How To Grill Brats Perfectly

Ever wondered how to grill brats perfectly to get that yummy juiciness and ensure they’re well-cooked?

You’re in the right place!

We’ll go through different ways to grills brats so you’ll be able to find the right method to suit your taste, but here’s a quick run-down to whet your appetite:

Grill brats slowly over a low to medium heat to cook properly while not getting burned on the outside. Opt for a temperature between 225 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (110–200 degrees Celsius), depending on your cooking method. Turn them frequently to brown each side of the sausage. 

What Brats Are Good for Grilling?

Before we dig into the different methods, you need to ensure you have the right type of brats for your tastes.

In the US, you’ll generally come across two types of bratwursts: pre-cooked and uncooked brats. They both do well on the grill but you need to prepare and cook them slightly differently.

Pre-Cooked Brats

Pre-cooked brats have a plastic casing and are made from lighter pork than the raw brats. This means they’ll cook faster on the grill than your uncooked brats.

The flavor tends to be pretty standard across different brands and is usually your traditional brat taste without any added extras.

Uncooked Brats

Since they’re not cooked, ensure the pink coloring disappears when grilling them. They’re also thicker than pre-cooked brats—since they lose moisture and fat when cooked—making them take longer on the grill.

More often than not, these sausages also have pork casing, not plastic, giving a more authentic, meaty taste.

Should I Boil Brats Before Grilling?

OK, so now you have your brat type nailed down, you need to prepare them slightly differently.

Pre-Cooked Brats

You don’t need to boil pre-cooked brats before grilling. As the name implies, they’re already boiled. Simply pop them directly on your grill, stove or in the oven without any other preparation.

Uncooked Brats

You shouldn’t boil bratwursts before putting them on the grill, but just heat them in hot water for about 5–15 minutes, depending on their thickness.

Doing this won’t only prevent the sausage’s skin from splitting but also shorten the cooking time, bring out the flavor better, and heat them enough to be sure you’ve destroyed any pathogens.

Cooking Brats in Beer

If you want some added flavor, try simmering brats in beer instead of water. Choose your beer to match the flavor profile of your sausage.

Strong sausages pair well with sweet beers heavy on malt, while bitter lagers complement sweeter brats.

If you don’t drink alcohol, you can always opt for a non-alcoholic beer. Chicken stock and beef broth are other great alternatives.

How To Grill Brats Perfectly

How Do You Know When Brats Are Done on the Grill?

You’ll recognize fully-cooked brats by their crispy, brown exterior. The sausages need to reach more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) on the inside if they contain pork, veal, ground beef or lamb.

If you’re grilling sausages made from turkey or chicken, they should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius) or higher.

How To Grill Brats Perfectly: 5 Methods

four bratwursts on an orange charcoal grill

Now that you’ve got your brats prepped, choose one of these grilling methods to get that perfect result.

How To Grill Brats On Gas Grill

The most popular way to grill sausages is on a gas grill. Brats cooked on a grill get brown skin and end up super juicy. You can also cook many sausages at the same time.

Here’s how to grill brats on a gas grill:

  1. Heat your grill for about 10 minutes.
  2. Do not poke or prick your bratwursts with a fork. Pricking the casing will spill the juices of the brats and cause it to dry out. No one likes a dry sausage!
  3. Then place your brats on the indirect side of the grill—place them next to the heat source rather than directly above it. We want them to cook slowly and thoroughly. If you cook them over direct heat, you might end up eating sausages with burnt skin that are still cold on the inside.
  4. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time depending on the kind of bratwurst you’re grilling. In general, it’ll take about 15–20 minutes to cook pre-cooked brats. For uncooked brats, it’ll take between 20–30 minutes for them to grill on a pre-heated grill.
  5. A pro tip is to grill the brats over indirect heat and then switch to direct heat for the last 2 minutes to get a browned surface.

Remember that it’ll take longer to cook raw brats than pre-cooked ones since you need to heat them until there’s no raw pork inside the sausage. If you pre-cook them in hot water or beer, you’ll decrease the cooking time by about 10–15 minutes.

How To Grill Brats on Charcoal

Grilling the sausages on charcoal gives them a deep and smoky flavor. Even so, it requires a lot of cleaning up after, and it’s not the fastest method either since you have to wait for the coal to get hot before grilling.

This is how you grill brats on a charcoal grill:

  1. You first need to set up the coal in a two-zone setup. This means that you pile all the pieces of coal onto one side of the grill and then light them. You should leave the other side empty. Doing this will provide you with the two levels of heat you need to grill your brats.
  2. Remember not to poke them with a fork since this will let the juices escape.
  3. Now, place your sausages on the empty side of the grill, or place them in a pan of beer and then place the pan on top of the grill, also on the side without coal.
  4. Rotate them frequently!
  5. Once they’ve cooked for about 10–15 minutes, place them directly over the charcoal until they get grill marks and crispy skin.
  6. When they’re finished cooking, let them rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This way, the juices won’t escape from the sausages.

