Perfectly grilled brats, sizzling and juicy straight off the grill—it’s a summertime favorite that almost everyone can enjoy. Whether you’re grilling for just your family or hosting a cookout full of friends, nothing beats a perfectly cooked bratwurst to munch on! But how do you make sure they reach the right level of deliciousness? Knowing exactly how long to cook your brats on the grill can help get perfect results every time. Read on for our tips and tricks to master cooking up tasty brats all summer long!
What Makes Brats So Great
Brats, also known as bratwurst, are the perfect sausage for those who love a savory and juicy bite. What sets them apart from other sausages is their unique blend of spices, including nutmeg, ginger, and caraway.
This tasty combination of spices is what gives brats their unbeatable flavor. Whether grilled, boiled, or sautéed, brats make for a delicious meal any time of the day. Their versatility allows them to be served on a bun with classic condiments like mustard and sauerkraut or sliced up as a flavorful addition to pasta dishes, soups, or stews.
Brats are also a great option for entertaining, as they are easy to prepare and can be cooked in large batches for a crowd. In summary, the irresistible taste and versatility of brats make them a fan-favorite among sausage enthusiasts everywhere.
The Right Temperature for The Perfect Brats
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooked bratwurst. Whether you prefer them grilled, boiled, or pan-fried, one thing is certain: the right temperature is key. Too hot and the casing can burst, leaving you with a dry, chewy mess. Too cool and you risk undercooking the inside, leading to a potentially dangerous situation. So what’s the ideal temperature? It depends on the cooking method, but generally speaking, you want to aim for around 165°F. That’s hot enough to cook the brat through without burning the outside, ensuring a juicy and flavorful result every time. Of course, there’s always room for experimentation – some people swear by slower cooking at lower temperatures, while others prefer a quick, high-heat sear.
How Long to Cook Brats on Grill?
Since cooking durations can vary depending on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the brats, the solution is more complicated than just a specific amount of time. Set up a gas or charcoal grill over medium heat for direct grilling.
For traditional brats, grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. If brats and grill begin to flame up, reduce heat to low. Keep an eye on the brats and use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of at least 160°F before serving.
How to Grill Brats on a Gas Grill
Start by setting your gas grill to medium heat during the preheating process. By doing so, the grill grates may heat up and the brats will be cooked uniformly.
Prepare the brats: Get the grill ready while you get the brats ready. Salt, pepper, or any other seasonings of your choice can be used to season them. Additionally, you can enhance taste and prevent stickiness by brushing them with oil.
Place the brats on the heated grill grates to grill. They should cook for around 10 to 12 minutes on the grill while being occasionally turned. Use a meat thermometer to check that the brats have reached the recommended internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption. Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the brats.
Optional step: You might choose to grill sliced onions and peppers in addition to the brats to enhance flavor. Put them on the grill, coat them with oil, and cook them until they are soft and have a faint sear.
Verify doneness: After the brats have cooked for the advised amount of time, use a meat thermometer to check their internal temperature to make sure they are properly cooked. They should no longer have a pink center and have attained the previously indicated safe internal temperature.
After the brats are finished cooking, remove them from the grill and let them a few minutes to rest before serving. A juicier brat is produced as a result of the redistribution of the juices. With your preferred sauces and toppings, serve the brats on buns.
How to Grill Brats on a Pellet Grill
- To start, preheat your grill to 350°F and lightly oil the grates.
- Next, place your brats on the grill and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning them every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
- When the internal temperature of the brats reaches 160°F, they are ready to come off the grill.
- Serve them on a bun with your favorite toppings, and you’ve got a savory and tasty meal.
- Grilling brats on a pellet grill may take a bit longer than traditional grilling methods, but the result is worth every minute of your time.
How to Grill Brats on a Charcoal Grill
- Setting up your charcoal barbecue for indirect cooking is the first step in preparing it. Create a two-zone fire with the charcoal briquettes by piling the coals on one side of the grill and leaving the other side unfilled. This permits zones of direct and indirect heat.
- Light the charcoal: Follow the manufacturer’s directions when lighting charcoal briquettes with lighter fluid or a charcoal chimney starter. The briquettes are prepared for grilling when they are covered with gray ash, so let them burn until that happens.
- Create the direct heat zone by gently pouring hot charcoal onto one side of the grill once it has been lighted and covered with ash. For cooking using indirect heat, leave the other side of the grill unoccupied. The grill grate should be placed on top and given some time to heat up.
- Prepare the brats: Get the grill ready while you get the brats ready. Salt, pepper, or any other seasonings of your choice can be used to season them. Additionally, you can enhance taste and prevent stickiness by brushing them with oil.
- Place the brats on the grill’s direct heat zone, directly over the smoldering coals. They should be seared for a few minutes on each side to get excellent grill marks and char. This aids in keeping the liquids in.
- Transfer to indirect heat: After the brats are seared, transfer them to the grill’s area that receives indirect heat. Put them on the side farthest from the blazing embers. The brats can cook through more softly and uniformly as a result.
- Cover and cook: Place a lid on the grill and cook the brats for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them once or twice. Use a meat thermometer to check that the brats reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, as cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the brats.
- Verify doneness: After the brats have cooked for the advised amount of time, use a meat thermometer to check their internal temperature to make sure they are properly cooked. They should no longer have a pink center and have attained the previously indicated safe internal temperature.
