First, let me say that the cheapskate recipes are some of my favorites. This is a dinner under $10 feature, and I appreciate that.
That aside, there was one thing about this recipe that tripped me up, the smoked bratwurst. The recipe calls for either smoked bratwurst or kielbasa. Now, I didn’t fully pay attention to that. If I had, I would have recognized that normal bratwurst like the kind you have in the summer isn’t really anything like kielbasa. I don’t believe I’ve ever had or seen smoked bratwurst. So when I went to make the shopping list, I just put down “bratwurst.” Then I went to make the recipe, and I noticed that it has you slicing the sausage to cook it. Well, if you’re doing that with normal bratwurst, that’s just straight up weird. The casing doesn’t really let you slice it into disks. And, even if you could, it wouldn’t really cook that way. Bratwurst wants to be treated as a link. I tried to split the difference by plopping it out of the casing in about 2 tablespoon chunks to brown almost like a meatball. Cooking those blobs with the onion was getting to be a dry mess, and I could see that it was going to burn before the sausage was actually cooked all the way through. Then I remembered something very important…beer. I realized that this recipe was written for smoked bratwurst and whatever that was, I didn’t have it. I had to dance with the one I brought, so to speak. So I dumped in a third of a can of Half Acre’s Pony. That’s a big can, so let’s say it’s a 1/2 of a normal can of beer.
That was just the ticket. The brats stopped burning and starting cooking like they’re supposed to. I felt like a Midwestern genius. I felt like it was the dish I was born on flat land by a big lake to save. I got to drink the rest of the delicious beer. The collards got some nice beer flavor. Win and win. To up the beer and brats flavor, I added some Dijon mustard in when I added the vinegar. D and I devoured this dish. It definitely pays to go rogue.