How to tell when brats are done

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Last Updated on: 23rd October 2022, 12:52 am

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

A done brat will have a golden brown or dark color, while an undercooked brat will have a different color depending on the type of meat used in brats.

It is typically made by combining ground pork and ground beef.

Because It is prepared from the meat of pork or beef, so it can have a reddish-pink color when raw.

It doesn’t require much effort to tell the difference between an undercooked brat and a done brat depending on its appearance.

If you have been familiar with brats for some time, then you might be able to easily differentiate a cooked brat from a raw one.

But it might be tricky to distinguish between undercooked and done brats because they can have a similar appearance.

If you are not able to tell if the brats are done yet or not, then please don’t start beating yourself at this point.

Because we are going to examine the other aspects of brats before judging their doneness. Deciding the quality on the basis of a single factor can often give wrong results.

Temperature

After analyzing the appearance of the brats, you might have an overview of the doneness, but it can only be verified if the temperature of the brats is also high enough to kill the pathogens.

The temperature can vary depending on the composition of brats.

To check the internal temperature of a brat, you should take an instant read thermometer and poke it into the brat.

The temperature of brats will be displayed on the screen of the thermometer after 3–4 seconds.

Brats are usually prepared from ground meat, and they can also result in foodborne illness if eaten uncooked.

Salmonella is the most common bacteria present inside the meat of poultry, which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, or even typhoid fever.

So it is better to check the internal temperature before eating.

In the case of beef or pork, the temperature should be a bit higher to make sure most of the pathogens are killed.

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 internal temperature of the brats is the most accurate way to tell the doneness of the brats.

The appropriate internal temperature makes sure that the pathogens inside the brats are killed and it’s safe to eat.

Even if you are sure about the doneness of the brats on the basis of their appearance, you should consider checking the internal temperature to be on the safe side.

The appearance of the brats shows if they’ve been exposed to heat or not, but the internal temperature indicates if the heat was high enough to kill the pathogens.

bounce test

After you have checked the internal temperature of the brats, you might have assumed whether the brats are done or not.

But we advise you to take other aspects of the brats into account before making a final decision.

Another method used to check the doneness of brats is the bounce test. It is not as complicated as it sounds.

Simply select a brat and place it on the dish.If the brat bounces back, then it is considered as done.

You should consider testing all of the brats one by one to separate the ones that are still uncooked from those that are cooked.

The bouncing of the brats is due to the change in their texture after they are done.

Typically, brats are made from ground meat, which contains a lot of moisture when raw.

after the brats are done, they lose moisture and all the chunks of meat stick to each other. Due to the way the brats bounce upon falling,

Firmness of brats

Firmness is another aspect of the brats which should be taken into account before making the final decision.

The raw brats are soft and fleshy, but once they are done, they will have a firm texture due to evaporation of moisture.

You can check the firmness of the brats by pressing the brats with your fingers. If the surface seems firm, then there is a higher chance that the brats are done.

If it feels soft and mushy, then you should consider cooking it for some time.

Another way to check the doneness of brats is by picking up a brat with the help of tongs and wriggling it.

If the brats seem floppy and wiggle easily, then they are undercooked and need extra cooking to be done properly.

Brats are usually made of ground meat, so like any meat product, they also start to get firm over time.

You should consider taking into account the firmness along with other aspects to accurately decide the doneness of the brats.

Internal color

Brats are also made up of meat, so their color also changes from pink to white or opaque once they are done.

However, if the brats are made with lean meat, the color change will be less noticeable.

The internal color of brats is also a determinant of their doneness. But you need to cut the brats to check their color for doneness.

There are two schools of thoughts on cutting the brats to check their color for doneness.

Some people prefer to cut the brats to see their internal color to ensure doneness because cutting brats is better than eating undercooked brats and getting ill.

Others oppose cutting the brats because it can result in loss of moisture and meat juices.

I only cut to the brats if I’m unsure of the doneness in other ways.You can cut them if you want to, or you can also make your decision on the basis of other factors.

Either way, there is a low probability of error.

Meat juices

After you have examined the color of the brats, you should consider checking the color of the meat juices to make sure the brats are done.

Although there will be less meat juices in brats, there will be enough to determine when they are done.

To check the color of the meat juices, you should poke the brats with a toothpick or a skewer. Meat juices will start to seep out of the brats after sometime.

If they are pink and watery, then the brats are undercooked.

A done brat will have thick meat juices with a clear color. The pink color in the brats is due to the presence of blood.

You should make sure to poke the brats in different locations to check the color accurately.

Finger test

Finally, after you have examined the colors and meat juices of the brats, you should consider checking their texture to make the final decision about whether they’re done yet or not.

If the brats are done, then it will be firm on the outer side.

The raw brats will be soft and tender on the outside. A test called the finger test is used to check the doneness of brats by their texture.

The finger test means comparing the firmness of your fingers with the brats to decide if it’s done or not.

A raw brat will be as soft as the palm area of your hand below the thumb when your hand is relaxed.

If you touch your thumb with the middle finger, then you will feel a little bit of firmness in the area below your thumb. It will be the same as the medium-rare cooked brats.

If you touch your thumb with your ring finger, then it will feel like the brats, which are medium cooked.

A done brat will have the texture of touching your thumb with your pinkie finger. So you can imagine that the brats become harder 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
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