How To Make Homemade Chicken Brats - Recipe
Meatgistics: How Do I Make a Healthier Version of a Bratwurst?
Learn how to Make a Healthier Chicken Bratwurst with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
Meat Hacks & Recipe
How Do I Make a Healthier Version of a Bratwurst?
Hey guys, this is Jon with WaltonsTV and today we’re gonna talk about how to make a healthier version of a brat by using chicken.
As health concerns are brought more and more to the forefront of Americans minds we often find ourselves looking for healthier options that fit our busy life style without sacrificing taste. One of the healthiest and most readily available meats is Chicken Breast, a single small serving of 3.5 ounces of uncooked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast contains a whopping 21.2 grams of protein, just 2.6 grams of fat and just 114 calories! It’s no wonder chicken breast has long been a favorite of nutritionists and healthy eaters. You can also make a brat out of a 50/50 mix of breast and thighs with the skin still on them. This will not be as healthy but they will taste great!
A few years ago we decided to try to take some of our favorite Brat seasonings and make a Bratwurst out of Chicken instead of Pork. The results were generally excellent, there were a few swings and misses along the way but that’s to be expected and we will help you avoid the same mistakes we made.
Before we begin let’s talk quickly about the temperature of the meat. You want to keep any meat as cold as possible before grinding but this is especially important with chicken because of its low density. If you tried to run chicken at room temperature through a grinder you would end up with a soupy product that would not hold its form. So you want the chicken as cold as possible without any ice crystals in it.
The first thing to know is that chicken breast can be used by itself, it requires no additional fat from pork, however, we do recommend you use a binder of some sort. You can use Sure Gel, Soy Protein Blend or Carrot Fiber, all are excellent binders. The one we had the most success with was Carrot Fiber, it gave us a very nice juicy and plump Bratwurst.
We have decided to do a Supreme Pizza Bratwurst with mozzarella cheese and a Reuben Bratwurst with Provolone cheese.
A few things to make note of before you select your seasoning, Chicken has a very low-fat content (remember 2.6 grams of fat per 3.5 ounces of Chicken) this means that any seasoning we choose is going to lose some of its flavor as Pork, and to a lesser extent beef, have a lot of fat which is a good vehicle for the seasoning as it helps to coat your mouth and let the seasoning linger. We can combat this by using a smaller meat block, for example, 20 lb instead of 25 lb, or we can just accept that it is going to be a little less full flavored. Here is a list in no real order of seasonings that work well with chicken, Habanero Mango, Rueben Bratwurst, Feta Cheese and Spinach, Supreme Pizza, Hot Buffalo Wing, Cheeseburger Cheddarwurst, Habanero, Inferno Bratwurst, and Sun-dried Tomato Italian Bratwurst Seasoning.
The first step to making Chicken Brats is to grind the Chicken twice through a 3/16th plate. We are using a Weston #12 Butcher Series Grinder. We think that the price and value of the Weston Butcher Series make them one of the best meat grinders for home use. To find out more, be sure and watch our Weston Butcher Series Grinders Review Video.
Once you have selected your seasoning you will want to mix in your binder of choice into the meat at the same time that you mix in your seasoning, again we would recommend Carrot Fiber but you certainly can use either Sure Gel or Soy Protein Blend. If you are using Carrot Fiber we would recommend using 2 lbs of water when you mix in the seasoning and binder. Carrot fiber holds up to 26 times its weight in water so this will increase your final yield and give you a nice, juicy product. The amount of water you should use can vary as the water of content of Chicken Breast varies from brand to brand. When mixing meat for bratwursts, the mix time is fairly short and just long enough to evenly disperse the seasoning. We aren’t mixing until the meat is sticky and tacky with a lot of protein extraction. We have 3 options for mixing, either hand mixing, using a manual mixer or using a powered mixer attached to our Weston grinders. We decided to use the 20lb Weston Mixer and the 44lb Weston Mixer attached to a grinder for powered mixing. Since we are making two batches of brats, we’ll keep the products separate by using the two mixers.
The next step will be stuffing the sausage into casings. You will have to choose between Collagen or Natural casings… We chose collagen because it is easier to work with and I like the snap better than Natural Hog Casings. You will want to load your stuffer’s canister, put on the correct stuffing tube and extrude the chicken into the casing. When stuffing into any casing, always choose the largest stuffing tube that will fit to make the stuffing process easier. For a 30mm collagen casing, the largest stuffing tube we can use is a 19mm stuffing tube. Remember, that as you stuff, do not over stuff the casings because if they are too loose after stuffing you can always add a couple extra twists when linking to tighten them up, but you can’t as easily fix a blown out casing.
