Learn how to perfectly grill brats two different ways! All the tips and tricks you need for juicy and flavorful grilled bratwurst every time. From backyard BBQs and summer cookouts to tailgating parties and Oktoberfest celebrations, these grilled brats are sure to be a crowd pleaser! Easy to make in just 20 minutes so they are also a great weeknight dinner idea too!
- 6 fresh, uncooked bratwursts
- To serve: crusty buns and desired toppings
- For simmer and grill method: flavorful liquid like beer or broth and seasonings like sliced onions, sauerkraut, herbs, etc.
Two Zone Grill Method (Reverse Sear Method)
This method allows the brats to first cook slowly and gently over indirect heat to prevent the casing from bursting. Then near the end they are grilled over direct heat to brown and crisp up the exterior. The result is juicy and flavorful brats!
- Bring bratwurst to room temperature: Let the bratwurst come to room temperature first to ensure even cooking. Remove from the fridge about 1 hour before grilling.
- Prepare grill: Prepare your grill for two zone grilling (preheating to medium 350-375F) and oil the grates. If using a gas BBQ, light the burners only on one side of the grill (heat one side to medium and leave the other side off). If using charcoal, light charcoal and spread it evenly across the bottom of one side of the grill.
- Cook brats over indirect heat: Begin by cooking the bratwursts on the indirect side of the grill until the internal temperature reaches 145-150F (about 15 minutes). Turn occasionally to evenly cook the bratwurst.
- Grill brats over direct heat: Transfer the bratwursts to the direct heat side of the grill and grill for about 5 minutes, turning often until the exterior is browned and crisp and internal temperature hits at least 160F.
Simmer (Poach) and Grill Method
For this method, the bratwursts are slowly simmered first until almost cooked through and then finished off directly on the grill to brown and crisp up the outside.
- Prepare grill: Preheat one side of your grill to medium heat and the other to low and oil the grates.
- Poach the brats: Place the bratwursts in a small roasting pan, cast iron skillet, Dutch oven or disposable aluminum pan along with a flavorful liquid (enough to cover them). Think something flavorful like beer or broth and seasonings like sliced onions, sauerkraut, herbs, etc. Place over the low heat side of the grill, close lid and simmer until internal temperature is around 150F (about 10-15 minutes). You could also poach them on the stovetop but I feel that if you are already using the grill, you might as well just do it all there.
- Grill brats: Using tongs, remove the brats and place directly on the medium heat side of the grill, turning frequently until well browned and the internal temperature hits at least 160F (about 5 minutes).
- Use a meat thermometer! The best way to ensure that the grilled brats are fully cooked is to use an instant-read digital meat thermometer. My favorite is the Thermapen. The internal temperature should reach at least 160F.
- Don’t poke holes: Never poke holes in a bratwurst or the delicious juices will leak out and leave the brats dry. Tip: When checking the temperature, instead of poking the thermometer into the center of the bratwurst and piercing the casing, poke it through the end where the casing is slightly open. This way you won’t let all the delicious juices run out!
- Topping Ideas: I like to serve bratwurst with crusty buns (like German brötchen) and a variety of toppings. Look for crusty buns that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you can’t find any, baguette also works cut into bun size pieces. Some delicious topping ideas include: mustard (German mustard, whole grain mustard, Dijon, etc.), sauerkraut, beer braised onions, caramelized onions, grilled peppers, spicy pickled peppers, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.
Keywords: grilled bratwurst, brats on the grill, how to grill brats, grilling brats