Smoked Bratwurst

Smoked Bratwurst on a PlatePlated Smoked Bratwurst

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Smoked bratwurst, or smoked brats, as I affectionately like to call them, are incredibly delicious!

They're easy to make and cook up fast. Well, fast in barbecue time.

You can smoke them in about an hour and a half. That's a blink of an eye in the barbecue world. And believe me, it's well worth it.

Before you know it, you'll be enjoying some delicious, juicy smoked sausages!

What Is Bratwurst?

Bratwurst are German pork sausages. Sometimes veal or beef is added to the pork. An herb commonly used in German brats is marjoram.

In Germany, each region has their own style. The same is true in America.

The spices used vary from region to region, but may include; coriander, caraway seed, mace, ground ginger, garlic, nutmeg and black pepper.

I lived in Germany for a short time and ate a lot brats! They're kind of like hot dogs over there; they show up at a lot of cookouts.

The closet city to me was Nuremberg. We went there on the weekends to get our fill of beer and bratwurst. The brats served there are the thin ones. The kind that are made with sheep casings.

They're simply grilled and stuffed into a round, crusty roll. Slather some spicy mustard on top, and you have a treat sent from heaven.

We often got them fully cooked, so we just tossed them on the grill for about ten minutes until they were hot.

For smoked bratwurst, you want raw or "fresh bratwurst". The reason is because raw meats take on smoke flavor much better than cooked meats.

If you like grilled brats, you'll love smoked bratwurst! They're tasty, just like the grilled version, with the added essence of sweet wood smoke.

How to Smoke Bratwurst

This method works for any fresh sausage in a pork casing. What do I mean by that?

When you go to the grocery store or meat market, you usually see three sizes of sausage:

  • Small - The small casings are used for hot dogs and breakfast links. This is the size of bratwurst in Bavaria. These are made with sheep casings.
  • Medium - This is the size used for Italian sausage and hot links. This is the size that I find used for most bratwurst at my grocery store. These are made from hog casings.
  • Large - The large casings come from cattle and are available in several sizes; The largest are used for bologna, head cheese and mortadella. Medium sized beef casings are used for hard salami. The smallest are used for ring bologna and liverwurst.

The smaller brats that come in sheep casings are too small for this method. In an hour and a half, they'd be well over cooked. Use brats that come in hog casings. These weigh a little over 3 ounces each. You get 5 in a one-pound pack.

You want to cook them in your smoker for about an hour and a half at 275°F. This get the casings done nicely so they have good bite through. Few things are worse than a sausage with tough skin.

You take a bite, all the meat comes out and the casing is hanging there, limp and sad. Cooking them at this temperature assures this won't happen.

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Smoked Bratwurst Recipe

This is so incredibly easy and fantastically delicious.

Savory, smoky pork sausages...

Is there anything better? I don't think so!

You can use just about any hardwood for smoked bratwurst. Oak, apple or hickory work well.

I get bratwurst buns at the bakery at my grocery store. They work great; they're the right size and very fresh. See the picture below.

Bratwurst bunBratwurst Bun

In Bavaria, brats are often served in a round roll with mustard. That's it. But of course, feel free to put whatever you like on them...

Some suggestions would be sliced or chopped onion and/or sauerkraut. Kids love them with ketchup. You can even put barbecue sauce, pickles and sweet or hot peppers on them. Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy.

One serving of bratwurst is one sausage. Most people will eat two, some will only have one. If you get two per person, you should have enough for everyone.

  • Raw bratwurst stuffed in pork casings
  • Bratwurst buns or round rolls
  • Mustard
  • Additional condiments if desired. See above for suggestions
  1. Heat your barbecue to a temperature of 275°F.
  2. Smoke the bratwurst at 275°F for 45 minutes. Turn the brats over and cook for an additional 45 minutes. If using wood chunks or chips, use them for only the first 45 minutes.
  3. After an hour of cooking, heat your oven to 350°F. About ten minutes before the brats are done, place your buns or rolls into the oven. Heat for 8-10 minutes at 350°F until they're hot.
  4. Remove the brats from your smoker, place in the buns and serve immediately with the condiments of your choice. Careful, they're hot!
  5. Enjoy.
Smoked Bratwurst in a BunSmoked Bratwurst With Spicy Mustard

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