Cheddarwurst

Cheddar Bratwurst on a bed of sauerkraut
Cheddarwurst on a bed of sauerkraut

This has to be, hands down, the best wurst I’ve ever made!! Come on…when talking about wurst, you’ve got to expect the “best wurst” joke to pop up at some point, right?

I can’t remember the first time I had  cheddarwurst. I vaguely recall eating Hillshire Farm’s Cheddarwurst sometime in my childhood, but that surely shouldn’t count. I also remember some pre-cooked “hot dog” like bratwurst made by Johnsonville that is now called Beddar With Cheddar. From there, I graduated to their Cheddar Bratwurst, a far superior product but was it really authentic? Actually, as far as I can tell with a little bit of research, cheddarwust isn’t really authentic and was probably made up by an American sausage company, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I was sure that I could make a better version, and I did!! Just like the breakfast links, the credit for these ones go to Kevin P on the Smoke Ring Forum.

5lbs of Cheddar Wurst
5lbs of Cheddarwurst

Ingredients

  • 5 lb pork butt, ground
  • 5 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tb Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tb Ground Sage
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh Rosemary, finely chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tb Dry Mustard
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 8 oz Cheddar cheese, cubed in ¼” pieces (high temp cheese if you can find it)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 32mm Pork casings; tied off into 6” lengths.

Directions

  1. Prepare 5 lbs of pork butt by deboning and cutting into 1 inch cubes. Place the meat into the freezer for 30 minutes to chill but not freeze. At this time, it would be a good idea to place the metal parts of the meat grinder into the freezer as well. Heat is your enemy when making sausage.
  2. While meat is chilling, combine your spices.
  3. Grind your meat with a fine cutting plate (I believe mine is 3/16″).
  4. Blend the meat and seasonings well by kneading for about 3 minutes.
  5. Gradually mix in the cheese cubes to the paste and knead until they are distributed evenly.
  6. Cover tightly and refrigerate over night to allow the spices to marry.
  7. The following morning, take a small amount of the mixture and pan fry in a skillet. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  8. Prepare your 32mm hog casings per package directions.
  9. Stuff the hog casings with the cheddarwurst mixture.
  10. Cook the sausage within 24 hours or freeze for later use. Make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 150 if using fresh, home ground pork, 160 if store bought (for safety reasons)
Cooking cheddar brats directly
Cheddarwurst cooking directly on the Mini Egg

     The simplest way to cook the wurst would be to grill them directly at 350F turning frequently until the internal temperature reaches 150F. Make sure not to pierce the casings as the fat will leak out and leave you with a dry sausage. You can also cook them in a 350F oven, but I’m not sure on the time as I’ve never done them that way.

Sauerkraut, yellow onions, beer and a touch of butter coming to a simmer
Sauerkraut, yellow onions, beer and a touch of butter coming to a simmer

Another favorite way of mine is to partially cook them in a sauerkraut bath. This method takes far less vigilance and will allow you to sit back and sip on a cold beverage or two. Take a 32 oz jar of sauerkraut, a bit of yellow onion, a coupla pats of butter, a few glugs of whatever beer you have on hand and dump it in a cast iron skillet. Add a pinch of dry mustard, a dash of paprika, a bit of red pepper flakes, some garlic powder and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Don’t you just love my exact measurements? Place directly on a 400F grill and bring to a simmer, about 15 minutes.

Add in your brats
Add in your wurst

Once the sauerkraut has had a chance to warm and the butter has melted, give it a stir and place your wurst on the bed of sauerkraut. Cook for 15 minutes, flip and cook for another 15 minutes (so far that’s 45 minutes of kicking back and relaxing time).

Take the brats out and grill directly
Take the wurst out and grill directly

After the wurst has been in the sauerkraut for 30 minutes, remove them, brush off any ‘kraut, and place directly on the grill. Now you are going to have to be vigilant so that your casings don’t burst. Grill, turning often, until the IT (internal temp) has reached 150. Not sure exactly how long that took as I had now enjoyed 45 minutes of cold beverage time and I wasn’t really concerned about the time. 10 minutes of so? Don’t quote me on that. Return the wurst to the skillet, take inside and its time to eat.

