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posted July 20, 2022

Smoked Brats with Beer Onions

Move over hot dogs, these smoked brats are ready to take center stage at your next summer BBQ! They’re large and in charge and pack a big flavor punch with the addition of homemade beer onions.

Smoked brats topped with beer onions and deli mustard with text overlay - Smoked Brats.

Brats on the Smoker

Smoked brats are one of the best methods for cooking up those tasty sausages. The smoke easily penetrates the casings, giving your brats a tasty, smoky kick of flavor and a beautiful pink smoke ring.

Be sure to buy uncooked brats as opposed to pre-cooked so they don’t get chewy on the grill. Also, be sure to grab brat buns. They’re a bit bigger and will better hold your smoked brat and all the toppings. If you can only find hot dog buns, those will do as well.

Brats on the grill grates of a smoker.

Beer Onions for Smoked Brats

The real shining star of these smoked brats is the beer onions. These onions are cooked in butter and dark beer for a killer topping. Here’s what you’ll need to make the beer onions.

  • 2 large sliced yellow onions
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

In addition to beer onions, these brats are awesome with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard. They all come together for a tangy, savory brat.

Beer being poured over a skillet of sliced onions.

How to Smoke Brats

Once you have your brats, buns, and all ingredients for the beer onions assembled, you’re ready to make your meal! Here’s how to do smoke brats.

  1. Preheat. Fire up the smoker, and allow it to preheat to 275 degrees F. Use can use any hardwood you prefer.
  2. Smoke the brats. Place the uncooked brats directly on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid, and smoke for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the temp of the brats reaches 160 degrees F.
  3. Make the beer onions. After you get the brats on the grill, prepare the onions. I recommend using a 12-inch cast-iron skillet to make these. You can also do them alongside your brats if your grill has a side attachment. Melt butter in the skillet and add sliced yellow onions. Cook until the onions have browned slightly, then add beer, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes or until the onions are nice and plump.
  4. Sear. This is an optional step. Depending on how you like your brats you can remove them from the grill once they reach 160 degrees F, or increase the heat on the grill to crisp the casing for 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Assemble. Place the brats in the buns and top with the beer onions, sauerkraut, and spicy brown mustard. Feel free to add your own favorite toppings or allow your guests to assemble their own. Enjoy!

Smoked brats in hot dog buns.

How Long to Smoke Brats

It takes around 60-90 minutes to smoke brats.

Brats are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, so rather than cook for the specified amount of time in this recipe, watch the temperature! Insert an instant-read thermometer into your brat and you’ll know they are ready to come off the smoker when they reach 160 degrees F.

Tips for Smoking Brats

Here are some tips for smoking brats.

  • Branch out past brats! Bratwursts make awesome smoked sausages, but if you’ve got an awesome local butcher like me, you’ve likely got a lot of sausages to choose from for this cooking process. You can cook other sausages using this same recipe with very tasty results.
  • Turn up the heat. For crisp casings at the end, grill those brats over direct heat. They really only need a quick sear to add some crunch. Leave them on too long, and they’ll start to split (which is actually fine too!).
  • Check your temps on the end. You can temp your brats with an internal meat thermometer from the middle of the sausage, but you can also go into the center of the sausage from the open end of the casing. This may help prevent moisture loss from piercing that casing too soon.

Smoked brats topped with beer onions and deli mustard.

More Brats Recipes

Your brat dreams don’t have to end here. Check out these other delicious brats recipes from Hey Grill Hey at the links below. Whether you enjoy them on the grill or smoker or dunked in beer cheese sauce (yes, BEER CHEESE SAUCE), these recipes are here to help you feel full and satisfied.

Smoked Brats Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own smoked brats at home. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.

Smoked brats topped with beer onions and deli mustard.

Smoked Brats with Beer Onions

Susie Bulloch
Move over hot dogs, these smoked brats are ready to take center stage at your next summer BBQ! They're large and in charge and pack a big flavor punch with the addition of homemade beer onions.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time : 1 hr 45 mins
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 523kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 6 bratwursts (uncooked)
  • 6 brat buns

Beer Onions

  • 2 large yellow onions (sliced)
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F using your favorite hardwood.
  • Smoke. Place the brats directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke for 60-90 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the brats reads 160 degrees F.
  • Make the beer onions. While the brats smoke, prepare the onions. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add in onions and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned and cooked through. Stir in the beer and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium heat until most of the beer has reduced and the onions are plump, but not too saucy (about 15 minutes). Keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Finish smoking. Once your brats are to temperature, you can either serve as-is (the skin will have a snap, but not a crunch) or you can increase the heat on your grill to high and crisp the exterior for 2-3 minutes (the brats will likely split and have a crunchy exterior casing).
  • Enjoy. Serve the smoked brats atop buns with the beer onions and your favorite toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1361mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 3mg
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