The best of the wurst

Chicago Tribune

Chipotle-flavored bratwurst from the butcher shop takes center stage in this summer celebration of the grill.

The spicy smokiness of the brats takes on an extra dimension when the links are grilled, especially if they are cooked over hardwood lump charcoal.

I like to top the brats with chopped red bell pepper and red onion. I char the bell pepper right on the coals, then grill thick slices of red onion alongside the brats. Your choice on whether to serve it all up in a bun.

You can round out the bratwurst with potato salad and cole slaw purchased at your neighborhood deli or supermarket.

Other dinning tips:

• Substitute regular brats, Mexican chorizo or even Italian sausage for the chipotle brats.

• A grill basket holds the red onion slices together more easily while they are cooking.

• Beverage pairing: A California syrah has a pepperiness to augment the brats. Beer, of course, also works.

Now you're ready for a cookout.

Chipotle brats with grilled peppers, onions

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2

1 red bell pepper
1 red onion, thickly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 links chipotle or regular bratwurst
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Place the pepper in the glowing coals if possible, turning with tongs until all sides are blackened, about 10 minutes. Enclose in paper bag; let rest 10 minutes.

2. Drizzle onion slices with olive oil. Grill bratwurst and onion slices, turning often, until links are browned and cooked through and the onions begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, remove the red pepper from the bag; peel off blackened skin. Core; remove seeds. Cut pepper into strips. Place in a bowl.

Remove onion from grill; chop. Toss with peppers. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Serve brats with peppers and onions.

Nutrition information
Per serving: 754 calories, 77 percent of calories from fat, 64 g fat, 14 g saturated fat, 177 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 2,218 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

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