When cooking brats it can be difficult to know if you are using the right temperature or not. While some people like to cook them low and slow, others like to make them sizzle immediately on the stove. So how do you know the proper brats temp to cook at?
Table of Contents
- What Are Brats?
- Cooking Brats
- Using A Meat Thermometer On Brats
- FAQs on Cooking Brats and Brats Temp
What Are Brats?
A bratwurst, also known as brats, is a German sausage that is made from pork. It can also be made from beef or veal although this is a lot less common.
Bratwurst is a term used in Germany for all sausages as ‘brat’ means ground meat and ‘wurst’ is a direct translation of sausage. While it is rare for them to be made out of beef or veal exclusively, they are very commonly made from a mix of two of the three ingredients. Pork and veal, or beef and veal brats are pretty common.
Aside from the types of meat used in brats, there are a number of spices and seasonings that can be used to enhance the flavor of the sausage. These include;
The brats are very commonly sold raw as fresh sausages that are in a natural casing. The natural casing is typically a pig intestine lining, or a synthetically made similar ingredient. There are many ways to cook and prepare a brat which is grilling, boiling, and simmering in beer. While the latter is incredibly unorthodox, it is popular in the state of Wisconsin, America.
Brats can be served on the side of other dishes or can act as the main attraction if served properly. They can be used in a stew, placed in a sandwich, or can be plated on their own with a potato salad or a serving of sauerkraut. While they share the same typical condiments as other sausages, such as ketchup and mustard, brats are also very oftentimes topped with slaw, relish, and aioli.
A lot of sausages are cooked before they are sold, which means you can eat them as is but they are better when warmed through. However, brats are sold completely raw and as they are pork, you have to cook them before eating them otherwise you risk getting food poisoning.
The best way to know that they are definitely cooked all the way through, despite what temperature you are cooking them at, is to check the internal temp of brats. Make sure it is at 160 degrees Fahrenheit at the minimum. Anything lower than this and the USDA does not consider it safe to eat.
Brats can be quite difficult to cook. You want the internal temperature to be high enough that they are properly cooked. Yet you also do not want to cook them for so long that the exterior ends up being crispy and burnt. When cooking food such as brats it can be very easy to accidentally dry them out. You can unintentionally cook them at a temperature that is too high. The main time where high temperatures are ideal is when you are cooking a steak and only want to sear it instead of thoroughly cooking it.
There is quite a lot of fat on the inside of a bratwurst. This can help you keep it nice and juicy while you are cooking it. Leaner pieces of meat, especially beef, can dry out very quickly when they are cooked. There is no fat to render and help add moisture to the meat. This leaves you with a dry and texture-less chunk of meat that can be unpleasant to eat. As brats have fat inside of them, they can be quite easy to cook without drying them up if you know what you are doing.
While there are a lot of ways to cook a bratwurst sausage, such as cooking it in the oven or air fryer, not all of the methods will result in a truly delicious sausage that is enjoyable to eat. Cooking is sometimes about more than just raising the temperature of food and can sometimes be about ensuring it has the perfect texture and flavor as well.
The easiest way to cook brats is to grill them. This can be done with two very simple methods that ensure you get perfectly tasty and juicy brats every single time.
The first method of grilling is to poach your brats on a grill. This can be done with some aluminum foil.
Make a pan out of aluminum foil and place your brats inside. Add your liquid of choice. Beer works very well yet so does water and chicken broth. Keep pouring until the brats are halfway submerged.
The liquid you use is up to you but it is important to make sure it is not too salty or too overpowering. You want it to be relatively subtle.
On a charcoal grill, there is a very handy trick that can help you cook your brats without the casing exploding open. When heated, the casing will contract so much that it will explode open. To avoid this, you will want to gently cook them. This is easy but can result in an unsatisfying brat as there is no grilled texture. Fret not as I have the solution.
When setting up your charcoal grill, place around 66-75% of the coals on one side of the grill. The remaining 25-33% of the coals should be left on the other side.
Once lit, this will create a grill that has two different heat levels. Use the lower heat side to cook your brats until they read 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
After this, move your brats over to the hotter side of the grill and let them cook there for an additional minute or two. This will give them that perfectly crispy exterior that everyone loves so much. The additional cooking on the hotter side will also help bring the internal temperature of the brats up to 160 which is the ideal temperature for pork sausages.
On a propane grill, the same steps as above can be followed. Although, as you have no coals to mess with you are going to have to fiddle with your propane settings. Assuming your grill has multiple heat settings, you will want to set one side to high while the other side is set to low. The sausages can be cooked on low for about 15 minutes until the internal temperature is 150 F. Then they can be placed on the hotter side until they reach 160.
This will allow for some browning which will add to the flavor, texture, and overall experience of your brats.
A lot of people choose to boil bratwursts initially and then finish them off with another method such as grilling or pan-frying them on a stovetop. This is because boiling brats can give them extra flavor as you can boil them in different liquids to flavor them.
Brats are already pre-seasoned. So there is no need to add more seasonings to the liquid
However, if you are planning to use beer or sauerkraut to cook the brats then this might be a good idea.
Brats are delicious when boiled in beer and it is surprisingly easy to do. All you are going to need is your brats, typically a pound of them, lots of beer, some butter, and a large onion.
A lot of recipes will tell you to prick your brats with a fork as this allows the flavor to seep into the meat, this is wrong and you should not do it. It is genuinely quite the opposite and will cause your brats to lose flavor as time goes on.
In a deep skillet or a Dutch oven, you will want to add your raw bratwursts and a large onion. The onion can be prepared however you want to. Although it is best that it is peeled and then quartered. Roughly chopping your onion also works.
Once these have been added, you will want to pour enough beer. The brand is a personal preference so you can easily experiment and see what you like the most. The beer should cover the brats fully. Alongside the beer, you will want to add your half a stick of butter to the mix. It is best if your butter is cut into cubes, as this will help it melt quicker.
Any leftover beer can, and should, be consumed while cooking. When you are ready, bring the beer to a slow boil and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. This will cause the brats to be partially, but not fully, cooked. Remove your brats with some tongs and place them on a preheated grill for 10-15 minutes. They can also be pan-fried on a skillet with some olive oil.
Once the brats are gorgeously browned and have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, they are ready to serve and eat.
Using A Meat Thermometer On Brats
The best way to ensure your brats are properly cooked is to check the internal temperature. This is a necessity for knowing if they are safe to eat or not. Pork is one of the meats that are very heavily recommended against eating raw. So no, undercooked bacon is a no-no, too!
To check the internal temperature of your brats, you will want a meat thermometer. There are many differing types of meat thermometers but as long as you have the type with a prong and a screen to display the temperature, you are fine.
You will want to stick the prong into the thickest part of the brats. This is going to be the tip of the bratwurst. You can hold them horizontally or vertically if you choose to, just slide the prong into the tip of the brat and wait for your thermometer to display the temperature. If it is 160 or above, you are fine to start eating your brats.
FAQs on Cooking Brats and Brats Temp
The ideal internal temperature for Johnsonville or any other type of, brats is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature that pork products such as sausages are deemed safe to eat. Anything lower than this can risk you getting food poisoning or other foodborne illnesses.
When cooking brats on the stove, it can be overwhelming to know what temperature to cook them at. If you cook them at a temperature too high, the casing can explode and break. Start off with a low temperature until the internal temp of the brat reads 150 degrees F. Once this appears, turn up the heat and let the sausages brown until the internal temperature is 160.