Beer Brats with Chef Eric Ehler on Potrero Hill
It’s Memorial Day, so the natural thing to do is barbeque. What do you do when you also feel the need to tailgate? You turn your truck into a mobile grill obvi! Paired with some of the best views in SF, our Memorial Day was, well, memorable. Our buddy Eric Ehler, Chef at Black Sands invited us to hang out with him in his neighborhood on top of Potrero Hill, at the corner of Carolina and Southern Heights. We thought we had seen everything there was to see up there, but it turns out that just a couple of blocks past some of our favorite views of downtown there are even more expansive vistas that put 17th and Texas to shame.
Eric and John are both from the Midwest -- he grew up in Iowa and John in Illinois. So naturally the conversation turned to bratwurst and politics. Back home, the advent of Summer is usually greeted with beer-boiled brats. Juicy, lightly spiced and served on poppyseed rolls with mustard and grilled onions, no fancy restaurant could surpass the joy of backyard dining, until the mosquitos came out at least! As for the politics, John and Eric both subscribe to the standard approach to political discourse when it comes to family back home: avoidance. Christian has a secret love for the midwest, so hearing these boys talk about their heritage was a treat while he drank the afternoon away Fort Point KSA.
Eric seemed like he had done this before: chimney grilling that is. When you’re cooking four sausages, no need to heat up the whole grill. All you need is a chimney, some charcoal, a trusty sheet pan, a high heat resistant saute pan and an uncoated/seasoned cooling rack. We sauteed the veggies in the pan on top of the coals and then simmered the brats in beer right in the same pan. Then we placed the cooling rack on top of the chimney to use as a grill. It being Memorial day, the place where Eric got the sausages had run out of buns (this would never happen in the Midwest, where, like lifeboats, there are enough for every soul on board). White bread was the perfect brat vessel in this case.
Eric also whipped out the Halal Guys white sauce, his favorite all-purpose condiment. An NYC mainstay, Halal Guys has recently opened franchises all over the country, including SF. The white sauce is creamy and tangy and perfectly complemented the views and the food. Although our sausage-fest was a far cry from the previous generations’, they share a similar lineage. Traditions die hard because they are comforting, and sometimes, far from home, on a holiday no less, a little comfort is exactly what you need.