Smoked brats are simply perfect. Smoking them infuses them with an exquisite flavor.
However, the trick to getting delicious brats is smoking them at the right temperature for the right time. Always smoke brats at 250°F for 1 hour. The brats will be moist, juicy, and delicious.
- What Is Bratwurst?
- Can You Smoke Brats at 250?
- Can You Smoke Precooked Brats?
- Should You Boil Brats Before Smoking?
- Tips for Smoking Brats
- What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Brats?
- How Long to Smoke Brats at 250
- How Long To Smoke Pre-Cooked Brats At 250
- How Long to Smoke Brats at 275
- How To Tell if Brats Are Done Smoking
- Final Thoughts
What Is Bratwurst?
Before we discuss smoking time, we must discuss what bratwursts are. Bratwursts, aka brats, are German sausages.
The name is derived from the German term brät. It means to chop meat finely. Wurst translates to sausage, hence the name bratwurst.
Brats usually consist of pork. However, they can also contain a combination of beef, veal, or pork.
Can You Smoke Brats at 250?
Yes, you can smoke brats at 250°F. It’s safe to smoke brats between 200°F-250°F.
Most people smoke brats at a lower temperature. They are afraid the sausages will dry out at 250°F.
However, as long as you smoke the sausages for the right amount of time, they will not dry out.
Can You Smoke Precooked Brats?
You can buy raw or precooked sausages. Technically, you can smoke raw or smoked sausages.
Smoking precooked will take less time to cook. However, it is best to smoke raw brats.
Should You Boil Brats Before Smoking?
Boiling bratwurst before smoking is a hot topic in the smoking world. But the truth is boiling brats is optional.
People are against boiling brats because of the dilution of flavor. Steaming brats with aromatics such as onions is seen as the better option.
In contrast, some people are all for boiling brats. They believe boiling the brats prevents the smoke from overpowering their natural flavor.
These experts recommend boiling brats for 15 minutes before smoking them.
Whether you choose to boil your brats before you smoke them is up to you. However, if you do boil the brats, do not prick the bratwurst.
Bratwurst has a delicate casing. Bratwurst casing can rupture easily.
If the casing is damaged, the sausage will absorb too much moisture. The excessive moisture could dilute the brat’s flavor.
At this point, smoking the brats will not fix the sausage. Smoking punctured brats will cause them to become dry and tough.
This is why some experts do not recommend boiling brats before smoking.
Tips for Smoking Brats
While smoking brats is very easy, these tips will ensure you have the best smoked brats.
First, do not buy mass-produced bratwurst. Do not purchase brats packaged in carboards or foam containers.
Purchase locally sourced brats from your butcher. Locally sourced brats have a greater variety.
Some brats contain cheese, jalapenos, apples, and even beer. Smoking these brats will enhance their flavor even more.
You can also make your homemade brats to smoke. You will know all the ingredients used to make the sausage.
If you want to crisp up your brats, you can sear them in a skillet or on the grill.
To sear the brats on the stove, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the brats for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown.
To sear brats on the grill, heat the grill to 400°F-500°F. Sear the brats for 2-3 minutes until they are slightly charred.
However, do not leave the brats on the grill for too long. If you grill them too long, the casing will split.
Always take the temperature of the bratwurst before you remove the brats.
Insert the thermometer’s probe into the center of the sausage. Alternatively, you can insert the probe into the brats’ side at the casing’s open end.
This can help prevent too much moisture from being lost. The brats should have a final temperature of 165°F.
What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Brats?
You cannot use any wood to smoke brats. Some wood chips can overpower the brat’s natural flavor.
Hickory works well with brats. The hickory chips will give the bratwurst the signature BBQ flavor.
You can also smoke bratwurst using maple or apple wood. These woods will give the bratwurst a subtly sweet flavor that balances the salty flavor.
Hardwoods like oak or mesquite are usually reserved for beef products like brisket. However, in the case of bratwurst, it works beautifully.
Hardwood gives bratwurst a subtle nutty flavor. However, if you are serving kids, they may not care much for the nutty flavor. So, it may be better to go with maple, apple, or hickory woods.
How Long to Smoke Brats at 250
Knowing how long to smoke brats is extremely important. The exact cooking time of brats depends on their size.
The higher the temperature, the faster the brat will cook. Therefore, the sausages can cook the brats will cook in 1 hour.
How Long To Smoke Pre-Cooked Brats At 250
While it isn’t the preferred choice, you can smoke precooked brats. Since they are already cooked, they will take less time to smoke. It will take about 20-30 minutes to smoke precooked bratwurst at 275°F.
How Long to Smoke Brats at 275
Some people recommend smoking bratwurst at 275°F.
However, you must proceed with caution. At 275°F, the brats can easily dry out.
On average, it takes 30-45 minutes to cook bratwurst at 275°F. You will also need to turn the brats a few times to ensure they cook evenly.
How To Tell if Brats Are Done Smoking
Some people suggest that you can tell brats are cooked by their appearance. The brats should be browned but not burnt. The brats should also be brown and not pink on the inside.
However, the appearance or color of the bratwurst is not accurate. Ingredients such as nitrates can cause brats to have a pink color. Therefore, a brat can be pink even if it is fully cooked.
Using a food-grade thermometer to test the brat’s doneness is better.
The bratwurst should have an internal temperature of 165°F. This is the recommended safe temperature for consuming bratwurst.
Now you know how long to smoke brats at 250°F. So, pull out your smoker and smoke some brats.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.