Philly Cheese Brats bring your favorite Philly sandwich to the grill!
A few weeks ago, on a balmy spring evening, the whole family decided to take a trip to Kroger. We left the house without coats, assuming it would be a quick run. The air was humid and still, and I remember commenting on what a lovely evening it was. We arrived at the store and were only five minutes into the produce section when the eery sound of dozens of emergency tones going off sliced through the air. Everyone gave their phone a quick glance, noting we were now under a tornado warning.
Nothing about this situation was particularly strange, except that I seemed to be the only one who really cared that WE MIGHT BE IN THE PATH OF A KILLER TORNADO. Tornadoes are one of my biggest fears, and one of the only recurring nightmares I have. I glanced around at the other shoppers, who continued to pick out apples and bag asparagus like nothing was happening. Meanwhile, I was anxiously checking the windows for tell tale signs of a storm and wondering if there was enough room in the deep freezers for the deli workers plus a mom and her baby. Of course, then I remembered we didn’t have coats, which started an internal argument about which would be more dangerous–chancing a tornado running through the store or hanging out in a deep freeze without a coat.
Luckily, my husband was there to talk me down from my panic, and convinced me to wait out the storm in the relative safety and comfort of the climate controlled grocery store. Within 20 minutes, the warning had passed, and our cart was full of all the ingredients we needed to make some killer Philly Cheese Brats. We made it home unscathed, though slightly damp, and I vowed to fire up the grill, just as soon as it wasn’t torrentially down pouring.
Thanks to the incredibly mild winter we had this year, our grill never went fully into hibernation. We managed to cook out at least once in January, but by April grilling becomes a main stay in our weekly meal plans. You can’t beat the easy clean up, quick cooking, and time enjoyed outdoors that grilling affords. These Philly Cheese Brats were inspired by a desire to turn one of my favorite sandwiches into an easy grilled meal we could enjoy al fresco. For my summer-time friendly version, I start with Honeysuckle White turkey bratwurst, which has all the juicy, savory flavor of traditional bratwurst with only 9 grams of fat.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion about what exactly goes on a Philly Cheesesteak, but my favorite variations always include onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. Luckily, it’s easy to throw all of the veggies on the grill right alongside your brats. If you have a grill pan, they work great, but you can also just toss them on a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. The veggies take on the wonderful charred and caramelized flavor that can only come from the grill.
Of course, no Philly is complete without cheese sauce! I tried a couple different recipes for the cheese sauce before settling on this one, which combines the smoky flavor of provolone with the mild creaminess of white American cheese. It strikes the right balance between flavor and texture and helps bring all of this char-grilled goodness together. We like to serve these with a side of Greek Pasta Salad or a nice, light Summer Berry Salad.
You can find Honeysuckle White in your local grocery store, or if you’re on the East coast, look for Shady Brook Farms. Juicy bratwurst, fresh grilled veggies, and creamy cheese sauce…this is the prescription for one great summer meal!
Philly Cheese Brats
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 green pepper, sliced thin
- 1 large or 2 small yellow onions, sliced thin
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- Salt and Pepper
- 5 Honeysuckle White Turkey Brats
- 5 brat buns
For the cheese sauce
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small chunks
- 1 cup shredded smoked provolone cheese
- 1 cup shredded white American cheese
- Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- For the grill:
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat. If you don't have a vegetable basket, spread a sheet of heavy duty foil over half of the grill.
- Toss the green pepper, onions, and mushrooms with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a grill basket or spread them out over the foil on the grill. Add the brats directly to the grill grates. Grill with the cover closed for about 6-7 minutes. Check the vegetables. If they're getting browned, flip them over. If the bottoms of the brats are browned, flip them as well. Cover, and continue to grill, checking every few minutes, until the veggies are softened and starting to char and the brats reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
For the cheese sauce:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until thick and fragrant, about a minute. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk. Add the cream cheese cubes. Return to heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Turn the heat to low and stir until cheese is melted and cream cheese is completely smooth. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. I usually don't need much salt, but like a lot of fresh cracked pepper in mine!
- To serve, place the brats in the buns and top with the grilled veggies and sauce!
This post is sponsored by the wonderful people at Honeysuckle White Turkey. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who keep NeighborFood running!