along with Kramarczuk’s, New Bohemia and the Bulldog, it’s going to be a meaty couple of weeks at the intersection of Hennepin and University. (Uni-würst-y?)
I take my cheese brat ($4) with warm sauerkraut, a couple raw onions and dijon mustard. The sausage breaks with a resounding snap, and the griddled cheese has in fact contributed to the crunch. The pork is flavorful, juicy, perfect. His (non cheese-filled) smoked brats were also being cooked at the cart, and check inside the deli to buy them at retail.
Gerhard is currently in Austria. That’s where he’s from and where he learned how to make fresh brats with his family. That’s also why I also couldn’t resist passing along this photo (left) of him wearing lederhosen. He’s nothing if not authentic. And so are his brats – a sausage as simple as pork shoulder, salt, pepper and garlic. So, if you’re used to buying brats with a longer ingredient list than that, you might want to head over to Surdyk’s and taste the difference.