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How to Tell When Grilled Brats Are Done

Grilling brats is a summer tradition in many parts of the United States. The key to making sure they’re cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of a grilled brat should be 160 degrees F.

Follow along to learn more about how to tell when grilled brats are done.

Brats on the grill with flames.

Best ways to tell when grilled brats are done

No one likes dry, overcooked brats. On the other hand, you don’t want to eat undercooked meat either. Here are some tips on how to tell when grilled brats are done.

Check the internal temperature

To check the internal temperature of grilled brats, you should use an instant-read thermometer. Insert the probe at a 30° angle near the end of the sausage and aim for the middle of the sausage.

This will give you a more accurate reading of the entire temperature of the sausage. Once the brats have reached an internal temperature of 160°F, they are well done and can be removed from the grill.

Observe the color of the brats

Keep an eye on the color. The first hint that your brats are done is when they turn a reddish-brown color. Keep turning the brats so that each side is evenly cooked.

Another way to tell if your brats are done is to cut one of them crosswise and check the color of the meat. If it is pinkish-red, it needs to be cooked further. If it is white, gray, or golden brown, it is done.

You can also pierce the brats with a fork or a knife. If the juices run out clear, they are ready. If the juices run pink or bloody, they are not done.

The outside should show a golden-brown color when the brats are done.

Finally, remember that brats can have some pinkish tint to them no matter how long you grill them.

How to tell when grilled sausage is done is very similar to brats, find out more in my post!

The firmness of the brat

You can also use the “wiggle method” to determine if your bratwursts are done grilling. Pick up one end of the brat with tongs and wiggle it up and down against the cooking grate. When the sausage is cooked, it should be firm, with just a slight bounce.

One more way is to press on the brat with tongs and see if it is firm. If it is still squishy, it needs to cook more.

What temperature should I cook brats to?

The USDA recommends cooking brats to an internal temperature of 160°F. To ensure that your brats are cooked properly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

For grilling, the best method is to cook your brats over low to medium heat for about 20 minutes, turning them periodically to get a nice caramelization.

The finished temperature should be between 160°F and 180°F. To ensure that your grill doesn’t get too hot, start with a lower temperature between 300°F to 350°F.

If using a charcoal grill, you may need to move your coals to one side for two-zone grilling. Make sure to not pierce the casings of the brats to keep the juices inside.

Once your brats reach an internal temperature of at least 160°F, you can remove them from the grill and serve them on buns or with vegetables!

Why is it important to know if your brats are done?

Undercooked bratwursts may contain bacteria or parasites that can make you susceptible to dangerous infections.

Food poisoning can range from stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, and more. Salmonella poisoning can cause symptoms such as fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

These symptoms can be more severe if large amounts of undercooked meat are consumed.

For these reasons, it is important to always cook grilled bratwurst sausages to at least 160°F to avoid any potential health hazards and food poisoning.

What type of grills is best for cooking brats?

When it comes to grilling brats, different styles of grills will yield different results. For the classic bratwurst experience, a charcoal kettle grill is the best choice.

The Weber Grill is an excellent option for those looking for a simple, durable charcoal grill. Gas grills offer consistency in temperature, allowing for moderate heat to be easily achieved.

Pellet grills, similar to gas grills, offer the ability to control cooking temperatures more easily and provide more subtle smokiness.

Charcoal grills can get very hot, and while they can provide great flavor, they can also split the brats if cooked at too high of a temperature.

You can cook brats on many different types of grills which makes it all up to personal preference.

Check out my post that talks about the advantages of grilling!

How long do I need to grill brats?

Knowing how long to grill brats them can be tricky. If you grill them for too long, they’ll dry out and become tough. But if you don’t grill them long enough, they won’t be cooked through and could make you sick.

Generally, you will need about 10-20 minutes to grill your brats thoroughly. It will depend on the heat of your grill and the size of your brat. Keep an eye on them and continue to turn them every few minutes so that they evenly cook on all sides.


Now that you know how to tell when grilled brats are done, you can cook them with confidence. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the brats, and cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If they aren’t cooked as expected, you can always put them back on the grill for a few more minutes.


Yes, it is safe to eat pre-cooked brats, as long as you heat them to a safe temperature. Pre-cooked bratwursts reduce the cooking time to just 5-10 minutes and come with minimal risk of food-borne illnesses compared to fresh sausages.

Yes, you can boil brats before grilling them. Boiling brats before grilling can help them cook more evenly and ensure that they are fully cooked through, although some people feel that boiling brats reduces their flavor.

You can check the brat’s doneness by poking the meat with a knife or a fork. If the liquid running out of the sausage is clear, then it is cooked. If the juices have a pink or red tint, then the sausage is still raw.

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