So now you have your Chicken Brats, 25 lb of chicken certainly makes quite a lot of Brats, doesn’t it? So, unless you are having a large BBQ you will want to freeze at least some of these Brats. The best way to freeze them is to put them in Vacuum bags but if you put a room temperature brat into a vac bag and vac seal it, you will end up with mush! A good way to avoid this is to put your brats in the freezer for 60-90 minutes to let them freeze slightly, this will allow them to retain their shape during packaging.
Make sure you subscribe to WaltonsTV and remember to tap the bell next to the subscribed button to get notified about all new videos, plus like and comment on this video, and visit waltonsinc.com and meatgistics.com to find Everything But The Meat! Thanks for watching Meatgistics. I’m Jonathon with WaltonTV and I’ll see you guys next time!
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Chicken Brats in the smoker
I am going to halve my seasoning packet and carrot fiber binder. Can I assume the rough amount of water is 1lb.? obviously depending on amount of moisture in the chicken.
Question 2 is after linking should I cut links apart or is there an easy way to keep the collagen casing twisted so I don’t lose contents? I am new and this is my first run on brat making so going small and also going 50/50 on boneless skinless breasts and thighs with skin.
@SierraPete Going 50/50 is going to give your a really nice tasting chicken brat! If you are adding carrot fiber add at least a pound of water, the carrot fiber is going to suck that right up and keep it bound in the meat nicely, you could probably get away with 1.5 lb without any issue.
For collagen casings they are always going to come undone a little after cutting them. If you are smoking them I would cut them after smoking, if you are going to freeze them for future use I would put them in the freezer for about an hour and then cut them. You should be freezing a fresh product before vac packing them anyway to prevent the vacuum from crushing the brats.
The only other thing I would recommend you think about adding is cold phosphate, I just did a batch of turkey brats with that added and it really added some juiciness to it and it is inexpensive. You can check out that video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oforLcfcuJ4. It is turkey but the same rules would apply with the cold phosphate.
@Jonathon So I made a half batch of tomato basil brats with the 50/50 thigh/breast mix. I went with 1.5lbs of cold water. I think I could of been able to get away with more. I didn’t have any cold phosphate on hand like you recommended, but plan to try some with the next batch.
I stuffed brat casings with my new stuffer thanks to Walton’s 12 days of Christmas sale. It made the process really easy. I cleaned out the little bit of meat left in the stuffer and saved it. I made three small patties, coated two with bread crumbs and fried them up with breakfast this morning. The are AWESOME…and they passed the taste test with my wife and picky son. They weren’t greasy at all and were really moist! My only regret was not making a whole batch as I sit here listening to my wife pick who she is going to give these to as presents. My family always expects my cold smoked cheese and peanuts so these will be a nice healthy addition!
@SierraPete It’s your initial batch, you can tell your wife it is customary to not give away any of that as a gift! If you do add the cold phosphate on your next batch I’d definitely add another 1/2 lb of water. I also always save that little bit in the bottom for making a patty or two out of, I even do it with cured products like snack sticks, nothing goes to waste!
What seasoning did you use? I am always looking for more seasonings that work well with chicken brats!
@Jonathon I used the Excalibur tomato basil brat seasoning. I figured this would pair well with pasta dishes etc. during winter. I think the supreme pizza will be next on my list to try. I would love if Excalibur made a Muffaletta Pizza brat seasoning. I think it would be a big hit for sure.
@SierraPete I love Muffaletta seasoning/taste, I used to have some Muffaletta mix that I would put on sandwiches and I LOVED it!
Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…
I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…
On the other hand, my dad smoked for years, mostly in a converted fridge with an electric hotplate in the bottom… he never used a water pan and never had an issue with dry meat…
As for the type of wood to use, that’s just a trial and error, personal preference thing… I happen to like steaks cooked with oak… that may be too strong a flavor for your taste (my GF hates it)… Recently I have been using a lot of maple for NC bbq, chicken and even cheese… I like the maple for the meats, but next batch of cheese will go back to the hickory / cherry mix that I was using…
I followed the instructions on the video. It may have something to do with the sausage not getting as firm as it should. I used the cotto salami on duck breast with pork fat. It sure tastes good. But it’s a little soft.
I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.
I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.
Thank You Sir: