How To Know When Brats Are Done (7 Alternative Ways)

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Since you are here, you absolutely love bratwurst, the very famous German-style sausages, I guess. 

Being prepared from coarser meat grinds than other sausages, they are pretty popular throughout the world and are sold both pre cooked and raw.

But how to know when brats are done if you buy them raw? How can you cook them with sheer perfection maintaining a superb succulent texture?

On that note, follow the guide below that discusses how to check the doneness of brats with and without a meat thermometer.

How To Know When Brats Are Done Using A Thermometer 

If you are using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of your bratwurst should be at least 160°F/71°C to be perfectly cooked.

You should grill the meat at medium-low heat on your grill. Besides, set the temperature to 300-350°F to preheat the grill properly.

Now, cook them for around 15-20 minutes and insert the meat probe into one end of the sausage, preferably in the thickest portion of the meat. Wait for a couple of seconds to get an exact heat reading.

When the instant-read thermometer shows an internal temperature reading of 160°F, your brats are fully cooked.

However, brats are better known for their signature natural casing and you shouldn’t poke it too often.

Also, try using a thermometer that has a slender probe so as not to create too big holes in the bratwurst casing. Otherwise, most of the juices will run out, leaving dried-out meat.

You can take them out of the heat at 160°F or wait a bit longer until the heat count reaches 165°F. But don’t over-grill them if you don’t want to flare up the sausages. 

Additionally, the brats will never be utterly pink inside when fully cooked. The meat must appear white and firm with crispy casings.

Related: How To Tell When Ribs Are Done Without A Thermometer

What Temp Are Brats Done – Brats Temperature and Time Chart

Cooking MethodDoneness Temp (Celsius)Cooking Time (Avg.)
Oven71°C20-25 minutes
Grill71°C15-20 minutes
Stove71°C15-20 minutes
Air Fryer66-71°C12-15 minutes
Cast Iron71°C15-20 minutes
Crock Pot71°C2-4 hours
Pan68°C and above20-25 minutes

How To Know When Bratwurst Is Done Without Thermometer

Now let’s look forward to the alternative ways of determining the doneness of brats without a meat thermometer.  The following tests are pretty popular to check if bratwursts are cooked correctly when you can’t access a thermometer. 

Poke Test 

Well, you don’t have a thermometer,  I understand. But you all have a fork or knife at hand, right?

Then use them for the poke test. Gently poke the brats with a fork once you think they are done. If the sausages are truly well-cooked, the meat should be tender along with a slightly pink undertone.

Finger Test

While checking brats, your fingers could be magical. Press one of your fingertips against one of the sausages. The meat should be firm and bouncy at the same time.

If the meat doesn’t feel bouncy, it is yet to be cooked for turning into well-done brats.

Most professional chefs follow a standard method to serve well-finished brats. They use the tips of the thumb and the little finger to check out the seasoning.

If it feels like pressing your thumb against your little fingertip, the bratwurst is perfectly well-cooked. 

If it feels like you are touching the index finger with your thumb, it indicates rare cooked meats. And the feeling of touching the middle fingertip with the thumb means medium-cooked meat.

This is a bit of a critical way of checking the sausages, especially for the first timer. But trust me, you will get better with time.

Related: How To Tell If Chicken Is Undercooked (Cooked Vs Uncooked Chicken)

Cake Tester Test

As a food geek, you must love baking as well. Then you should have a cake tester at home. 

So, use that long and thin rod to prepare a perfect bratwurst. Insert it into the sausage and pull it out after a few seconds. If the metal of the tester feels hot against your wrist, you should take the sausages out of the heat.

Time Test 

As you know, there are numerous methods to cook bratwurst and all of them work. But no matter which way you follow, you should take it low and slow. Usually, brats need a minimum of 15-20 minutes to be cooked perfectly at a low flame.

Sometimes, it takes more than that. But you shouldn’t allow them to be heated for over 30 minutes unless you are using a slow cooker..

Juiciness Test

Here comes the most important part, the juiciness test. Please remember that these sausages should be filled with juices when well-cooked.

Pierce the sausages with a knife/fork. If you see the juices are clear and have no pink/red tint, they are ready to be eaten.

But please don’t create big holes. It will make the meat dry out.

Related: How To Tell If Turkey Burger Is Done

Skin Test

If you are striving for well-finished flavorful brats, check their skin color and texture. The outer part of the sausages should be golden brown. And of course, the casing should be crispy.

