Birthday Dinner for Papa Ben!

This post was written by past Catholic Cuisine contributor Amy. 

Now that you have had your French breakfast in honor of Saint Bernadette, what for dinner? Well today is our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday. In honor of our Papa’s birthday how about a German dinner?

I am not going to give you any fancy recipes, because I tend to stick to the experts when it comes to foreign cooking. We were blessed to live in Germany for a few years and I learned from my sojourn there all about the Brat.

Bratwurst is a wonderful German sausage. I highly recommend getting them from a proper German butcher, if you are lucky enough to have one locally. If not, you must go with whatever you can find at the supermarket.

Brats are not like hot dogs. You don’t just pop them in the microwave for thirty seconds and voila, you have a meal. Now, Brats require some love and attention.

You must first boil some water. If you want to go all out you will boil them in beer! If you really really want to go all out you get German beer. But in honor of our German Pope coming to America, I am using Bud. You can do a mix of beer and water, which is my recommendation. You want more water than beer.

Now put your water and beer on the stove in a large pot. When it starts to boil (quick, because you do not want to know what happens to beer when it boils for any length of time, it is not pretty) take it off the heat, pop your Brats in there and cover for 20 minutes.

While this is happening heat up your griddle, nice and hot. You can also do this on the stove, but I like the even heat of a griddle. You could also barbeque, but that is so American… and also you will more likely burst the skin and burn your beloved sausage.


Butter is very important. Do not spray with Pam. This is not healthy eating, so don’t pretend it is. Butter your griddle, till it is nice and shiny. Place Brats on the griddle. Once browned turn and brown the other side at well. Make sure there is enough butter to make the browning nice and lovely.


I would highly recommend serving these on homemade bread, but you can get some crusty rolls from the supermarket and serve your Brats on that.

Now, this is another matter of contention. Where I lived in Germany (northern Bavaria) all you put on your Brat was spicy mustard. That is it. When we returned to the states however some people threw a little shindig for us and made Brats and served them with sauerkraut too. Which is divine. If you have to have ketchup… well, just don’t. Shame on you for even suggesting it.

There you go an authentic German Brat!

Happy Birthday, Our Beloved Pope!

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  1. A meal my German heritage would be proud of! Great idea.

  2. tug likes to slice up an onion and put it in the beer concoction, then places them on top of his brat. we bbq them, we are american afterall, and while the casing may burst on some they dont actually burn (if you dont cook them too long that is)

  3. HA! This is exactly what we're having for Papa's Bday!! Thank you!

  4. Brats are pretty popular in MN, there are a lot of Germans here, including us. (I also have a little Irish in me!) Great idea!

  5. oops, i stand corrected. tug just informed me that he puts the onion slices in tinfoil with butter, wraps them up and puts them on the grill.

  6. We like to saute the onions in very thin strips with butter and garlic salt and I have always cooked them the German way without even realizing it! Without the beer though.

  7. Great Idea!! This post was funny Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I know it sounds terrible...but sometimes if I want to use up unused tortillas, we wrap our brats in them along with a bit if sauted onion in the juices from the pan with the brats. We do mustard too.

    This I can tell you would make my German grandparents mad as hell to know we use the tortillas. But, I do live in

  8. Thanks Amy!! We ended up having this tonight... It was so good! Especially with the onions that Tug & Regina make for on top!! SO YUMMY!!! :)

  9. LOL Michelle! We have been known to do the same! Maybe it's a Texas thing!

  10. Glad you liked them Jessica! Even the baby ate a whole one, lol!