Grilled brats are a game day must, a tailgating tradition, and perfect for an outdoor bbq! And with my easy method, you don’t even have to boil them. Instead, you’ll cook fresh brats over medium-low heat on a gas grill, then sear over high heat. They’re amazingly juicy and full of flavor. Best of all, you can put together a brat board for serving with all your favorite condiments.
This post is sponsored by Twin Eagles Grills, a year long partner of Heartbeet Kitchen. We have their 36 inch grill top with infrared rotisserie, on a portable base. Their meticulously engineered grills are as beautiful as they are high performance.
I live in Wisconsin, the land of beer, grilled brats, and cheese. Bratwurst are the fried chicken of this state! There are even “brat stops” here, road side stands or small restaurants that focus solely on making and serving sausages.
If you’re having a football party, backyard bbq, or outdoor family celebration, brats are on the menu. And for good reason!
They’re delicious, when made right. Salty, juicy pork with a spiced peppery bite, tucked into a bakery bun with all the fixings – yum.
Nope! For years, I spent time par-boiling the fresh brats I’d bought before tossing them on the grill. I’d been under the impression that this speeds grill time and make things easy.
But earlier this summer I decided to go rogue and test NOT par-boiling the fresh brats I had picked up and just starting them on medium-low heat, then searing to finish.
And guess what? They turned out PERFECT, and it took about the same amount of time, 15 total minutes. Also, no big pot from boiling to clean! It’s the only way I make them now.
Often when I parboiled the brats, they’d end up bursting over the high heat while searing because they were already mostly cooked through. They cooked too fast, and didn’t allow the flavors of the grill to develop, either.
Instead, lower, gentle heat is the best method for grilling brats so that the proteins unfold slower, giving them ample time to properly bind with the fats, seasonings and the casing of brats. Meanwhile, proteins in the casing shrink and dehydrate, leading to a binding that creates the classic snap to each bite of the brat!
One of the things I love about my 36 inch Twin Eagles gas grill is its versatility. I can count on it to make something as elevated as Rotisserie Prime Rib, or something as simple as the perfect brats. I’m able to control the heat easily, as the control panel illuminates to provide a precise control knob setting. And best of all, it has interior lights with hood-activated light switch for nighttime grilling, which we’ve fully embraced.
Grilling brats is easy! As I mentioned, you can skip the boiling, and head straight to the grill to get started.
Use a meat thermometer to check that your brats have reached a safe internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before removing them from the grill.
Tip: Instead of poking the thermometer into the center of the brat, poke it into the end where the casing is slightly open. This way you won’t let out all the juices out!
Your best bet for buying great tasting, quality made brats is from your local butcher shop. A bratwurst maker’s use of seasonings and quality of meat impact the final product, but did you know the coarseness of the meat grind does, too? Coarser grinds deliver a big flavor hit up front, whereas finer grinds release layers of flavor, which I prefer.
I love a good Wisconsin bratwurst, which is typically meaty and salty with a hint of spices that you’d often find in Thanksgiving stuffing: sage, pepper, coriander and nutmeg. They are comprised mainly of pork, and sometimes a mix of veal and/or beef.
If your local meat shop doesn’t carry brats, Johnsonville is a good really good supermarket brand.
I created this fun brat board to give you some inspiration for hosting game day or a backyard bbq! It’s simple to put together, and guests will love it. You grill the brats and vegetables, everything else is store-bought. Or if you’re looking to make something homemade, this Italian Potato Salad is a great side.
This is the big board from Target that I have (it’s also a lazy susan), and it’s perfect for serving. And affordable!