How To Cook Brats Indoors
If you love grilled brats but don’t have an outdoor grill or yours is currently buried in three feet of snow, don’t be discouraged. There are many ways you can cook brats at home and get amazing results.
How do you cook brats indoors? You can cook brats indoors on the stovetop using a cast iron pan. You can also bake or broil brats in the oven. Broiling brats is the closest you can get to grilled brats. Other ways of cooking brats indoors include using the air fryer and the slow cooker.
In this article, you will get step-by-step instructions on how to cook brats indoors. You will also learn some tips on how to make these German sausages taste even better.
Can You Cook Brats Indoors?
Brats, the short name for bratwurst, the German pork, veal, or beef sausages, are delicious when grilled outdoors. But what if it is not grilling season and it’s too gloomy outside for cooking and enjoying them in the fresh air?
Or what if you don’t have an outdoor grill at all?
Should you keep the idea of cooking brats away? While grilled brats taste heavenly, cooking them indoors can be just as delicious too!
Luckily, grilling is not the only way to cook brats. You can also bake and roast them. Steamed (boiled) brats are also an option.
The latter, however, is not the best way to cook brats, as they don’t turn out as flavorful as brats with a slight char on them.
So, yes, you can cook brats indoors. And there are multiple ways of doing it.
There is one thing you should keep in mind. As with any meat, no matter which method you choose for cooking brats indoors, you should always make sure they are cooked all the way through.
Raw brats can take a while to properly cook. Don’t serve the sausages until their internal temperature has reached 165°F.
And if, after all of this, you still decide that you can’t get your desired result using these methods, you may want to consider investing in an indoor grill/griddle to get your grilling fix.
How to Cook Brats Indoors
There are a few ways to cook brats indoors. You can achieve the best results by cooking brats on the stovetop, using a frying pan or a cast iron skillet, and broiling or baking them in the oven.
1. Cooking on the Stovetop
Some people consider cooking brats on the stovetop even better than grilling them. But this can only be accomplished if you know how to properly cook brats in a pan or cast iron skillet, the latter being the better option.
Cast iron skillets conduct heat better and are irreplaceable in getting a good sear on the meat. With this being said, a different type of pan that comes with a lid will work too.
Follow these steps for the most delicious bratwursts cooked indoors:
- Preheat the cast iron pan on medium to high heat, a maximum of 350°F.
- Add a piece of butter into the heated pan. You can also use oil. The butter, however, makes the brats taste extra delicious.
- Put the brats in the pan. Sear them from both sides. This will take around 4 minutes per side. If you don’t preheat the pan over 350°F, the sausages won’t burst.
- Once you have achieved a nice color on both sides, lower the heat.
- Cover the pan with the lid and let the sausages cook through. This will also make the brats very juicy. This step is crucial, as it ensures that the brats end up perfectly cooked. Cook the brats covered for 10 minutes.
- You can also add water before covering the brats. A half a cup of water for four sausages is enough. You don’t need to add a lot of water, as you will be cooking the brats covered for only around 10 minutes.
Along with being one of the best ways to get a good sear/char on your brats, using the stovetop is also one of the quickest and simplest ways to cook your brats indoors, as long as you follow the necessary steps to avoid bursting.
2. Baking in the Oven
Baking food in the oven is always easier, and brats are no exception. This is also the simplest way of cooking brats indoors.
Here’s how to bake your brats in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line the baking tray with a layer of aluminum foil. Not only will this keep your pan clean, but it will also prevent the sausages from sticking.
- Put the brats on the baking tray and transfer them into the well-heated oven.
- Bake the brats for 20 minutes on each side.
- Take the brats out and check if they are cooked. If you don’t have a thermometer to check the doneness of the brats, touch them. If they feel firm and bouncy, they are done.
Note that baking your brats is the hardest way to achieve a good char or sear on the outside of the sausages, which is arguably the tastiest part.
2. Broiling in the Oven
If you want to get as close as possible to the taste of grilled brats, then you should certainly try to broil them in the oven.
To broil brats in the oven, follow these steps:
- Move the rack close to the broiler. Depending on where the broiler is located, you may need to put the rack closer to the top or to the bottom of the oven.
- Preheat the broiler. It may take up to 10 minutes for the broiler to get properly heated.
- Put the brats on the broiler pan, making sure that they are not touching each other. The broiler pan allows the air to circulate around the sausages. Additionally, the tray that fits under the broiler racks catches all the juices.
- Broil the brats for around 20 minutes. While the sausages cook, flip them every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
- Take the brats out after 20 minutes, or when they are ready. Use a thermometer or check with your fingers to see if the sausages are done. The marks from the rack and the nicely browned skin will remind you of brats cooked on an outdoor grill.
As the broiler in the oven provides direct heat on the brats, they get nicely charred, as if on the grill.
3. Frying in the Air Fryer
Brats cooked in the air fryer are easy and quick.
All you need to do is to cook the sausages in the air fryer for around 15 minutes at 350°F. Don’t forget to flip the sausages to get them evenly brown.
This method is a great healthy alternative to pan-seared brats cooked in butter and oil.
4. Cooking in the Slow Cooker
If you have time – a lot of time – you can try cooking brats in a slow cooker. Being different from a pressure cooker, the slow cooker will take you around 6 hours.
However, it can be left mostly unattended, and you will be able to achieve a lot while your dinner is cooking. This is especially helpful if you need time to prepare side dishes or get the house in order for guests.
To cook brats in the slow cooker, add a layer of sliced onions into it. Put the brats on the bed of onions and add more sliced onions and garlic on top. Season to taste and add a pat of butter.
Add beer so that it covers the brats and let the sausages cook for 6 hours.
Tips for Perfectly Cooked Brats
Now that you know the best ways to cook your brats, here are a few tips to take them to the next level.
1. Cooking the Brats in Beer
If you want to take your indoor-cooked brats to restaurant standards, add beer to them instead of water when cooking them on the stovetop.
When it’s time to add water and cook the brats covered, pour your favorite dark beer instead. It may take a while until the beer comes to a boil. However, the wait is certainly worth it.
Cook the brats in boiling beer covered if you don’t want to reduce it. But if you want a delicious beer-based sauce to go with the sausages, leave the pan open.
You can also add onions at the same time as adding the beer. They will soften and get infused with the beer and become a delicious topper for the sausages.
2. Poke to Prevent Bursting
A common problem when pan-searing the brats is that they tend to burst. There are two ways to prevent this from happening.
First, you shouldn’t heat the pan over 350°F. The temperature is easy to track if you have a thermometer.
Second, if you don’t have a thermometer but want to make sure that the sausages stay intact, poke them with a toothpick or fork.
3. Let the Brats Rest
Once the brats are cooked, don’t transfer them from the pan right into the serving plate. Let them rest.
Allowing the brats to rest for 5 minutes before you serve them will make the sausages taste better, as they will lose less juice when you cut them.
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Baking per your instructions worked perfect for me, and it’s the first time I’ve cooked brats in about 2 decades. I look forward to trying your Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Mayo recipe. It’s refreshing to come upon a recipe site where I’m not bombarded with ads and popup videos and where the author sticks to the point.