Let me start by saying that this is a recipe originally posted by diggingdogfarm many years ago, so he gets proper attribution right up front.
I wanted to make the American Classic Wisconsin style bratwurst, epitomized by the Johnsonville brat we all have tried and see in every supermarket. A search here at Walton’s for brat recipes gave some fantastic info on how to make them, including a new video by Jonathon 4 days ago that is an excellent all in one tutorial.
However, 99% of all posts and threads discussed using premade spice mixes available from Walton’s. I am sure these are fantastic, but as a cook I always want to know exactly what spices are in a flavor profile, so I can tweak them to give the exact perfect result I want. This isn’t possible with a premixed spice, though those absolutely do save time and give an outstanding result on attempt #1 for thise not interested in developing their own recipes.
I started with Stanley Marianski as a source, he has a “German Bratwurst” and a Milk and Egg Brat. I can attest both these are authentic, having lived in Germany and eaten a lot of brats in Duesseldorf, Koln, Franfurt, Kaiserslautern, and Ulm/Munich (cities I was stationed in flying for USAF). However, these are not WISCONSIN style–the German one has caraway, and the milk egg one is the whitish fine grind mace/cardamom/ginger/lemon-zest one. I love both, but needed more current and local recipes.
I spent about 10 hrs reading every thread and post I could find on various for ums and YouTube. 2guysandaCooler, SmokingMeatForum, DuncanHenry, lpoli, meatsandsausages dot com (Marianski’s recipe site), wedlinydomowe dot pl the giant Polish sausage community, etc.
I copied down every recipe I found. I compiled all brat recipes into a spreadsheet, with all ingredients normalized and converted to 1kg meat block. That is, I converted all ingredient T and tsp into grams, then expressed them as a % of meat block whether 5lb, 25lb, 1kg, etc. I’ve weighed all the spices per tsp 4 times and averaged, using 3 different teaspoon measures, but of course difference spice grinds could give 20 to 40% off.
All this allows me to look at 20 recipes at once and see EXACTLY where spices vary and by how much. It really lets you see the critical flavor components and their acceptable ranges, when you have 20 recipes that all got rave reviews when tested.
In the end, 30 or so experienced sausage makers who made these recipes all seemed to agree on one profile. The exact same recipe, when converted, was seen in 10 threads or so, from multiple sources.
This isn’t my recipe. I can say that this recipe matches the one given by diggingdogfarm on various forums, as well as numerous other posters over the years after he first posted it.
All ingredients, as accurate as anyone can measure.
Just in case other folks are looking for good Wisconsin or Johnsonville clone brat recipes, like I am, every person of about 30 makers has said it is spot on perfect for Johnsonville or Wisconsin
Style. There is a touch of sweetness, nutmeg and ginger do the heavy lifting in this style. Having seen this recipe show up numerous times now as folk’s Best Recommended, I would say it is a good one to use.
I stuffed them into 21 mm fresh collagen casings, the super delicate ones you use for breakfast links. Mostly because I had a partial stick that was just the right length for 5 or 6 lbs. I made 2kg meat, then added about 13% water to stuff thru 13mm tube, giving 2.25kg or about 5 lbs.
Would have used hog casings, but this was sausage #3 of the night (3 lb Taylor Pork Roll, 9lb Jimmy Dean clone breakfast sausage, and 5 lbs of this brat). So I needed to just grab an easy casing and finish, so I didn’t keep my kids awake while cleaning 😉
I steamed these with a few T of water then let them brown. The beer is Paulaner Hefe Weizen.
Recipe from diggingdogfarm “old family recipe”:
1000g fatty pork butt
1.7% salt, 17g
0.5% sugar, 5.3g
0.25% black pepper fresh ground, 2.5g
0.22% nutmeg, fresh, 2.2g
0.05% coriander toasted ground, 0.5g
0.035% celery seed, 0.35g
0.005% marjoram, 0.05g
0.14% ginger ground, 1.4g
10% water, 100 ml or 100g
The marjoram amount seemed pointless, about 1/16t, so I bumped it up to 0.5 g. Marjoram is the primary flavor of Polish sausage, with garlic.
I like giving recipes in grams per kg meat block, or expressed as % of meat block, so anyone can just multiply for their meat amount. Teaspoons and Tablespoons are woefully inaccurate, especially considering the small spice amounts we are using, but the weight in grams is always exact. However… for those who are wedded to lbs and teaspoons, here is a picture of the 5lb recipe and my conversions: