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Brats a flop

taydan

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Recently purchased raw brats that were frozen from our local meat market. I did thaw the brats out. I usually cook the brats on a charcoal grill. I needed to cook about 40 brats for a picnic, so I thought I would cook the brats onmy electric smoker. I cooked the brats on the smoker until the internal temp was 160. This took about 2 hours at a temp of 235. They never turned the cherry red color that most recipes said. The end result was brats that were a little hard and not juicy at all. I did put a light coating of Olive oil on the brats before going in the smoker. What did I do wrong? They are always juicy when I cook them on the grill. Note: The skins weren't busted open.
 

PolishDeli

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On the grill you have higher temperatures.
That crisps the casing, and colors the meat

When smoking, you'd want cured meat. That gives extra safety, texture, flavor and color.
 

boykjo

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First off welcome to SMF and were glad to have you aboard.... IMO it was the brats. You cooked them at a safe time and temp. The brats were frozen for an unknown time. Sometimes stored frozen sausage can become dry and crumbly when you cook them. Coating the sausage with oil was not the best choice. Smoke will not adhere to a wet casing surface. The sausage should be hung and the surface should form a pellicle and become tacky before placing in the smoker. Fresh sausage slow smoked between 190 degrees and 225 degrees will reach 160 degrees in 4 hours safely. Your results will be significantly different between slow smoking and grilling.
My 2 cents

Boykjo
 

PulledPorkSandwich

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T taydan I smoked some raw "Beer Brats" awhile back on my electric. I set the box temperature at 225 and smoked until the IT was 160. I used hickory chunks for smoke.

The result was terrible! The smoke flavor from the hickory seemed to clash with the beer flavor of the brat. The skin was not crisp, and the meat didn't seem done and it wasn't juicy. I won't do that again.

I'll hang around this thread and try to pick up some tips myself.

I wonder if I used "plain" (unflavored) raw brats, smoked them, then cooked them as I would otherwise normally do on the grill, if the results would be good; i.e., crisp casing and meat that was juicy and tasted "done".

boykjo boykjo Do I hang the brats in the refrigerator to form the pellicle? Do I coat them with something so the pellicle forms, or just hang them "dry"?
 

thirdeye

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Recently purchased raw brats that were frozen from our local meat market. I did thaw the brats out. I usually cook the brats on a charcoal grill. I needed to cook about 40 brats for a picnic, so I thought I would cook the brats onmy electric smoker. I cooked the brats on the smoker until the internal temp was 160. This took about 2 hours at a temp of 235. They never turned the cherry red color that most recipes said. The end result was brats that were a little hard and not juicy at all. I did put a light coating of Olive oil on the brats before going in the smoker. What did I do wrong? They are always juicy when I cook them on the grill. Note: The skins weren't busted open.
Okay, you cooked the same brats you always do, just in a different cooker. If the only change in your technique was using your electric smoker instead of a grill, I would have to think that might be the answer. 235° is a low temp, and instead of getting the sizzle and skin crisp where you want it.... maybe you were simply baking the brats. Grilling temps are usually much hotter.

Different brands do cook differently, and I've cooked a lot of brats at work but for an indirect setup, like this cabinet smoker, I like to 'hear' them cooking as much as I want to 'see' them cooking. 275°+ is a good range for me. These are Johnsonville brand, but I get good color and moistness, and good skin snap. Cook time is around an hour.
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mr_whipple

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I do store bought brats and Italian sausages (Johnsonville or whatever store brand is on sale) frequently on the pellet pooper. I normally run it at 250 but I think I've also done it at 275. They're not crispy like you would get off the grill but they have a good snap and a slight smoke ring. I like it better than grilling them, but I'm strange. In fact, I do the same with the store bought polska kielbasa and such. Just smoke them up to about 160 and call it dinner!
 

thirdeye

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The guys got you covered. For me, brats are a 2 step cook. I prefer to simmer in liquid until fully cooked and then a good sear on the grill. Check out some WI/Sheboygan/beer brat recipes for more info. Here's a start: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/87053/sheboygan-grilled-brats/
I like the poach and grill method too.... but that is when serving right away. If I need to hold 10 or 15 brats for later, I like to grill first, then poach to finish. This also stops wrinkling. I either like a bath of butter, beer, hot sauce, onion OR beer, hot sauce, onion and butter. :emoji_laughing:

That said, the poach first / grill first discussion will go on for eternity. One year I was cooking at a Octoberfest - Sausagefest block party. All we had was sausage, buns and beer, along with a few sides that neighbors brought over. The week before at least 40 people asked the 'question' about beer bath or grilling. For laughs, we decided to do them both ways since we were cooking about 350 sausages during the day. I can't tell which method was the winner.... but having both choices available made my buddy and me hero's for a day!
 

SmokinAl

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I do brats in the smoker all the time 225-250, always good & juicy. I usually make my own brats, but Johnsonville is very good.
Al
 

jcam222

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Like thirdeye thirdeye I have done a ton of brats in my charcoal cabinet. Prior to that I’ve done them in electric too. Results have always been awesome. I did them a few years ago for a family reunion to help out my FiL. People flipped snd wanted me to smoke them always moving forward. I usually roll at 250-275 and pull as you did around 160F. I’ve pulled at 155 too if I had a bunch and got good carryover temp in the foil pan. One thing is I have never costed them with anything. Don’t know what impact that would / could have.
 

zwiller

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thirdeye thirdeye I'll eat any brat as long as it's cooked and the casing isn't shot. Most often if I am offered a grilled brat it's disaster. If it's not destroyed it's raw inside. I sometimes prefer just plain ole pan fried. Just realized that recipe I posted did not included kraut. Must have here. I like those kind of sausage fests! I have never tried smoking and this thread has reminded me to try.
 

boykjo

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boykjo boykjo Do I hang the brats in the refrigerator to form the pellicle? Do I coat them with something so the pellicle forms, or just hang them "dry"?
[/QUOTE]

You can hang them at room temperature. Should take just a few minutes with a fan blowing towards them. Here is a link to some hot dogs I did and a pellicle forming. Sometimes when you take a johnsonville right out of its package you can feel the casing is already a little tacky. That is the pellicle formed on the surface of the casing. A good time to add smoke.


Boykjo
 

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