How To Make Bratwurst | Recipe
How To Make Bratwurst
25lb Pork that is 70/30 Lean to Fat ratio
If using Venison or any other lean wild game use 18 lb of lean and 7 lb of pork fat. Pork fat has a creaminess that other fat (including beef) cannot match, is nice and bright white in color, and has very little flavor on its own, making it the perfect choice for all kinds of sausage.
1 package Excalibur Sausage Seasoning
2 to 3 lb High Temperature Cheese (optional)
30mm Fresh Collagen Casings or 32/35mm Natural Hog Casings
16oz (1 pint) Ice Cold Water (optional, to help make stuffing and seasoning dispersion easier)
You can use Fresh Collagen, Home Pack Hog Casings, or Tubed Hog Casings each has their advantages and disadvantages. For collagen, they are the easiest to use, simply take them out of the package, slide them on the tube and they are ready to be used. The disadvantage is that they will not accept a twist, meaning that after you link them they will come unwound when you cut between the links. For Natural Home Packs these will hold a twist and are inexpensive but they require you to rinse the casing, flush them and then soak them for 30 minutes in hot water before use. Tubed Hog Casings are our choice as they are pre-flushed, meaning they only need to be rinsed and then soaked before use. They are also easier to load onto the stuffing tube and they are going to be the highest quality runs of intestine, meaning the longest runs and the least amount of defects.
We want to have some large particles in our Bratwurst so we are going to use a larger plate for grinding than we would for a cured sausage. So, grind twice, first through a 3/8" Plate and then through a 3/16" Plate. Or you can use the Walton’s One Shot with your Walton’s #12, 22, or 32 Grinder and put a 3/16th plate on and grind just once.
You can choose to either hand mix or use a meat mixer. Either method will be fine as we are just mixing long enough to get good dispersion of seasoning, and we don’t want to get protein extraction (where the meat is sticky) like when making a cured sausage. You can also choose to add your seasoning directly to any water you are using to make seasoning dispersal even easier. Cheese can be added at the beginning of mixing to make sure it is evenly distributed throughout the sausage.
Simply load your sausage stuffer, using the largest stuffing tube the casings you are using will fit over, while avoiding creating any air pockets in the canister, and begin to stuff in the casing until the casings are full with a smooth exterior. Stuff into as long of ropes as you can, and then cut them to length or twist the link once done.
If you used natural casings you are better off understuffing them as these types of casings are slightly more prone to blow-outs and you can always tighten them up in the linking process by twisting them a few more times.
If you are cooking these on a grill cook them over medium heat (around 325-375°F) until the internal temperature is 160°
If you are cooking in an oven bake at 350° until the internal temperature is 160°
Fresh sausage is one of the quickest and easiest meat snacks to begin making at home. All you need is the seasoning, ground meat, and a sausage stuffer to get started. Over time you can add additional equipment, supplies, and products to make things easier, or expand your process by purchasing a meat grinder to grind your own meat.
Add 1 pint (16oz) of water per 25lb of meat to help make sausage stuffing easier, and to help make mixing easier and quicker for dispersing seasoning evenly throughout the meat mixture.
What Is Fresh Sausage?
Fresh sausage can include sausages like bratwursts, Italian-style sausage, chorizo, breakfast sausage, and other related sausages. They can be packaged into collagen casings, natural hog casings, natural sheep casings, or even in bulk by using meat bags.
Watch Waltons: How to Make Bratwurst
TODDG25 With an uncured product like a Bratwurst or a Sausage that would be okay. You would want to make sure you are careful when mixing to not get protein extraction, so just mix until the seasoning is mixed in. There will be some protein extraction from the salt content acting with the meat but it won’t be enough to cause you issues. If you were trying this with something that had cure in it then that would cause issues as we are looking for high levels of protein extraction and the meat would start to set up if you held it overnight and become very difficult to stuff. Hope that helped!
Austin Wow, you guys have a great website. I’ve been learning some tricks about snack sticks from Walton’s now I want to try changing my fresh sausage recipe from natural hog casing to 30 mm collagen casings. The reason for the change is to better control the finish size. Couple questions; will the change help with the “pop” that we all seek in a sausage DAWG, and will the collagen cased sausage freeze well. I usually make 50 lbs of venison dogs in the fall and enjoy them throughout the next year. Thanks in advance for your help.
Collagen and natural have very different and distinct “pops” to them. Natural has more of a snap and bite to it usually, while fresh collagen has a bit more tenderness to it. If you are wanting more pop/snap/bite to the casing, you can try using the 32mm Clear Collagen Casings or 32mm Smoke Collagen Casings. These will be a quite a bit more pop/snap/bite than the 30mm Fresh Collagen. The 32 Clear/Smoke are what we call a Fine-H variant, and specifically designed to be a replacement for hog casings. I usually use the fresh casings and prefer the more tender bite, but if you want more pop to the bite, go with the clear or smoke casings.
