Best way to make Bratwurst…fresh or smoked?


  • I’ve made plenty of summer sausage and pepper sticks with my deer meat the last few years but this time I want to make a batch of philly cheese brats with the seasoning I just ordered for the first time. I’ll be using 50/50 deer and pork but my question is it best to grind it up and stuff them and freeze them as fresh sausages that need grilled or put cure in them, let them sit in the fridge overnight and then smoke them on my smoker before I cut them up and vacuum seal them?

  • Team Orange

    I would give them a light cold smoke and then package and freeze. And then treat them as fresh sausage. Best to freeze the links first on a sheet pan then vaccum seal. that way they don’t get mashed when packaging them.


  • The Philly cheese mix is one of our favs, but we have not smoked any of these. We’ve smoked others using just the seasoning provided, no additional cure, and they turned out great. We don’t finish them like you would a snack stick or summer sausage so they still need to be cooked.

    Freezing before packaging is for cosmetics only. They’ll plump up round again with cooking. It is a good idea though if you have sealing issues because of drawn out moisture.

    When fresh, we call them brats. When smoked we call them Polish sausage. That may not be completely accurate but works for us.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Veteran

    Aaron Haddick I like fresh brats the best.

  • Masterbuilt

    Hi I cook them in a smoker for about two hours when the brats are fresh. What I don’t use I freeze on a tray and then vacuum seal. Just heat back up however you normally heat up frozen foods. They taste like that just came off the smoker. Yum

  • Regular Contributors

    Aaron Haddick said in Best way to make Bratwurst…fresh or smoked?:

    I’ve made plenty of summer sausage and pepper sticks with my deer meat the last few years but this time I want to make a batch of philly cheese brats with the seasoning I just ordered for the first time. I’ll be using 50/50 deer and pork but my question is it best to grind it up and stuff them and freeze them as fresh sausages that need grilled or put cure in them, let them sit in the fridge overnight and then smoke them on my smoker before I cut them up and vacuum seal them?

    I am not sure there is a “right” answer to this question. Probably a lot of it comes down to personal preference.

    Why not make a split batch and see which you prefer and let us know?

  • Sous Vide Dry Cured Sausage Traeger Team Blue

    I agree with processhead. Really depends on the time of the week. Sometimes I need fresh sometimes I want smoked

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