Beer Bratwurst: Whoops!....I blew it!

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by couger78, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    I found this good-looking recipe for 'beer brats' that I thought i'd give a go. I had all the ingredients, except for the lager. For my purposes, it had to a 'wheat-free' beer as several family members can't ingest gluten. Found a brand called 'Red Bridge' (gluten-free) so I was all set. I decided to smoke these, too.I made a big blunder near the end of the process so I learned something.....[​IMG]

    Ingredients ready:


    Used the kirby mixer to mix the 10lb batch. Took only about a minute to produce this:


    Stuffed & almost ready to get smoked:


    Hang 'em high to dry a bit:


    On to the smoker: And here's where things got a bit dicey. I'm still using my weber (can be tough to regulate)—in fact used it earlier in the day for andouille with no issues. But the weather got colder & wetter & blustery so once I got the brats, the temps started to really fluctuate. Shot up to over 200° several times over the course of 90 minutes & had me scrambling to get the temps back down. This was on-going for the entire smoke. I was soaking wet. What a hassle. I pulled the brats off after having enough fun in the elements and plunked the batch into the turkey roaster to finish 'em to temp:


    Bad sign: water became VERY greasy—and I feared the worse: that I had 'fatted out' the sausages due to the extreme temps on the smoker.

    Into the ice bath:


    I let 'em hand dry (bloom time) and before I plated them (in photo below), I had to wipe them down as they were pretty 'greasy' to the touch. After the rub-down though, they looked okay....


    ...until i tried one! DRY, DRY, DRY! Did I say it was DRY? The taste was good, but the dry texture was NOT something I was hoping for. Everyone agreed that the smokey flavor (applewood) and spices were good, but the dry texture was a bit off-putting.

    So lesson learned: WATCH the temps! Trying to multitask had me neglecting the temps on the weber cost me juicy brats.

    So now to make 'lemonade' out of lemon.

    I've ten pounds of dry brats to use. My wife plans to use them in a variety of dishes where the dryness will be masked by other ingredients (like beans & weenies) such as this dish serving the brats with sauerkraut, apples & onions, which i have to admit, the brats tasted pretty good in:


    Let's just say I'm looking forward to getting the MES even more now. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  2. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'll take those dry ones off your hands!! Did you make you own kraut too?
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well they sure look good from here!
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    On the plate, I see minor signs of excess heat.  Having said that, I have seen worse and I bet they tasted great.  I would also rethink the formula as to fat content, but really you want your temps in control too.

    Fortunately even our less than perfect grub is pretty good, and yours looks good to me!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    They look great from here Couger!

    And I repeat---That is so neat the way you label everything in your pics!!!!!


  6. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great Looking Brats Cougar...
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with Bear on the appearance and how do you label 
  8. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the positive feedback, guys. 

    I was really bummed yesterday the way these brats turned out. I love a good brat & these didnt quite hit the mark.

    These are, however, still edible so all is not lost.

    I learned some important points that I'm sure many of you already know...

    * watch the temps! Its do or die if you dont!

    * Careful when using SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE! From what I've been told this stuff will turn your juicy link into something dryer than dust if you're not careful. I didnt account for that factor (SPC is supposed to help retain moisture) and probably should have increased the amount of liquid in the mix.

    Between the misuse of the heat & the SPC, combined with my inexperience, its a wonder they tasted as good as they do now.[​IMG]
  9. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    I went back & checked my mix: 7lbs of pork butt (20-25% fat), 2 lbs beef brisket (pretty lean, maybe 15%), and 1 lb of pork fat (100%), plus I added a cup of heavy cream. Before I go 'fatter' I think I'll find an alternative to the SPC.

  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Actually, the soy concentrate can help maintain the texture of the meat, but it has to be used carefully.

    I would eat your sausage anytime.

    Good luck and good smoking.

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