How to tell when brats are done

Last Updated on: 20th May 2023, 02:57 pm

Brats or bratwursts are a type of sausage which is prepared from the ground meat of pork or beef

. The cooking process of brats is very much like that of a normal sausage. But the difficult part is figuring out when brats are done properly.

To tell if the brats are done or not, you will have to examine their color, temperature, texture, and meat juices.

If the color of the brats is golden brown to dark, they have an internal temperature of around 160°F, are firm and have clear meat juices, then you can conclude that the brats are done.

checking the doneness of pork is similar to some extent to checking the doneness of shrimp.

Being a pitmaster, I often find myself in such a situation where it gets tricky to tell the doneness of a brat.

But by taking into account the temperature and texture of the brats, you can make the most accurate decision.

But the most accurate way of gauging its doneness is by using your experience. You can go wrong at the start, but you can only master it by practice.

In this article, I’ll distill all of my experience cooking brats and judging their doneness to ensure you make the right decision.

How to tell when brats are done

Brats are a type of German sausage and are really delicious if cooked properly.

You often get their how-to cook guides along with their packing, but none of the guides can tell you how to tell the doneness of brats. You can only master it by experience.

If you have been cooking sausages for some time, then it will not be difficult for you to tell the doneness of a brat because they are pretty much similar.

But while examining different aspects of brats, you should keep in mind their composition.

Brats are usually prepared from ground pork or beef, so they require an internal temperature of at least 160°F to cook properly.

In addition, the internal color should also change to opaque or white if the brats are done.

The pink interior means that the brats are still undercooked and require more time for proper cooking.

You should not get overwhelmed by a single factor, but rather you should consider taking all the aspects of brats into account before making the final decision.

The appearance of brats

Depending on the sort of meat used to make brats, a done brat will be golden brown or dark in color, whereas an undercooked brat will be a different color.

Typically, ground beef and pig are combined to make it.

It might have a reddish-pink hue when uncooked since it is made from beef or pork flesh.

Depending on how it looks, you can easily distinguish between a brat that is overcooked and one that is undercooked.

You might be able to tell a cooked brat from a raw one without much difficulty if you are experienced with brats.

However, due to their potential for looking alike, it may be challenging to tell the difference between done and undercooked brats.

Please don’t start criticizing yourself now if you can’t determine if the brats are done or not.

Because before determining if brats are done, we will look at their other characteristics. A single factor analysis can frequently produce inaccurate findings when used to determine quality.


You may get an idea of whether the brats are done after examining their look, but this can only be confirmed if the temperature of the brats is high enough to destroy the viruses.

Depending on the ingredients in the brats, the temperature may change.

You should insert an instant read thermometer into a brat to measure its interior temperature.

After 3–4 seconds, the thermometer’s screen will show the temperature of the brats.

Brats are often made with ground beef, and if consumed raw, they can cause foodborne disease.

The most frequent germ found in poultry flesh is salmonella, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially typhoid fever.

The interior temperature should thus be checked before eating.

To ensure that the majority of the pathogens are eliminated while cooking beef or pig, the temperature need to be a little higher.

Usually, a brat prepared from the meat of beef or pork should have an internal temperature of 165°F to be considered as done.

The most accurate approach to determine whether brats are done is to check their interior temperature.

The brats are safe to eat since the bacteria within have been eliminated by the proper internal temperature.

Even if you are confident that the brats are cooked through based just on their look, you might think about taking the internal temperature just to be cautious.

The outside of the brats reveals whether they have been heated or not, but the inside temperature reveals if the heat was intense enough to eradicate the germs.

bounce test

You may have made an educated guess as to whether the brats are done or not after checking the internal temperature of the brats.

But before making a final choice, we suggest that you consider the brats’ other qualities.

The bounce test is another way to determine whether brats are cooked through. It’s not as difficult as it seems.

Simply pick out a brat and set it on the plate.The brat is deemed to be finished if it bounces back.

To distinguish between the brats that have been cooked and those that haven’t, you need test each one individually.

The texture of the brats changes after they are cooked, which causes them to bounce.

Brats are often produced with ground beef, which when it is raw includes a lot of moisture.

