Smoked Brats

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Smoked Brats are an outrageously delicious cookout or game day meal! Juicy, succulent sausages with the perfect combination of salty, smokey and slightly spicy flavors. They’re a snap to make – After just a couple hours of smoking, you’ll have a family-sized serving of mouthwatering, juicy pellet grill brats!

titled image for smoking brats

If you’re bored with the usual hamburgers and hot dogs, it’s the perfect time to break out the bratwursts! Read on to learn how to smoke brats – it’s easy as can be!

smoked bratwurst ingredients

Smoked Brats

Each bite of this meal gives you a burst of juicy, peppery flavor that will keep you coming back for more!

Under a pile of toppings, or plated on its own with a side of smoked red potatoes or grilled corn, a filling and satisfying meal is guaranteed!

If you’re plagued by brat cravings during the colder winter months while your smoker is closed and packed away, try this crockpot beer brats recipe

And whether you make this smoked bratwurst recipe on the Traeger or in your slow cooker, you can fix ‘em up southwestern style in this recipe, inspired by my trip to New Orleans!

bratwurst in pan with veggies

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Bratwurst – These sausages are most often made from ground pork or a blend of pork and beef.

    Select the ones with a good ratio of fat or marbling, to keep them juicy and flavorful.
  • Yellow Onion and Bell Peppers – These are the basic veggies you’re going to want, but you can jazz things up with a variety of sweet or spicy peppers and onions.

    Jalapeños and banana peppers would add a nice kick of spice to your smoked brats.
  • Beer – Any beer will work, but I recommend using a pale ale. Blue Moon and Allagash White are two of my favorites!
  • Garlic Powder – It’s easiest to use the powdered seasoning, but you can use freshly minced garlic if you’d like.

    Since the meat will be resting in a bath of beer, veggies, and seasoning, it’ll take in all of the flavor just as well, if not better!
  • Paprika – I love using this fruity, peppery spice for smoking! Cayenne or New Mexico chili powder would add a bit more heat, if that’s what you’re after. 
sprinkled seasoning over veggies and bratwurst

Smoking and Serving Smoked Bratwurst

  • Choosing the Right Wood Chips – Maple, oak, hickory, cherry, and pecan are my top recommendations.

    Each has its own flavor and scent, so be picky and go with the wood, or combination of woods, you prefer.
  • Bring Out the Best Toppings – All of our hot dog classics are on the table! Or should be, at least.

    Ketchup and mustard are a must, while it never hurts to have relish and onions on the side. Peppers and cheese are uniquely delicious on smoked brats!
  • Some Great Ways to Serve – Sliced and diced, smoked brats will add a ton of flavor to any soup or stew. The same goes for pasta or rice dishes!

    And while you can’t go wrong just serving them up on a hot dog bun, try slicing them longways and serving on a sandwich with onions and peppers. 
poring beer into pan of smoked brats

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Once they’re cool, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 4 days there, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.

Reheating

You have a couple options for reheating. If you want a bit of texture and crispiness to the exterior, throw them on the stovetop on medium heat – keep them moving so they don’t burn and stick! 

Otherwise, pop them in a 350°F oven on a sheet pan until warmed through the center. Or, simply microwave in short bursts.

PRO TIP

Poke a couple of holes in the bratwurst casing, so your meal doesn’t explode in the microwave.

bratwurst recipe in smoker

Smoked Brats FAQ

How long does it take to smoke brats?

It takes about 2 hours to smoke brats at 225°F. I say “about” because it’ll vary depending on the thickness of your sausages, the model of your smoker, and the kind of wood chips you use. 

The magic number is 160°F – that’s the temp your digital thermometer needs to read before your sausages are done cooking. 

Should you boil brats before smoking?

Nope! And I’ll tell you why.

You want the entire cooking process to happen in the smoker.

That way all of the cooked meat absorbs the flavors of the beer, vegetables, seasonings, and smoking wood chips. Boiling beforehand prevents all of the meat from soaking all of that good stuff in. 

Should you poke holes in brats?

No – if you do this, you’ll allow the juices and fat inside the sealed sausage to escape. And that’s the last thing we want!

hand holding smoked bratwurst in a bun

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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smoked brats on tray

two smoked brats in buns with toppings, closeup.

Smoked Brats

Donna Elick
Smoked Brats are the best cookout or game day food- Juicy, smoky, and slightly spicy. You can make this bratwurst recipe on any smoker!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 5

Ingredients
 

  • 5 brats, uncooked
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into slices, ¼-inch thick
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into slices, ¼-inch thick
  • 24 ounces beer, see Notes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  • Add the brats to an aluminum foil pan. Top with sliced onions and peppers.
  • Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables and pour beer into the pan.
  • Place the pan in the smoker and cook for 2 hours, tossing occasionally to coat the onions, peppers, and brats with beer.
  • During the final 30 minutes of smoking time, remove brats from the pan and transfer them to the grate above the pan. The color of the brats will change to a smokey pink/red, indicating they are completely cooked.
  • Serve on toasted buns with your favorite brat toppings.

Donna’s Notes

You can use any beer you like. I recommend a light ale, such as Blue Moon or Allagash White.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 307cal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 1033mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image for bratwurstrecipe

Originally published September 2022

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4 Comments

  1. one tip of recipe is to poke hole into brats so they don’t burst then you direct to NOT poke holes into brat so they stay juicy make up my mind.

    1. Hi Stubby,
      As stated in the post no you do not poke holes in the brats while smoking, if you do you’ll allow the juices and fat inside the sealed sausage to escape. However When reheating these in the microwave it is recommended to poke holes so that they do not burst. Hope this helps!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Donna! Recovering alcoholic here of 30 years. Could I use chicken or beef stock in lieu of beer? Near beer isn’t an option either since there is still some alcohol in it. Thanks!

    1. Congratulations on 30 years.
      Any chef will tell you that the alcohol will cook off in the smoking process. However, beef stock is a perfectly acceptable substitution. Use salt free stock and adjust your seasoning as you go. Good luck.

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