Grilled Bratwurst is a simple, yet flavor-packed German sausage. It’s the perfect choice for lunch, dinner, or anytime you’re in the mood for a good, savory brat.
What is Bratwurst?
Bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork, veal, or beef. Pork is the most common meat found in bratwurst, and it is traditionally served as-is, alongside potato salad or sauerkraut, or served in a white bread roll (though how a brat is served varies depending on location).
Lucky for you, you don’t have to live in Germany to enjoy you own delicious bratwurst at home. And here’s a fun thing about bratwursts – there are several different varieties that you can buy at the store.
First up are pre-cooked bratwursts. You can often buy them in the refrigerated section by the hot dogs in your local grocery stores. The most traditionally German version bratwursts are lighter colored brats. They are likely labeled “stadium brats.” This is a common brat that you will find in Germany. They’re made with a lighter pork with a perfectly balanced flavor.
Another popular kind of bratwurst are uncooked brats. You can find these at the meat counter in your grocery store. These bratwurst are generally quite a bit thicker than the pre-packaged kind and come in a natural pork casing. And really good meat counters will often grind their own bratwurst. They will also offer different flavors, so you can find your absolute favorite kind of brat.
Finally, let’s talk toppings. If you’re going traditional, you’ve gotta use a German brotchen roll (It’s like a small baguette that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.) and top your bratwurst with mustard only. I like to use German stone-ground mustard, and there are some really delicious beer mustard that tastes great on a brat. We also top ours with sauerkraut for some added tang.
How to Grill Bratwurst
So once you’ve selected your bratwurst, you’re ready to get to grilling. Grilling bratwurst is extremely easy and relatively quick. If you’re in a hurry or on the road (camping, anyone?), the stadium brats are a great go-to. They taste amazing with simple mustard and sauerkraut. If you have a little more time, go ahead and splurge on the uncooked brats from your meat counter.
The cooking methods with the two types of brats differ a bit as they have different textures. The pre-cooked ones have a finer grind on them, so there’s less texture in the sausage itself. It’s therefore a much smoother sausage. In the fresh bratwursts, there will be more chew to them with more pockets of fat and other variation.
For this recipe, we’re using fresh, uncooked brats. Begin by cooking the brats on the indirect side of your grill until the internal temp (make sure to use a reliable meat thermometer!) reaches 150-155 degrees F. Then grill over direct heat for 1-2 minutes to crisp the exterior.
There’s no need to boil these brats prior to placing them on the grill. These guys are cooked start to finish on the grill and have the most amazing taste and texture.
Tips for Making Grilled Bratwursts
Here are some tips to keep in mind when grilling bratwursts. Even though they’re incredibly easy to cook, these three tips can take your brats from good to great and will help them come off the grill look and tasting amazing.
- Start them low then go high. The best way to grill bratwursts is to start the temp nice and low at first, then crank up the heat to sear and crisp the outsides. This gets you a perfectly cooked interior with a nice bite on the exterior.
- Use a thermometer in the right place. Make sure to use a meat thermometer to read the internal temperature of your brats. Instead of sticking it through the middle and piercing the casing (this lets all those delicious juices escape!), slide the probe into the center of the brat through the end where the casing is already open.
- Throwing a party? Simmer in beer! If you are cooking brats for a crowd, grill them and then transfer them to a pan with hot beer and onions. Keep the pan on super low heat until you’re ready to serve.
How Long to Grill Bratwursts
It takes approximately 20 minutes to fully grill a bratwurst. Begin by placing the brats on the indirect heat side of your grill. Cook them for 18-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bratwurst reaches 150-155 degrees F. Next, place the brats on the direct heat side of the grill for 1-2 minutes to crisp the casing.
More Bratwurst Recipes
Fancy yourself a delicious bratwurst now and then? Hey Grill Hey has some great bratwurst (and hot dog!) recipes to satisfy your biggest brat craving.
Grilled Bratwurst Recipe
This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook.
- 6 bratwursts
- 6 bratwurst buns
- desired toppings
- Preheat your grill for Medium heat (325-350 degrees F) for two-zone cooking.
- Place the bratwursts on the indirect side of the grill and cook for 15-18 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bratwurst reaches 150-155 degrees F. Turn occasionally to evenly cook the bratwurst.
- Transfer the brats to the direct heat side of the heat and grill for 1-2 minutes to cook the exterior casing.
- Place the buns slit side down on the grill and grill for a few seconds until they are crisp.
- Remove the buns and the bratwursts from the grill. Place a brat in a bun, and top with your preferred toppings (mustard and sauerkraut for me!)