how to tell if grilled brats are done

How To Tell If Grilled Brats Are Done: A Simple Guide

Bratwurst, or brats, is a type of sausage typically prepared with pork, but it can also be made with veal and beef. They come in natural casings and have a smooth texture and a mild flavor that works admirably well with spices and seasonings.

When you’re hosting an outdoor cookout or party, brats are a hit with everyone — provided you cook them right, of course. Grilled brats can be juicy and flavorful when cooked to 160°F. But, how to tell if your grilled brats are done? Keep reading to find out.

Brats-Roasting 101

Brats that are grilled between 300°F to 350°F will generally reach an internal temperature of 160°F in about 15-30 minutes. However, the time it takes for your brats to reach this internal temperature will vary depending on the thickness and size of the brats. So, if the brats you’re using are thicker than average, cook them for longer, by just 2-3 minutes.

How To Know When The Brats Are Done

How To Know When The Brats Are Done

Cooking brats is an art, and we’re about to make you the artist. Here’s how you cook brats to juicy perfection:

1. Set the grill (or skillet) to 300-350°F. Or, if you’re using gas or charcoal, medium-low heat temperature.
2. Line the brats on the grill. Make sure to space them out properly — that’s the only way you can get evenly cooked meat.
3. Once you start noticing the “sizzling” sound, the cooking process has begun. You can keep the lid closed or open; it’s up to you.
4. Rotate the brats every 2 minutes. This will help ensure that they’re caramelized on all sides.
5. To keep the brats from sticking to the grill, spray them with water, oil, or even beer. Just make sure you don’t overdo it as it can lead to more smoke.
6. Once you see a slightly dark brown hue on the brats, remove them from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. It will allow the flavors to melt together beautifully.

You can serve juicy, flavorsome brats with baked beans, sweet potato fries, sauerkraut, or your choice of a side dish for a complete meal. While we’re on the subject, make sure you don’t:

• Poke holes in your brats or cook them over high heat. This can compromise the casing, which can cause its juices — the very thing that’s giving the meat flavor — to seep out and leave you with incredibly flavorless meat.
• Parboil brats before grilling them. It only stretches your cook time and does not improve the texture or flavor of the sausage in any way. In fact, if you boil it at a high temperature, it can cause the casing to break, which will detract from its natural flavor.

How To Check The Internal Temperature Of Your Brats

Internal Temperature Of Your Brats

There are three ways you can check the internal temperature of your grilled brats.

1. Instant-Read Thermometer

This is the best way to determine the doneness of brats. Use a thin-probe instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the brats. If it reads 160°F, it’s well-done, and you can remove it off the grill.

2. The Magical Touch Test

Press your thumb against your pinky finger and assess how the flesh feels. This is what you will measure your touch test against. Now, press a sausage against the tip of your finger and check whether you feel the same consistency as your pinky finger. If it feels firm to the touch and has a slight bounce to it, it’s well done.

3. Do The Cake Test

Cake testers have narrow needle-like probes, so they won’t damage your casing. In a way, they do the same work as the instant-read thermometer but with a slight difference. Poke a sausage with a cake tester, then press it against your wrist. If it feels hot to the touch, the brats are done. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to keep the brats on the grill for a touch longer.

4. Cut The Sausage

This is the quickest way to check if the brats are done. Ideally, you want to make sure that the brats are white and firm throughout. Grilled brats that are still pink on the inside indicate that the meat is undercooked. Undercooked meat can contain bacteria, which can make you susceptible to dangerous infections like trichinosis (trichinellosis).

Buy Pre-Cooked Bratwurst

If you’re still unsure about cooking brats right and want to avoid the hassle, pre-cooked bratwursts are a convenient alternative. They reduce the cooking time to 5-10 minutes, and as they’re already heated to a safe temperature, come with minimal risk of food-borne illnesses.

Keep in mind that you still have to heat them at a higher temperature of 350°F and honor the rest time to get the desired result.

Friendly reminder: Pre-cooked meat does not have the texture and taste of its fresh counterparts. So, if you’re looking for that much-prized meaty vibe, try your hand at grilling fresh brats instead.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.