Different methods of smoking brats?

  • Hey guys! So I’ve made a few batches now of brats, both fresh and smoked, collagen casings and tubed natural hog casings. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the collagen casings. My favorite combo was the fresh brats with hog casings. The problem I’m having is when Indo the smoked brats. I followed all of the directions which was easy to follow since I have the PK100 smoker. I’m not liking the texture of them though vs the fresh brats and not sure where I’m going wrong.

    We have a VERY popular sausage place that sells mostly fresh brats, but they have one brat in particular that they make a smoked version of. The texture on theirs is perfect(not to mention amazing flavor). I’m curious if there is another way of smoking brats without cooking them. Like make them fresh but just have them in the smoker long enough to get some smoke on them but not cook them, and not hold them in the danger zone if that’s possible. The place that sells them always has lines out the door and is so busy they don’t have time to answer any questions.

    Would cold smoking work? Cold smoke for maybe an hour, then freeze and vacuum pack?

  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    Although I haven’t tried this yet with my homemade brats, have done it with store bought. Always hog casings in my opinion. Took some Johnsonville and indirect smoked them on a Weber grill. Added wood chips along the edge of the coals. This changes the whole flavor profile of the sausage. From a nice juicy one to more of smoked sausage one. Absolutely wonderful. Keep experimenting.

  • PapaSop

    Thanks for the info. So I’m actually trying to figure out how to smoke them before packaging them up, but keeping them safe and not changing the texture.

    Maybe I over mixed when I did the smoked ones, not sure, maybe not enough fat. I guess I should experiment with way smaller batches(maybe 2-3lbs).

  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    Guess I’m not sure what would cause such a drastic change in texture other than your smoking process. Just drying out to much. Are you using a water pan for some humidity?

    Definatley do smaller batches for experimenting. Perhaps someone will chime in on this.

  • Team Blue

    armyguy If the smoke flavor is what you are looking for in a fresh brat, perhaps the Hickory Smoke Powder would work for you.

  • PapaSop

    Yeah I’m not sure. I’m using a big bowl of water with the drying towel dipped in the bowl like a wick. Jonathan said he was getting like 55% humidity with that setup in his testing.

  • Joe Hell

    That’s an idea I’ve thought about, but I’m really wondering how the local sausage shop is doing it. It’s about a 45min-1hr drive from me. I was going to go in on Monday, buy some sausage, and try to talk to the owner but I know it’s gonna be too slammed with Superbowl coming up. I’ll go the following week when it hopefully dies down a bit. Whatever method they are using, it’s definitely working very well.

  • Team Blue

    armyguy Good call on going local. Ask a few questions about their method and I’m sure folks around here can put a few theories together. I’ve been impressed with the hickory powder as a supplement to the real thing. In many cases I use as much as half the recommended amount and it turns out well

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    armyguy You have hit the nail on the head with your initial post about the dangerzone. What I would recommend is adding sure cure to whatever water you are adding to the meat but then treat the mixing and stuffing like it is a fresh brat. That would give you extra leeway to cold smoke your brats before packing and then grilling them. Another very good option is like Joe Hell said, adding Hickory Smoke Powder

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