How to Cook Brats
Bratwurst is a backyard cookout staple, but how many of us are confident that we know how to cook a good brat? This ultimate bratwurst cooking guide will tell you how to grill brats and how to cook brats on the stove and in the oven, along with some bonus brat-cooking tips. If you want to unlock the mysteries of how long to cook bratwurst and how to flavor them to perfection, read on!
3 Methods to Cook Brats
How long to cook brats depends on which cooking method you choose. Check out the three main techniques below to decide which style you want to try next.
1. Cooking Brats on the Grill
Grilling brats is an effective way to give the meat a robust, smoky flavor. For the best outcome, try to grill your brats slowly over medium-low heat and follow these five steps.
- Preheat your grill: Bring your grill to medium-low heat. Rushing the grilling process by using high heat will char the outside of the brats and make their casings split open, allowing the meat’s juices to spill out and leak flavor.
- Brush the grill with oil: Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut or sunflower oil, to coat the grill’s grates, which will prevent the brats from sticking. Be careful not to overdo it with the oil, or you might generate too much smoke.
- Place the links: Once you’ve oiled the grates, evenly space your links of bratwurst over the grill’s flame to ensure good air circulation, so each brat gets cooked through.
- Continue cooking: Keep the brats on the grill for about 20 minutes, using tongs to rotate the links often. Turning the brats will make sure each side gets caramelized and give them a golden brown color.
- Serve the brats: Use a meat thermometer to check that your brats have reached an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before removing them from the grill. Transfer your cooked brats to a plate and enjoy!
2. Cooking Brats on the Stove
Using a skillet to pan-fry your brats is a great way to get a nice sear on them. When cooking brats on the stove, you can choose to either parboil them first, or skip that step. While parboiling cooks meat thoroughly, it is not necessarily the only way to get your fresh brats to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
These cooking instructions cover both your options.
- Pan-frying: Heat your pan to a medium temperature before adding six tablespoons of water and the bratwurst links. Place the lid over your pan and cook the brats for about 12 minutes, turning them frequently. Then, remove the cover and cook for an additional five to seven minutes until the brats are a beautiful golden brown.
- Parboiling and searing: Another approach to cooking brats on the stove is boiling them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit before finishing them off with a nice sear in the skillet. To parboil your brats, fill a large pot with enough water to cover three-quarters of the links. Place the bratwurst in the pot and bring the water to a boil before turning the heat down to simmer until the brats have cooked through — about 20 minutes. After you finish boiling, transfer them to a hot skillet to cook covered for an additional three minutes to get their outsides crispy.
3. Cooking Brats in the Oven
Similar to cooking brats on the stove, putting your brats in the oven comes with a choice — bake or broil. While baking a brat can lock in its flavor and create a sweeter caramelization of its casing, broiling a brat can sear its outside for a satisfying crunch. Follow the steps below according to whichever method you prefer.
- Preheat: If you plan on baking your brats, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are broiling the brats, move your oven rack to the center of the oven and turn your broiler on high.
- Place brats: To bake, line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with oil to prevent sticking before placing the brats in a single layer onto the sheet. To broil, line the bottom of a broiler pan with aluminum foil and place the broiling grate over the top. Put the brats on the top rack of the prepared broiling pan in a single layer.
- Bake or broil: For baking, put the cookie sheet of brats in the oven until the sausages’ internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which typically takes about an hour. Be sure to turn the brats halfway through. Broiling the brats will take only about 13 minutes per side, but you might need to rotate the links more frequently to avoid burning.
- Rest: After cooking the brats through, remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes before serving them. Giving the bratwursts’ juices time to redistribute within the meat will make the sausages moister and more flavorful.
- Serve and enjoy: Once your brats have finished resting, plate them however you wish and dig in!
5 Tips for Cooking Brats
Now that you know the basics of cooking brats, you can learn how to make your bratwurst outstanding. Follow these five tips and tricks to cook the perfect brats.
1. Poach Brats in Beer
If you choose to parboil your brats, use beer instead of water. Add more flavor to your bratwurst by boiling them in beer before cooking them or at least brushing beer onto the links before tossing them on the grill. You can also add other seasonings to your parboil liquid, such as sage, garlic, rosemary or onions, to infuse the meat with even more flavor.
2. Avoid Poking Holes
Although some recipes will tell you to poke holes in bratwurst to help it soak up a sauce or beer better, doing so will allow the brat’s juices to seep out while it cooks. Releasing the juices will result in a dry and overcooked final product.
3. Sear With the Grill
You don’t need a skillet to sear your brats well. You can give your bratwurst a snappy sear and a smoky char all at once by finishing them on the grill. Prepare your brats as you would for a skillet sear, but place them on a preheated grill to finish instead of using a skillet.
4. Cook With Quality Bratwurst
When you use high-quality brats, you’ll be able to taste the difference in freshness, flavor and seasonings. Get your brats from a reputable brand like Premio to ensure you don’t get a brat stuffed with fillers instead of meat. Once you try Premio’s bratwurst, you’ll never go back to generic links.
5. Try New Recipes
While there’s nothing wrong with a classic brat-and-sauerkraut pairing, there are so many other bratwurst recipes to try. Experiment with beer-braised brats on pretzel buns, German-style bratwurst skewers or even a delicious bratwurst dip. With so many bratwurst variations, you’ll never get bored of brats.
Purchase Premio Bratwurst at a Store Near You
If you’re looking for fresh, flavorful brats, use our store locator to find the Premio carrier closest to you. Premio aims to provide sausage made from high-quality meat that’s completely free of fillers — the way sausage should be! With over 40 varieties of sausage selections, you may discover more reasons than just bratwurst to love Premio.