Bounce Test

As I said above, the brat casings should be a little bit bouncy.  But how would you determine that?

Use a tong to pick a brat and wiggle it against the cooking grate. A finished bratwurst will definitely have a little spring against the grill grate.

These are the most commonly used alternatives to check well-cooked/ undercooked brats even without a thermometer. 

Related: How To Tell If Chicken Is Cooked Without Thermometer?

How To Tell When Brats Are Done On Stove

When the bratwursts reach the temperature of 71°C or 160°F on a pan over the stove, you can say that they are done. It will take around 15-20 minutes. 

How To Know When Brats Are Done In Oven

In a 375°F preheated oven, cook the brats for 20-25 minutes and you will reach the desired 160° F temperature. 

How To Know When Brats Are Done Grilling

You should stop grilling your brats when they are golden brown on the outside and no longer pink inside. And the internal temperature must be around 160°-165° F.

Point to be noted, there should be grill marks on each side of the sausages when they are fully cooked.

What Do Brats Look Like When They Are Done?

Fully cooked bratwurst sausages are brown on the outside with crispy casings. And they have a little bit of a charred appearance with striking grill marks on the exterior. 

What Temp Are Brats Done On Smoker?

The internal temperature of the famous bratwurst sausages should be 160°F/71°C on a smoker to be correctly cooked. 

Do You Poke Holes In Brats When Boiling?

A big no. Whether you are grilling or boiling the brats, poking holes will make them dry out, leaking the juices.

Are Brats Done When They Split?

Not really. If your brats split, maybe you are cooking them at a really high temperature. So, splitting is in no way an indicator of fully cooked bratwursts.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Brats?

Generally speaking, if you grill the brats at 300-350°F, it should take around 20-25 minutes to be fully cooked. Though it depends on the thickness of your meat as well.

Is It Ok If Brats Are Pink In The Middle?

Based on the type of meat you use, brats could be slightly pink in the middle even after being fully cooked. But if you notice a striking pinkish-red hue inside, they are yet to be cooked.

What Does Undercooked Bratwurst Look Like?

Well, undercooked brats are pink, pale, and rough in the center. They don’t have those searing marks in the casings. Instead, you will notice a pinkish-red hue inside along with a rubbery texture.

What Color Is A Cooked Brat?

A perfectly cooked bratwurst must be golden brown on the outside. Besides, the inside will have a grayish-white hue with no pronounced pink spot.

Are Brats Fully Cooked After Boiling?

Umm, the answer is both yes and no. Brats are surely cooked when they are fully boiled and start to float.

But still, there is plenty of moisture left. So, grilling boiled brats enhances their tastes by improving their textures.

What Happens If I Eat Undercooked Brats?

Never ever eat undercooked brats. Apart from upsetting your stomach, undercooked bratwurst sausages could result in serious health hazards like fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, etc. 

Do Brats Float When They Are Done?

Yes, brats float when they are done and ready to serve. But while floating, brats turned white and It took almost 3-5 minutes to float with the room temperature.  

Is It Okay To Eat Brats That Are A Little Pink?

It is entirely okay to eat a few pink brats. You see, some meats look pink when you cook them; they remain slightly pink. 

The health experts recommend eating meat after cooking at a temperature of 145°f.  So, it will not be harmful to health if you maintain the cooking temperature and still, the meat remains light pink.

Is It Okay To Boil Brats Before Grilling?

I do not prefer to boil brats before grilling. Some are accepting the phenomenon of boiling with water before grilling or cooking. 

But I stay opposite of it. I think boiling may change the meat flavor from the brats. So In my perspective, it is not okay to boil the brats before grilling. 

Will Undercooked Brats Make You Sick?

Yes. There is a possibility of getting sick by eating undercooked brats. As far as I researched about it, I found it depends on what kind of brats you are eating. 

As you know, brats are made from different types of meats, so there can be bacteria on the flesh. Also, the fat that is available in the meat can be harmful to the health if it is not well cooked.   


As a bratwurst lover, I know that the struggle is real when you want brats to come out plump and juicy. Overgrilling will make them tough to chew and undercooking will result in food poisoning. 

So, you must learn how to know when brats are done when you buy fresh brats and throw them on the grill.

I have described all the possible methods of checking the doneness of your brats above both with/without a meat probe.

Hopefully, you find this guide helpful to master the art of cooking fresh brats that are full of flavors.

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