Some may think this is pretty much self-explanatory and it should be easy. It really is easy, but if you don’t know how to cook brats on the stove (or even in the oven) properly (whether that be on the stove, or in the oven), you’re missing out on juicy flavorful bratwursts cooked to perfection. You will also be wasting your money if you’re not trying to get the most out of your brats. If you’re trying to get the most out of your brats (why wouldn’t you?) then you’ll definitely want to try these other items that will help you get what you want. Then there’s also the health risks of under-cooking them as well. So take a few minutes to learn how to cook them properly, and let me teach you what you need to know.
Cooking Brats on the Stove
On the stove is the most popular method to cook brats and it’s also super easy. However, for this method, I would really recommend a heavy cast iron pan. Do not use non-stick pans or your results won’t be that great. If you don’t have a heavy cast iron pan, and don’t want to buy one then use a stainless steel pan instead.
There are two ways to cook brats on the stove. I said two, but both are literally the same. One way is just the reverse of the other.
Method 1: Brown Then Braise
The first method is to brown and then braise your brats. To do so, you would:
- Brown the brats in butter, oil, or a mixture of both butter and a little oil. Use a heavy cast iron pan if possible.
- Turn the sausages over when it has browned. Add in some chopped onions and garlic. Sautee it on the side.
- Once both sides of the brats are browned, grab a couple cans/bottles of your favorite beer. Over the brats in the beer. You can also substitute beer with stock, or even water (although water is really not recommended).
- Bring the liquid to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a lid, or aluminum foil. If you use foil, be careful to fold it ahead of time, so it doesn’t not make contact with the flames, or cooking surface.
- Let the brats simmer in beer/stock for a good 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the brats from the pan and allow it to cool down before serving.
- You can also cook down the liquid for a richly delicious sauce.
Method 2: Braise Then Brown
The second method is really the reverse of the first. Instead of browning the brats first, you braise it first and then once that’s done, you brown the brats in a pan.
- Place your brats in a pan or pot and cover it with your beer of choice.
- Bring the beer to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.
- Allow the sausages to braise for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the brats from the liquid.
- Heat up a heavy cast iron pan and sautee some chopped onions, peppers, and garlic.
- Remove the sautéed vegetables and set aside.
- Add more oil, butter and allow it to heat up again.
- Brown both sides of the brats and remove from heat and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with some more beer.
- Cook down the liquid and then add in the sautéed vegetables for a sauce you can add on top of your brats.
Cooking Brats in the Oven
You can also cook it in the oven if you prefer (although I’m not a fan of it). When cooked in the oven, you can choose to brown the brats after cooking, or you can just enjoy it as it is. If you want to brown it, you can do so with the broiler, or in a pan.
If you use the broiler, there is the risk of a fire and the hassle of dealing with the mess caused by the oils of the brats splattering on the very hot flames of the broiler. You will definitely want to use a fork to poke the brats and help drain it of some of these oils. I don’t like to drain my brats of their juices, but it’s a small sacrifice you’ll have to make.
To bake your brats in the oven:
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a baking pan large enough to hold your sausages. You can also choose to line the pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
- Place your brats evenly in the baking pan.
- Bake the brats for about 20 minutes if you intend to brown your sausages.
- Bake them for about 25 minutes if you want to enjoy them the easy way and avoid having to brown them.
- To brown your sausages, refer back to the pan methods above under the instructions for cooking on the stove as well as the paragraph above.
Cooking Frozen Brats
What if you really really want some brats, but they’re still frozen. Are you doomed to wait for them to thaw first, or can you just cook them from frozen? While my personal opinion is you should just wait for them to thaw, you can cook them while still frozen. I really do want to stress that it should really be a last option. Only choose to do so if you don’t have a choice.
To cook frozen brats, just braise them as you would in the instructions above. The only difference is you need to braise them for a little longer. I would recommend adding at least another 5-10 minutes to the cooking time. Afterwards, you will just brown them as usual.
One other thing you really need to be careful about is the check the internal temperature of the bratwursts. You have to make sure them are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 to avoid potential food borne illnesses. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure they are cooked thoroughly. For more information about this topic, you’ll want to check out this info from the FDA.
That’s really all there is to know about how to cook brats on the stove and in the oven. It really is simple to cook brats once you know how to do so properly. Not only will you be able to truly enjoy the best flavors they have to offer, you also get the most out of your money and avoid the risks of eating under cooked brats. But before you run off to cook those brats, you might want to spend a few minutes learning more about them; such as which mustard is the best.