The meat pieces cling together after the brats have finished cooking because they lose moisture. The way the brats bounce as they fall,

texture of the brats

Another characteristic of the brats that should be considered before making a choice is their firmness.

Brats are soft and squishy while they are raw, but after cooking, moisture evaporates, giving them a hard firmness.

Pressing the brats with your fingers will reveal how firm they are. There is a greater likelihood that the brats are done if the surface appears hard.

You might think about cooking it for a while if it seems mushy and soft.

Using tongs to pick up a brat and wiggle it will also indicate whether a brat is done.

The brats are undercooked and require further cooking to be fully done if they appear floppy and move readily.

Because brats are often composed of ground beef, they also begin to firm up with time, just like any other meat product.

To effectively determine the doneness of the brats, you should think about taking into account the hardness along with other factors.

Internal shade

Brats are also composed of meat, so as they are cooked, their color changes from pink to white or opaque.

The color shift will be less obvious if the meat used to make the brats is thin.

Brats’ inside color can also be used to gauge when they are done. However, you must cut the brats to determine their doneness based on color.

There are two ways to cut the brats to determine their doneness based on color.

Some prefer to chop the brats in order to check the inside color for doneness since doing so prevents them from ingesting uncooked brats and becoming unwell.

Others are against chopping the brats since it can cause moisture and meat fluids to be lost.

When I’m unclear whether the food is done in other ways, I merely cut to the brats.You can choose to cut them if you wish to, or you can base your choice on other considerations.

There is a small chance of mistake in any scenario.

meat juices

To make sure the brats are cooked through, you should verify the color of the meat fluids after examining the brats’ appearance.

Brats will have less meat fluids, but there will still be plenty of them to tell when they are done.

You should stab the brats with a toothpick or skewer to examine the color of the meat fluids. After a while, the brats’ meat fluids will begin to leak.

The brats are undercooked if they are pink and watery.

A cooked brat will have clear, thick meat juices. The presence of blood is what gives the brats their pink hue.

To precisely determine the color of the brats, be careful to probe them many times.

Finger testing

The brats’ textures should also be taken into consideration when determining if they are finished cooking after you have checked their colors and meat fluids.

It will have a solid exterior if the brats are cooked.

The outside of the uncooked brats will be sensitive and velvety. The finger test is a method for determining the doneness of brats based on their texture.

In order to determine if anything is finished or not, you must compare the hardness of your fingers to those of the brats.

When your hand is relaxed, the region behind the thumb in the palm of your hand will feel as soft as a raw brat.

You will detect a slight stiffness in the region below your thumb if you touch it with your middle finger. The brats will be grilled to the same medium-rare temperature.

Your thumb will feel like a medium-cooked brat if you touch it with your ring finger.

A cooked brat will feel similar to when you press your pinkie finger on your thumb. So it seems sense that the brats get tougher as they cook.

Size of brats

Like all other sausages, brats also have a lot of moisture when they are raw, but when they are exposed to the heat during the cooking, the moisture is evaporated and the brats shrink in size.

You will easily notice it if you have examined the raw brats before.

But you have to analyze the brats prior to cooking to be able to notice the size change. When the internal temperature of the brats rises, the moisture is evaporated to cool the brats.

So, by size shrinkage, we can assume that the pathogens might also have been killed.

Use your experience

After you have analyzed the brats by all the methods given above, you should try to re-evaluate the brats based on your experience.

You should consider using your senses like touch and smell to see if it is done.

If you have a little bit of prior experience of cooking, then you should be able to tell if the brats are done or not by now.

If you are still unsure if the brats are done or not, then you should consider cooking them for 2-3 minutes and analyzing them again.

The Final Verdict

You can tell if the brats are done or not by analyzing different aspects of them.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the internal temperature of brats should be around 160°F to make sure that the pathogens present inside the brats are killed.

In addition to temperature, you should also analyze the color and texture of brats to be able to make an accurate decision about doneness.

If you can’t decide the doneness on your first attempt, then don’t beat yourself up. Rather, return the brats to the grill for a few minutes and repeat the process to check for doneness.

if you are interested in digging deeper into checking doneness ,then don’t forget read our article on How to tell when bacon is done

Jakob miller