Are brats better grilled or cooked on the stovetop?
|Grilling Brats||Cooking on the Stovetop|
|1. Grilling imparts a smoky flavor to the brats.||1. Stovetop cooking allows for better control over the cooking temperature.|
|2. Grilling gives the brats a charred exterior and grill marks.||2. Stovetop cooking allows for even heat distribution, resulting in more consistent cooking.|
|3. Grilling allows fat to drip away, potentially reducing overall fat content.||3. Stovetop cooking can be done indoors, regardless of weather conditions.|
|4. Grilling can be a social and enjoyable outdoor cooking experience.||4. Stovetop cooking is faster and more convenient, requiring less setup and cleanup.|
|1. Grilling requires a grill and outdoor space, limiting accessibility for some.||1. Stovetop cooking may result in a lack of smoky flavor compared to grilling.|
|2. Grilling can be affected by weather conditions, such as rain or strong winds.||2. Stovetop cooking may not provide the same charred exterior as grilling.|
|3. Grilling requires monitoring and flipping the brats to prevent burning.||3. Stovetop cooking may not allow for as much fat to drip away, potentially resulting in a slightly higher fat content.|
|4. Grilling may require additional time for preheating and setup.||4. Stovetop cooking may not offer the same social and outdoor cooking experience as grilling.|
How to Tell When Brats Are Done
Cooking the perfect bratwurst can be a bit tricky, especially if you are new to grilling. Nothing is worse than cutting into your brat and discovering that it is undercooked or even worse, overcooked and dry.
- Internal Temperature: The most accurate way to determine if brats are done is by checking their internal temperature using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the brat without touching the bone or the grill grate. The brats should reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption.
- Visual Appearance: Brats that are fully cooked will have a uniform brown color on the outside. Look for grill marks and a slight char, indicating they have been cooked evenly.
- Texture: When brats are fully cooked, they should feel firm and springy to the touch. If they still feel soft or squishy, they may need more cooking time.
- Time: As a general guideline, brats typically take around 10-15 minutes to cook on a grill, depending on their thickness. Keep an eye on them and use the suggested cooking time as a starting point, but always rely on the internal temperature to determine doneness.
- Juices: When brats are cooked through, they will release clear juices when pierced with a fork or cut. If the juices are still pink or cloudy, the brats may need additional cooking time.
Easy brats recipes
Grill your traditional brats over medium heat:
- The brats should be grilled for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once, or until an internal temperature of 160 °F (71 °C) is reached.
- With your preferred toppings and condiments, such as mustard, sauerkraut, or grilled onions, serve the brats on buns.
- Brats simmering in beer: Pour equal parts beer and water into a big saucepan, covering the brats completely, and bring to a simmer.
- In a large saucepan, combine equal parts beer and water (enough to fully submerge the brats) and bring it to a simmer.
- Add the brats to the simmering liquid and let them cook for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the brats from the liquid and finish them on a preheated grill for a few minutes on each side to achieve a charred exterior.
- Serve the beer-simmered brats in buns with your desired toppings.
Sheet Pan Bratwurst and Vegetables:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- On a sheet pan, arrange bratwurst links along with a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini.
- Drizzle the vegetables and brats with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and your preferred herbs and spices.
- Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the brats are fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.
- Serve the roasted brats and vegetables together as a delicious and easy one-pan meal.
Brats with Sauerkraut:
- In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium heat.
- Add the bratwurst and cook them for about 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.
- Remove the brats from the skillet and set them aside.
- In the same skillet, add sauerkraut and sauté for a few minutes until heated through.
- Return the brats to the skillet and let them cook together with the sauerkraut for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve the brats with sauerkraut on buns or alongside mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables.
Conclusion: How Long to Cook Brats on Grill?
Brats are interesting and flavorful, and there’s so much that can be done with them. Whether grilled on a gas grill, charcoal grill, or pellet grill, the key to success lies in cooking brats until they’ve reached an internal temperature of 160°F and have achieved a golden-brown exterior. Knowing how long to cook brats on the grill is easy when you follow the guidelines based on the type of brat chosen: 15-20 minutes for precooked such as smoked or boiled; 25-30 minutes for fresh; and 30-45 minutes for larger formats such as pigs in a blanket or Italian brats. With the right temperature for the perfect brats, grilling techniques at hand, and amazing recipes ready to devour, you’re sure to have a delicious meal every time!
Q: Can I cook frozen brats on the grill?
A: Yes, you can cook frozen brats on the grill. However, they will require additional cooking time. Thawing them beforehand is recommended for more even cooking.
Q: Should I parboil brats before grilling?
A: Parboiling brats in a simmering liquid like beer or water before grilling is a popular method to help ensure they cook evenly. This step can also enhance their flavor and reduce the grilling time.
Q: Do I need to pierce brats before grilling?
A: It is not necessary to pierce brats before grilling. Piercing them can cause the juices to escape, resulting in drier brats. Instead, let them cook undisturbed, and any excess fat will naturally render and drip away.
Q: Can I grill brats with the casing on?
A: Yes, you can grill brats with the casing on. The casing helps retain moisture and gives the brats their traditional appearance. The casing is edible and becomes tender during cooking.
Q: How often should I turn brats on the grill?
A: Turn the brats occasionally, about every 3-4 minutes, to ensure even cooking and prevent them from burning on one side. Use tongs or a spatula to handle the brats gently.
Q: Can I grill brats on a charcoal grill?
A: Absolutely! Grilling brats on a charcoal grill is a popular method. Follow the same cooking guidelines but adjust the heat and cooking time based on your charcoal grill setup.
Q: Should I let brats rest after grilling?
A: Yes, it’s recommended to let brats rest for a few minutes after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the brats, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final product.
Nirmal Prashad is the owner and chef of Bombay Cuisine, a renowned restaurant located in West Michigan that has been serving authentic Indian cuisine since 1998. Nirmal was born in India and received additional culinary training in Toronto, which has helped him to develop a deep understanding of Indian cuisine.