Chicken Bratwurst - Recipe
How To Make Chicken Bratwurst?
Keep your meat cold
Before we begin let’s talk quickly about the temperature of the meat. You want to keep any meat as cold as possible before grinding but this is especially important with chicken because of its low density. You want the chicken as cold as possible without any ice crystals in it.
Notes on using Chicken for sausage
A few things to make note of before you select your seasoning, Chicken has a very low-fat content (remember 2.6 grams of fat per 3.5 ounces of Chicken) this means that any seasoning we choose is going to lose some of its flavors compared to other proteins. Pork, and to a lesser extent beef, have a lot of fat which is a good vehicle for the seasoning as it helps to coat your mouth and let the seasoning linger. We can combat this by using a smaller meat block, for example, 20 lb instead of 25 lb, or we can just accept that it is going to be a little less full-flavored. Here is a list in no real order of seasonings that work well with chicken, Habanero and Mango Bratwurst Seasoning, Reuben Flavored Bratwurst Seasoning , Feta Cheese and Spinach Bratwurst, Supreme Pizza Bratwurst Seasoning , Hot Buffalo Wing Brat Seasoning, Cheeseburger Cheddarwurst Seasoning , Habanero Bratwurst, Inferno Hot Bratwurst Seasoning, and Sundried Tomato Italian Sausage Seasoning
Chicken Breast (1 batch will have 25% pork fat)
Batch #1 Grind your chicken breast twice, through a 3/8" plate and then a 3/16# plate. Grind your pork fat separately, either through a 3/8" or 3/16" depending on how large you want your fat particles to appear. Most chicken that is purchased in a store has been pumped with a water-based solution to increase the weight and juiciness of the chicken, so it should freeze and grind very well, during the 2nd grind it might begin turning into “goup” which is fine.
Batch # 2 and # 3 grind your chicken breast through a 3/8" plate and again through a 3/16" plate.
Batch # 1 - Add your chicken and seasoning to the meat and begin mixing, after a minute or two add your pork fat and continue mixing until the meat is nice and sticky. You can add a small amount of water to make the mixing easier but do not overdue it, no more than 1 pint of water for a 25 lb batch.
Batch # 2 - Add chicken, seasoning, and Carrot Fiber Binder to the mixer and as much water as you desire, Carrot Fiber will hold 26 times its weight in water, so if you are adding 3 oz you could use 78 oz of water should you choose. We don’t recommend going this high, somewhere around 32 oz for a 25 lb batch seems to be the best ratio. Mix until the meat is sticky.
Batch #3 - Add your chicken to the mixer and then dissolve the Cold Phosphate - Sodium Phosphate in your water, which for a 25 lb batch should be 1 pint, making sure it is fully dissolved before adding it to the meat. Mix until the meat is sticky.
This will be the same for all batches, we used Tubed Hog Casings but you can use Home Pack Sheep Casings, 32-35 mm Home Pack Natural Hog Casings, or any Collagen Casings that you want. Just remember, collagen casings are easiest to work with, but they do not hold a twist once cut, Hog/Sheep casings will hold that twist but must be rinsed and soaked before use.
Stuff the casing until it is smooth and full, if you are using collagen look for a faint swirl pattern running down the casing to let you know when it is fully stuffed, we want to be able to barely make that line out. Also, remember that an understuffed casing can always be tightened up when linking, but a blowout is going to slow down your process by making you stuff the sausage twice.
Cook on a grill, smoker or in a pan or oven at 375° F until the internal temperature is 165° F as these are chicken. Serve while they are still hot, either in a bun or just by themselves.
The test confirmed what we have said for a long time, there really is not a replacement for Pork Fat as that was easily our favorite of the three batches. The creaminess and extra flavor that comes with pork fat is simply better than any other option. The 2nd favorite was the Carrot Fiber Binder with the extra water, while not as flavorful as the batch with pork fat the consistency and taste were closer to what we were hoping for. In last place was our biggest swing, using phosphates to try to keep moisture in the meat worked, but it still more dry than batch #1 and #2 and it was the least flavorful of the 3.
The best way to freeze them is to put them in Vacuum bags but if you put a room temperature brat into a vac bag and vac seal it, you will end up with mush! A good way to avoid this is to put your brats in the freezer for 60-90 minutes to let them freeze slightly, this will allow them to retain their shape during packaging.
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I am going to halve my seasoning packet and carrot fiber binder. Can I assume the rough amount of water is 1lb.? obviously depending on amount of moisture in the chicken.
Question 2 is after linking should I cut links apart or is there an easy way to keep the collagen casing twisted so I don’t lose contents? I am new and this is my first run on brat making so going small and also going 50/50 on boneless skinless breasts and thighs with skin.
SierraPete Going 50/50 is going to give your a really nice tasting chicken brat! If you are adding carrot fiber add at least a pound of water, the carrot fiber is going to suck that right up and keep it bound in the meat nicely, you could probably get away with 1.5 lb without any issue.
For collagen casings they are always going to come undone a little after cutting them. If you are smoking them I would cut them after smoking, if you are going to freeze them for future use I would put them in the freezer for about an hour and then cut them. You should be freezing a fresh product before vac packing them anyway to prevent the vacuum from crushing the brats.
The only other thing I would recommend you think about adding is cold phosphate, I just did a batch of turkey brats with that added and it really added some juiciness to it and it is inexpensive. You can check out that video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oforLcfcuJ4. It is turkey but the same rules would apply with the cold phosphate.
Jonathon So I made a half batch of tomato basil brats with the 50/50 thigh/breast mix. I went with 1.5lbs of cold water. I think I could of been able to get away with more. I didn’t have any cold phosphate on hand like you recommended, but plan to try some with the next batch.
I stuffed brat casings with my new stuffer thanks to Walton’s 12 days of Christmas sale. It made the process really easy. I cleaned out the little bit of meat left in the stuffer and saved it. I made three small patties, coated two with bread crumbs and fried them up with breakfast this morning. The are AWESOME…and they passed the taste test with my wife and picky son. They weren’t greasy at all and were really moist! My only regret was not making a whole batch as I sit here listening to my wife pick who she is going to give these to as presents. My family always expects my cold smoked cheese and peanuts so these will be a nice healthy addition!
SierraPete It’s your initial batch, you can tell your wife it is customary to not give away any of that as a gift! If you do add the cold phosphate on your next batch I’d definitely add another 1/2 lb of water. I also always save that little bit in the bottom for making a patty or two out of, I even do it with cured products like snack sticks, nothing goes to waste!
What seasoning did you use? I am always looking for more seasonings that work well with chicken brats!
Jonathon I used the Excalibur tomato basil brat seasoning. I figured this would pair well with pasta dishes etc. during winter. I think the supreme pizza will be next on my list to try. I would love if Excalibur made a Muffaletta Pizza brat seasoning. I think it would be a big hit for sure.