Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shrimp and Bratwurst Mini Skewer Appetizers

Wow, have these playoff games been exciting this year so far been exciting or what?  (I know a lot of y'all don't follow sports but just as many do!)

Division championships games are coming up, then the big game, and before you know it, March Madness will be here.  That means a lot of upcoming game day parties and get-togethers.  Whether you are watching the games at big parties or just hanging out with family, finger foods and munchies seem to dominate the menus.

Here is one that I made up for this weekend's games.  The spicy shrimp, savory bratwurst and sweet BBQ really worked together for a tasty two bite appetizer.

One of the many things that I like about this recipe is that it is easy to scale up for a larger number of servings.  I based it on one brat (there are always brats around at football parties so you can just steal one from the "brat tub").

Shrimp and Bratwurst Skewers

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10

Ingredients (8 mini skewers)
  • 1 cooked Johnsonville Bratwurst, sliced into 8 pieces
  • 8 large shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 jarred roasted red pepper, cut into 1/4" x 1 1/2" strips
  • 1 green onion, cut into 1/4 x 1 1/2" strips
  • 8 large toothpicks or appetizer skewers
  • 1/4 cup sweet BBQ sauce
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to 450-500f (med high to high heat).
  2. Season the shrimp with the cajun seasoning.
  3. Wrap each brat slice with a piece of green onion, a strip of red pepper, and a shrimp. Stick a skewer through the tail, securing the green onion and pepper, through the edge of the brat, and back through the veggies and shrimp on the other side. NOTE: You won't be sticking the skewer through the center of the bratwurst, it will be a little off center depending on the size of your shrimp.
  4. Lightly oil your grill grates and grill the mini-skewers until pink and done, about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Serve drizzled with a sweet BBQ sauce.
Variation idea: To make it a more elegant "knife and fork" appetizer, serve on a small, circular baked grit cake. Remove the skewer and top with a smoked gouda cheese sauce instead of the BBQ sauce.
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Notice how the skewer doesn't go through the exact center of the brat.  Just enough to hold it all together.

You can cook the brat ahead of time, just don't slice it until you are ready to assemble the skewers. 

This will only take a few minutes, don't walk away.

Tip:  You will want a set of long handled tongs for flipping the mini-skewers.

The sweet BBQ sauce offsets the heat but this might also be good with a honey mustard sauce.

I made these twice this weekend.  The first time I made them on Alexis' Big Green Egg because I was smoking a pork butt on mine.  

Quick notes for my BBQ geek friends about the pork butt, since I'm not doing a post on this.  It was a 7.7lb butt, rubbed with a mix of Billy Bones Comp & XXX Cherry rubs (1:1).  Smoke was cherry wood chunks (3) and a handful or so of hickory chips (not soaked).  12 hours at 250f-ish until it hit 197f.   Sauce was a North Carolina vinegar sauce (more Piedmont style than Eastern NC).
This was 3 or 4 hours into the cook late last night.

That's a glass cutting board, I'm not shredding it on a towel :)

I'm already looking forward to more pork for dinner!
I hope you all have had a great weekend!  

[Standard Disclaimer]  I have a relationship with Johnsonville and this post was done in preparation for an appearance on behalf of Johnsonville later this week.