Fresh Sausage 106 - Basic Bratwurst Processing
Fresh Sausage 106 - Basic Bratwurst Processing
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Is Bratwurst?
Fresh sausage can be made from pork, beef, wild game, poultry, or really any type of meat. One of the best things about making fresh sausage is how easy it is to make, of all the sausage you can make at home fresh sausage is the easiest and requires the least amount of equipment. Another great thing about Bratwurst is the wide variety of flavors of seasoning that are available. This article will focus on how to make Bratwurst, but this same process will also cover Italian Sausage and Mexican Chorizo.
The first thing we need to do is break this down into pieces that our grinder can handle, we are using the Weston #12 Butcher series grinder so we need to make the pieces small enough to fit down the throat, the larger your grinder is, the larger pieces it can handle. Grind the meat through a 3/16" plate twice, the second grind will be slower than the first one. If you want to grind once, then mix in your seasoning and grind again that is fine as well. We prefer to do the mixing and the grinding separately though. If you are making this out of venison and you want to add some pork or even beef fat grinding it in at this point is a good idea.
Since this is a fresh product we are not concerned with protein extraction which means you can mix this with your hands if you choose, a meat mixer might still make it easier for you. To make stuffing easier you can add 1 pint of cold water per 25 lb batch (or if you are making chorizo add 1/2 pint of cold water and 1/2 pint of 50 grain white distilled vinegar), your seasoning, and hi-temp cheese (if you are using any) We are using 6 oz of Excalibur’s Apple bratwurst seasoning and 1 lb of cheddar cheese since we are making a 10 lb batch. Mix until all the seasoning and additives have been evenly dispersed into the meat.
We are using a 30mm collagen casing for this as it works well for both Italian Sausage and Bratwursts and the 22mm stuffing tube that comes with Walton’s stuffers. If you want to use a 32mm collagen or hog casing that is perfectly fine, just make sure that if you are using hog casings that they have been rinsed and soaked. For beginners, I recommend using collagen as it is one less thing to worry about. Next, slide your casings onto the stuffing tube.
Now, load your stuffing canister making sure to pack it down between loads to eliminate air pockets. Once your stuffer is loaded begin cranking it down using the bottom gear. Try to keep an even and steady pressure throughout. While one person cranks, another person should be down at the tube end holding the casing lightly enough that the casing flows off of the tube with the meat but with enough force that the casing is filled. Or it can be done by yourself, it might help you to clamp your stuffer down to the table if you are doing it without anyone else. Collagen casings will do better if they are just slightly under-stuffed.
To twist these we are going to pinch down about 5" and twist in one direction, then pinch down 5" from that and twist in the same direction, or you can skip a link and twist in the opposite direction.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Grill at medium heat until the internal temperature is 160°. If you try to cook them at too high of a heat you run the risk of your casing splitting.
If you want to vacuum pack your bratwurst make sure you put it in the freezer for a while first. If you try to vacuum pack fresh sausage without it being frozen the pressure from the chamber will crush your sausage and it will lose the classic shape.
Making Homemade Bratwurst is a great way to get into making your own sausage. It requires very few pieces of equipment, has a wide variety of flavors available and you don’t need a complicated cooking schedule if you can grill a Hot Dog you can grill a Bratwurst!
- You could make this with either just a grinder or just a stuffer. If you buy already ground meat you can mix in seasoning by hand and then stuff it into casings, if you are starting with whole muscle you can break it down with a grinder and then stuff it with the grinder as well.
- Always make sure the grinder plates and knives are well oiled and in good condition.
This same will also cover Italian Sausage and Mexican Chorizo, just add some 50-grain white vinegar (if desired) with Mexican Chorizo.
Watch WaltonsTV: Basic Bratwurst Processing
If I made some fresh sausage, grilled it to 160, let it cool, vacuum packed it and stored at under 40 degrees, how long do you think it would last? Is this a risky venture? I have done a lot of smoked sausage that I vacuum packed, froze and when ready to consume, poached in water. Am curious how long it will last if not frozen. Freezer space is a premium and since I discovered this site, which has caused my output to outrun my freezer space.
