Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Tips and tecniques on dryng drying, curing etc.

Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:16 am

First off I would like to thank everyone who helped my on my successful foray into making fermented and smoked summer sausage...it turned out great and greatly increased my confidence in what I am doing.

I am now interested in making a product with similar characteristics to the "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst one can buy at the supermarket.

I have been doing quite a bit of searching and understand that I am trying to create an un-fermented but cured semi-dry smoked sausage.

My main question is what smoking temperature would make the sausages ready to eat while still retaining the characteristics of a "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst one can buy at the supermarket?

Or should I be doing a cold smoke and then using a different technique such as a light boil or poach to make the sausages ready to eat?

It almost seems like there is a fine line I am missing here.

Best Regards, Hedghog
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby NCPaul » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:50 am

To make it ready to eat it needs to be cooked. Both of the routes you gave would work as long as the brats reach 155 F. Your choice is mostly dependent on your equipment. If you hot smoke the sausages, you will want to gradually move the smoker temperature from 140 F to about 170 F and hold there until the brats reach their temperature or until you lose patience and decide to finish them in a low oven or by poaching them (better) followed by a rapid cool off. The smoker would need to be good at these temps. Cold smoking below 70 F (I like lower) followed by poaching at 160-165 F for about 15 minutes and a rapid cool off can work just as well. I think the smoke flavor is a bit nicer by this route. Split your batch, try both ways, and let us know what you think. :D
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby DanMcG » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:56 pm

I do the same as Paul for most of my RTE sausage. Smoke them as long as you want, then into a bath of 170°f water till they reach 155°
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby wheels » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:24 pm

pjviitas wrote:It almost seems like there is a fine line I am missing here.


Just think of it as a fresh sausage that's been ready cooked. The cure is only there to protect it during smoking.

Phil
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:51 am

Thanks alot guys...I will let you know how they turn out.
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:53 pm

OK so I will post my results in a few posts starting with my recipe and procedure.

First the ingredients:
13ft "35-" Hog Casing "shorts"
10lbs 60/40 Venison/Pork Grind
3.5tsp Ground White Pepper
3.5tsp Coarse Salt
1.75tsp Crushed Caraway Seeds
1.75tsp Dried Marjoram
1tsp Ground Allspice
2.5tsp Praque Powder #1

Then the process:
1. Prep the casings
2. Premix the ingredients except the meat
3. Add 1/4 of the premix to 2.5lbs of meat and repeat 4 times to get a good mix
4. Load sausage stuffer and stuff the casings
5. Twist into 4-5" lengths and leave covered in refrigerator overnight
6. Fire up the charcoal smoker and get it stabilised at 110deg
7. Hang the sausages and do an 8hr smoke increasing the heat in 5deg increments to 150deg
8. Heat up a large pot of water and get it stabilised at around 170deg
9. Add the sausages and increase heat until water stabilises again at around 170deg
10. Poach until internal temperature reaches 165deg
11. Let the sausages bloom at room temperature and then store covered in refrigerator overnight
12. Do some quality control leaving out all sausages less than 4"
13. Vacuum seal 4 sausages per pack and store in freezer

Yield as follows:
-Two hand formed sausages left over from stuffer which went into the frying pan for supper
-8 sausages less than 4" which got boiled for supper
-11 vacuum sealed packs of 4 which went into the freezer

On the next reply I will talk about the problems I encountered
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:20 pm

Problems I encountered during the process as follows:
-It appears that "35- Short Casings" does not necessarily mean that they are 32-35mm. Mine ended up being around 1" in diameter. When using "shorts" I recommend doubling the amount of casing you prep to avoid headaches once you start stuffing.
-I found out the hard way on my first length of casing exactly how delicate they are. I learned one needs to take your time when using hog casings.
-I didn't have enough hooks when hanging the links so they ended up alot more bunched up than I intended. This resulted in alot of sausages that where partially obstructed from the smoke giving them a poor appearance. I have ordered more hooks for next time. I also found out that a 10lb batch is pretty much the maximum number of brats I can smoke at one time.
-I poached them in 170deg water for 20min and still could not get the internal temperature to 165deg. The water was starting to show some oil on the surface and a few of the brats where starting to form small fat pockets so I removed them from the heat. Not sure if this wil be a problem.
-Upon blooming, the brats retained a nice puffiness and didn't actually look that bad but an even coloration would have been alot nicer.

The brats tasted just as good as they looked inside. Exceptionally lean with a great smoke flavor and aroma offset with a wonderful wild game tang.

It seems like the only question mark left hanging is the poaching...any ideas on why I couldn't get the internal temperature to 165deg?

Next I will post some photos.
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby NCPaul » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:32 pm

Both Dan and I suggested an internal temperature of 155 F which I'm sure you reached. Working with the casings will become easier with experience.
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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:46 pm

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Re: Techniques for Making "Ready to Eat" Bratwurst

Postby pjviitas » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:10 pm

NCPaul wrote:Both Dan and I suggested an internal temperature of 155 F which I'm sure you reached. Working with the casings will become easier with experience.


I'm not too sure if the brats ever got to 155...notable temperature events as follows:
-While smoking the brats there was at least one occasion where the temp went above 150 to around 152 for about half an hour.
-When transporting the brats home they had a chance to cool down to around 50deg
-The highest internal temp I remember while poaching was maybe 140deg...they definitely did not go into the red zone of my thermometer.

I am thinking that I made a mistake in letting the brats cool down between the smoking and the poaching. They should probably go strait from the smoker into 160-180deg water to minimise poaching times.

In any event, I will just make sure that this batch of brats are fully cooked before eating.

Thanks to everyone for their help.

Best Regards, Hedghog
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