Plated up on a bed of 'kraut
Plated up on a bed of ‘kraut

     Is your mouth watering yet? If not, there must be something wrong with your mouth-watering gland. You might need to get that checked out.

Sliced view of the brats
Sliced view of the wurst, the only thing missing is some spicy, brown mustard.

Whowee!! Ain’t that some mighty fine looking sausage? Moist and juicy and if you look closely you can even see a slight smoke ring from some of the peach wood that was left over in my pit. Hillshire Farms and Johnsonville don’t hold a candle compared to this cheddarwurst. Savory with just the right amount of spice. The only thing missing is some fried potatoes or a warm German potato salad. I’d even take some spaetzle to go along with these beauties.

Things I Would Do Differently

Not a whole heck of a lot. I do like a bit of heat in my sausage, though. I might up the black pepper or maybe add some red pepper to them. I might increase the dry mustard as well, but I am perfectly happy with the way they came out.

I might switch the casings I used. I’m not really sure what happened there, but these sausages were Gi-Normous!! The casings I used, Homepack Brand, were supposed to be 32-35mm, but mine were easily 40mm. No way would you be able to find a bun that these would fit in. I’m not sure if it was because they were thawed out when I made my Venison Jalapeno Cheese Sausage (which were no were near this thick), re-frozen and then thawed out again for these brats or what. I think I’ll go back to the LEM brand. Nothing wrong with big sausage, I was just looking for smaller ones. BTW, I estimate that these probably came out to about 1/2 lb each. Just a bit large for individual portions, don’t you think?

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13 thoughts on “Cheddarwurst

  1. That looks amazing! I especially love the way you cook them in the sauerkraut on the Egg! We will have to try that at home. Your sauerkraut definitely looks tastier than my oven-baked kind.
    We do not have a sausage-stuffing machine, but we get pretty good homemade sausage from the farmers market — no nitrates or nitrates, no preservatives, etc. I don’t know if I will ever graduate to actually making my own links, but maybe breakfast-style patties. I think I could do that 🙂

  2. I’ve never been a Cheddarwurst fan — until now. (My wife loves all types of cheddarwurst and I think yours dominate everything else she’s ever eaten.) Question: I’ve never heard of high heat cheese. Is it sold under another name? Is it basically a harder cheddar with a higher melting point? Another question: How much fat are you leaving on the pork butt?

    1. High temp cheese is exactly what is sounds like a cheese with a high melting point. It comes in a variety of flavors like cheddar and swiss and monterrey jack (I think). If you have a local butcher that makes their own sausage, you can ask him if he’ll sell you some. Or you can order it from Butcher & Packer or other sausage making sites on the internet. I asked my butcher if I could buy 8 oz from him and he was fine with that. They generally won’t keep it on display, but they’ll have it in the back.

      I leave all the fat on. From what I read, pork butts will give you somewhere around a 70/30 to 80/20 meat to fat ratio (depending on the pig) and that is ideal for sausage. For my venison jalapeno cheese sausage, I actually added in extra back fat to compensate for the leaner meat from the deer.

  3. High-temp cheese? While I understand the concept, this is a new one on me. Also, you gotta start handing out drool bibs with this pics. Freakin’ mouthwatering!

    1. Kent, high-temp cheese is exactly what it sounds like, formulated to not melt at high-temps. I know its used in sausage, not sure what else. That is why you see chuncks of cheese in the sausage. I’m not sure if its sold in stores, but you can order it online or ask a butcher who makes their own sausage if you can buy some.

  4. Nice work. A couple of things. I make a lot of cheddarwurst and I make it as an emulsified beef/pork sausage, really basically a knackwurst. Just add some ice cold water to your ground, seasoned meat and also some nonfat dry milk to stabilize. I also make my own processed cheese by melting and blending grated cheese (any kind you like, that’s the beauty part) into a sodium citrate solution. It stabilizes the cheese so , even when it melts, it will not separate into grease pools. I smoke mine to an internal temp of 150F and then just cook gently to reheat and brown the exterior before serving.

    Keep on making that sausage!

  5. Just received our Lem sausage stuffer and are preparing to make a batch of your cheddarwurst next week =) Question first!!! Ingredients list a cup of water, but I don’t see anywhere in directions for adding water?!?!?!?!

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