How To Grill Brats on Pellet Grill

This cooking method is great for smoked sausage lovers.

You’ll do best to grill your brats slowly at a low temperature for them to absorb that smoky wood-fire flavor. This makes grilling brats on a pellet grill rather time-consuming. But, the amazing flavor you’ll get from it will be worth it.

You can use pretty much any kind of pellets when smoking brats. But some of our favorites include tones of oak, hickory and applewood.

This is how you cook brats on a pellet grill:

  1. Pre-heat your smoker to about 225 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius).
  2. If you have metal hooks, string your brats onto them in pairs and put them on shelves about 6 inches (15cm) apart. If you don’t have metal hooks, put your brats directly on the grill grate but ensure to grease it first with some oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Cook the brats for about 30 minutes.
  4. Now, increase the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and let them cook for another 30 minutes. This will make the skin of the sausages deliciously snappy.
  5. Remove them from the grill and serve immediately!

How To Grill Brats in the Oven

Head for the oven when you want to cook lots of bratwurst sausages but don’t want to pull the grill out.

Follow these steps when cooking brats in the oven:

  1. First, pre-heat your oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
  2. Place the bratwursts on a pan covered with baking paper.
  3. Now, put the pan in the middle of the oven. Bake them on one side for 10 minutes, flip them with a thong—not a fork—and continue grilling them for 5–10 minutes until they reach 160–165 degrees Fahrenheit (70-75 degrees Celsius).

Brats are great by themselves or paired with sausage buns and some toppings, such as ketchup, mustard or sauerkraut.

But you can also add some vegetables to the pan for extra nutrition if you’re cooking them in the oven. If you opt to cook veggies with your brats, they’ll take about 25 minutes to cook.

How To Grill Brats on Stove

This is a great method if you don’t have access to a grill or are only cooking a few bratwursts.

We want to cook the sausages on medium heat for them to get well-cooked. If you use extremely high heat, your brats will crack open while still being raw in the middle. If you use very low heat, the chances are that they’ll get overcooked on the inside while you try to brown them on the outside.

So, this is how you grill perfect brats on your stove:

  1. Heat your stove to between 300–350 degrees Fahrenheit (150–175 degrees Celsius) for best results.
  2. Once again, don’t poke them with a fork since this will dry out the sausages. Use a thong instead.
  3. Turn them often for all sides to get beautifully brown. If you’ve simmered them in beer, they’ll also get caramelized!
  4. Depending on your brats’ thickness, the cooking time will be around 10–15 minutes for pre-cooked or pre-heated raw brats, and around 20 minutes for completely uncooked brats.

How To Grill Brats in an Air Fryer

The absolute quickest way to grill your bratwursts is in an air fryer. You don’t need to prepare your sausages in any way; simply just pop them into the machine and wait for them to cook.

But, by using this method, you can’t cook them along with any extras or get that deep beer flavor.

These are the steps to perfectly cooking brats in an air fryer:

  1. Simply put your sausages on the air-fry basket in a single layer. Make sure to leave room on all sides.
  2. Cook them at 360 degrees Fahrenheit (182 degrees Celsius). You don’t have to pre-heat the fryer first.
  3. The total cooking time is 11–12 minutes, but make sure to flip them after 6 minutes. As always, use a thong, not a fork, to keep the meaty juices from leaking from the sausages.

How To Grill Brats in a Pressure Cooker

Now, the simplest way to cook bratwursts must be in a pressure cooker.

You don’t need to pre-boil them; simply put them into the pot and wait for them to heat. 

Also, there’s no need to check on them or flip them over! Just push the start button and wait for the beep to let you know they’re done.

Follow these steps to cook your brats in a pressure cooker:

  1. Put your pressure cooker to sauté if this is available on your cooker. Otherwise, just skip steps one and two.
  2. Sauté your brats in butter for about 2–3 minutes on each side. This will give them an appetizing brown color. Remember to use a tong when flipping them over since a fork might poke holes on the skin and let the juices out.
  3. Now, pour a bottle of beer over the sausages, or beef or chicken broth.
  4. Cook the brats for 6 minutes on the high setting.
  5. Release the pressure valve, and wait for the pot to cool slightly.
  6. Enjoy your sausages!

What’s the Best Method To Grill Brats?

zoom-in of three grilled bratwursts on top of a base of vegetables

The cooking method you choose depends on how many sausages you’re cooking, how fast you want them to grill, and if you’d like the brats to taste smoky, malt-beer sweet, or maintain their natural flavor.

But, the best method in our eyes is probably to use a gas grill. By grilling bratwurst this way, you get that smoky flavor, crispy skin, and juicy meat. You can also cook many brats simultaneously, and it’s faster and more convenient to heat a gas grill than to cook with charcoal.

What’s your favorite method on how to grill brats? Share it with us in the comments!

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