Smoked brats are packed with a wonderful flavor that's made even more amazing once your bratwursts are smoked! They're practically effortless to make but taste like you worked all day at getting everything just right! Slap them on a bun with your favorite condiments and enjoy!
Best Smoked Bratwurst
Brats are a staple of any BBQ or baseball game, but throw them in a smoker and add some sauerkraut on top to take a classic to the next level! These smoky, savory sausages are delicious with the tangy, fermented cabbage.
If you’re looking for easy party food that you can put together quickly and cook while you mingle with guests, look no further! There is very little prep work involved in this recipe, and smoking bratwurst is a breeze!
As that memorable infomercial used to always say, “Just set it and forget it!” At least for an hour and a half or so. Because smokers cook things at a low temperature, smoked meats maintain (and retain!) their juiciness easier than grilled brats.
I love eating these on a traditional white bun, but these days, there are lots of options out there. And for those of you who are paleo, keto, or gluten-free, this recipe is just as delicious without the bread!
🥘 Smoked Brats Ingredients, Notes, & Substitutions
With only three ingredients - meat, bread, and toppings - this recipe is a breeze to throw together for a party! Make sure you get high-quality sausage for the best results.
- Bratwurst Sausages - Pick your favorite sausages.
- Buns (optional) - White, wheat, or otherwise, make sure you get brat-sized buns.
- Sauerkraut (optional) - Sauerkraut is nutritious and adds an irresistible sour flavor.
*Of course, you're sure to add a few other staple condiments as well. I love a great German mustard, but stone-ground or Dijon works wonderfully as does the classic yellow mustard!
💭 Tips & Notes
- There’s no need to pierce the bratwurst casings for the smoker cooking method. They won’t burst. Bursting only occurs at high temperatures. Since the smoker cooks low-and-slow, your brats will cook evenly without popping and losing all that tasty juice inside them!
- Pecan, hickory, or apple are all great woods to smoke with. Try them all to find which one you like the best. *Hickory is one of the most popular, and most common woods and pellets.
- The time listed in the recipe is not meant to be a hard rule. Your cooking time may vary depending on temperature fluctuations. We had some intense wind the other day, and my smoker temperature was all over the place! The important thing is that the inside temperature of the meat reaches 160°F (72°C).
- When using a digital thermometer, always check the temperature of the same brat in order to keep it to just a single sausage that loses some of its juices.
🔪 How To Make Smoked Brats
If you’re new to smokers, this is an excellent, fool-proof first recipe. You're going to need your smoker, of course, some tongs, and a meat thermometer.
While this makes enough for ten people, you can easily adjust for however many you’re serving.
Step 1: Preheat your smoker. Turn on your smoker and preheat it to 225°F (105°C) according to the manufacturer's instructions. It doesn’t matter what kind of smoker you’re working with--Traeger or pellet smoker, Big Green Egg, charcoal smoker, wood smoker, or electric. Anything goes! Just make sure to preheat according to the manufacturer's instructions. Every smoker is a little bit different.
Step 2: Cook. When the smoker is hot, place 10 bratwurst sausages inside. Cook for around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check that the inside temperature reaches at least 160°F (72°C).
Step 3: Remove and add toppings. Take the brats out of the smoker and put each one on the bun if you’d like. Top with ½ tablespoon (0.5 grams) or more of sauerkraut for a powerful punch of flavor. You can also eat your smoked brats without bread.
Step 4: Serve! Enjoy the results of your hard work. 🙂
🍽️ What To Serve With Smoked Brats
As I said, these are great for an old-fashioned cookout. You can add any of your favorite toppings: ketchup, BBQ sauce, relish, onions, etc.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
The most important thing to remember when storing your smoked brats in either the fridge or the freezer is to put them into an airtight, moisture-free container. In the fridge, they will be good for up to seven days.
These do really well in the freezer, so you can save your leftovers for a mini weeknight cookout later in the week. Wrap them with foil or plastic wrap, or put them in an airtight container, and these delicious bratwursts will keep for up to two months.
The best way to reheat smoked brats is in the oven or in a skillet. If using an oven, preheat to 350°F (176°C). Place sausages on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches at least 145°F (63°C).
The stovetop method will save you some time while keeping the quality of the dish. Put brats in a skillet on medium-high heat and cook for about ten minutes, turning frequently.
You can also opt for adding a little water or broth to the pan if you want more of a steamed versus browned result.
As always, you can use the microwave, but it’s not the best for maintaining that fresh-cooked texture. If you decide to go this route, heat your leftover brats in 30-second increments until warmed to your satisfaction.
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If you’re paleo or gluten-free, try these sausages without a bun, sliced on a salad, served on rice, or tossed in with some grilled vegetables. Just remember it’s going to be a deep, smoky flavor. Or you can also just eat the brats plain.
For those eating gluten-free, remember to check the package to be sure your brats don’t contain gluten. While most are, there are some sausages made with gluten products.
This is a personal preference. My favorites are hickory, apple, or pecan. Hickory is the most popular for smoking and adds a strong smoke flavor. Applewood adds a great, mild smoked flavor with a touch of sweetness. Pecan is a wood that is delightful in combination with other woods. I always like to mix pecan chips with fruit wood for the best flavor and to keep the pecan from adding too much of a pungent flavor.
Local brats are great! We like to order from WisconsinMade if we’re planning ahead, but otherwise, Johnsonville brats from the local grocer work quite well. And while I love Wisconsin beer brats, and I love smoked brats, I don’t like to combine the two…I save the beer bath for grilled brats!
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📖 Recipe Card
- 10 bratwurst sausages
- 10 bratwurst buns (optional)
- 5 tablespoon sauerkraut (optional)
- Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C).
- Place brats in your smoker and smoke at 225°F (107°C) for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Use a digital meat thermometer or temperature probe to make sure the brats are at least 160°F (72°C).
- Remove from the smoker then place in buns, top with sauerkraut if desired, and serve. Enjoy!
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Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!