Freezing shouldn’t be an issue. The casings should all behave similarly there. Avoid condensation in the package before sealing and freezing, and it will be fine (that same rule applies to any casings, not just collagen).
Under the Walton’s Learning Center > Meat Hacks > Sausage Stuffing… there is a topic called Collagen Casings 101
That also correlates to a video covering the same information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be1dK0BFo8c
Then, on the product pages for collagen casings on waltonsinc.com, each casing will specifically say which type it is, and have a shortened bit of info from the collagen casings help page I linked above.
Let me know if you need anything else!
I’d like to make 10lbs of brats, make about 2lbs right away and then freeze the remainder. Do I need to add something like the pink sure cure to the meat prior to stuffing since I plan on freezing some?
Also, is there an ideal ratio of fat to meat that you should have when making your own brats?
Jeff Allen No, you dont need to add any sure cure, you only need to do that if are planning on slowly smoking the sausage, if you freeze it for future use it will be perfectly fine! As for fat ratio with brats I like to stay in the 80-20 to 70-30 ratio any less than 80-20 and you start to get a dry product. Hope this helps!
I smoked up 25 lbs of brats 30 pork and 70 deer. I used the natural hog casings 32-35mm. I smoked them for an 1.5 hours at 140 degrees and then at 185 until I reached an internal temp of 160. The casings were really rubbery when i was done and made them really chewy. Any ideas what im doing wrong
kking Did you follow the bratwurst process where you grind through 3/16 plate and then mix in the seasoning without getting protein extraction? The reason I ask is that you wouldn’t normally cook bratwurst like that. Bratwurst is a fresh product so that means that no cure has been added and by keeping it at that lower temp for that length of time you might have grown some bacteria and microorganisms in there that could throw off the taste and texture of the meat. I’m not sure if this would have affected the casing but it is a natural product.
So if you did make a bratwurst and then smoked it like you would a smoked sausage, then what MIGHT have happened is that the fat rendered out of the product and started “cooking” the casing basically in the fat. This doesn’t happen when you are making smoked sausage because the protein extraction will keep the meat, fat, water and other additives all bound up together.
I will say I prefer using collagen casings because I think the natural casings do get a little bit rubbery when they are smoked, so that could be what it is. Have you smoked other sausages with natural casings in the past and been okay with them?
Other things it could possibly have been:
Not soaking the casings long enough
Poor Casings or Old Casings (Unlikely but I am running out of thoughts here!)
Im hoping someone else has a better idea because other than the fat rendering out I don’t think any of my suggestions were the likely cause. Does anyone have some possibility that I missed?
kking If you are making a bratwurst I wouldn’t recommend smoking it. If you want to add some smoke flavor to it I would either add Hickory Smoke Powder during the mixing process or get something like an Amaz-en Tube or the Flip Professional Smoke Box to add smoke as you grill them at medium heat.
When I am cooking brats on my pellet grill at home I set the temp to 315° and cook until it is 160° for pork and 165 for chicken.
If you are wanting to make a smoked product out of any bratwurst seasoning just buy some sure cure and then use the bratwurst seasoning and follow the grinding and mixing instructions from Cured Sausage 108 - Basics For Making Smoked Sausage.
That’s my advice at least!
Jonathon thanks for the help. However I did add sure cure to it when I mixed it and stuffed it. Is the issue I’m using the wrong casing? Do the natural casing not hold up to that slow cooking process. I guess I called them brats because I used brat seasoning.
kking Gotcha! Okay, that changes things a little, if you added sure cure then the only other difference is the grinding and mixing. All of that is contained in the article I posted in my previous one, so if you ground and mixed as I did in that video that . I’m glad people are starting to try adding cure to traditionally fresh products, it’s a great way to experience new flavors!
Since there was nothing bad growing in your meat (since you used sure cure) then I think the most likely thing would be either be some fat rendering out and essentially basting the casing in fat(which would have happened if you did not get enough protein extraction), or it might just have been a less than perfect batch of casings. They are natural casings and even though they are processed there is going to be some variability. You certainly can use natural hog casings to smoke sausage, people do it often, I just prefer collagen because I find it so much easier to work with and I like the snap of it better.
The major downside to collagen is that it will not accept a twist as natural casings will.
kking It wouldn’t necessarily hurt anything, the only real danger you would run into is getting some case hardening. That is where the outside cooks too quickly and will not pass heat into the center. So you get an overcooked outside and an undercooked inside. If you stick to your previous smoke schedule and get good protein extraction when mixing (should be sticky and stretch if you grab a handful) then you should be good!
If you get protein extraction my recommendation is low and slow!