Screamin under 40 degrees isn’t really specific enough to answer…frozen is under 40 degrees and you could keep it there for years if properly packed! I am assuming though that you mean in a fridge? The answer on that is going to be 3-4 days sadly. I know it seems like they should be longer but they wont do much longer than that! My suggestion is to get them in the freezer quickly after vac packing! Then just thaw them out a package at a time.
Jonathon so I’m getting ready to do brats for my first time, I planned on doing venison and pork butt 50/50. My question is, should I grind the venison first and then add my pieces of pork butt to the venison and grind again, or can I grind it all together for the first and second grind? I am also adding cheese, so should I mix the seasoning and cheese at the end and mix by hand? I have no mixer. Thanks!
kroening07 you will want to put your seasoning in at the start of the mixing regardless of hand or machine as it needs to be well incorporated it also can be added after the first grind mix and do your second grind for a good distribution the cheese can be added towards the end of the mixing
kroening07 Sorry I missed this yesterday, I logged in for a while and answered a few things including the one marked urgent. Don’t look at Urgent only as “Hey I might ruin a batch if I don’t get an answer soon” This would have been perfectly fine under the Urgent category in my opinion. If it’s something you are doing soon then it is urgent that you get a response.
To answer your question I would go ahead and mix it all together since this is a fresh sausage and you don’t care about protein extraction so why not make it easiest on yourself? Also, what craigrice says is spot on, seasoning goes in before you start mixing, especially on a fresh brat where too much mixing can mess up the texture you are wanting.
you mention on fresh sausage to stop before you get the fat extraction of it will create problems down the road. what problems?
Bear With a fresh sausage like brat or Italian you are looking for a certain type if texture, it should have thicker particle size and bite. Getting protein extraction will effect that and it will have more of a snack stick like texture.
Do you suggest using cold phosphates in fresh sausage like brats? I am getting ready to make some antelope pork brats and want them to be juicey. So if the cold phosphates will help, about how much for 25 lbs. of meat.
mdseaside You can, I’d say just use carrot fiber instead though. The reason being that when you add cold phosphate you are increasing the pH of the meat and therefore shortening its shelf life. Now, in a fresh brat thats not the biggest deal since it will be handled differently than cured meat but still, why risk it?
I would like to pre-smoke my homemade bratwurst before freezing or final smoking or grilling. Any thoughts on that?
Interesting. Not sure why you would but looking forward to some thoughts on this.
PapaSop Well, I just thought I might want to see if that could add some extra, how can I say it, more in depth flavor or texture perhaps. I suppose more like process sausage, but yet still a brat. Not sure about that description. I don’t know if it would do anything for storage longevity too or not. I am looking forward to some real professional help, thought about it, tried it, done it, does or doesn’t work type stuff. Or, maybe I will have to be the mad scientist. I am going to try some “Blue Ribbon”, although I was really curious about the “Rubin”, but my wife liked the tried & tested Blue Ribbon Idea better.
Be the mad scientist. How else do we learn and grow!
Cold smoke a bit? Never tried it. A few years back I indirect smoked some brats on the Weber charcoal. Changed the whole flavor and texture profile to more of a smoked sausage. Awesome.
The Reuben is good but needs something more. The Blue Ribbon is very good as well. The Philly seasoning is now the fav! Very good. Just got some cheese for next batch.
PapaSop That is sorta what I had in mind, but wanted to hear more about it. Yes, Indeedy, we all have this little issue as mad scientists! Well, it sounds like Margaret made the right decision then on the Blue Ribbon, but we will have to try the Philly too sometime. Thanks a billion & have a wonderful holiday season & a much better new year.
calldoctoday No problem doing this as long as you are mindful of keeping the meat out of the danger zone 40-140°
Jonathon Thank you. OK, so as I understand it then, you need to either keep em hot or keep em cold, no in the middle. If you keep em in the middle, they are coming back out of you! Thanks a billion.
calldoctoday lol thats a good way to look at it!