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Seeking brat add-in ideas, what are your favorites?

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  • MattTheGR8
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 187
    • Backwoods Party
      22" WSM
      Napoleon Apollo
      Weber Performer
      Weber Kettle
      Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal grill (the rectangular one)

      Rock's Stoker
      BBQ Guru DigiQ II

      Thermoworks TW8060 plus a variety of probes
      Thermoworks Combo Thermapen

      Weber rotisserie
      Smokenator
      Pizza Grill Stone

    Seeking brat add-in ideas, what are your favorites?

    What are everyone's favorite varieties of bratwurst? Traditional with nothing added, savory (bacon, cheese, etc.), spicy (peppers), sweet (fruit), or other varieties?

    I'm hoping to query the collective wisdom of the Pit to help me improve my bratwurst recipe. The state fair is fast approaching, and I'm trying to finalize this year's bratwurst. Last year I had a respectable showing, but lost a few points on the flavor scores. So, this year I'm considering adding in some additional ingredients to create a more flavorful brat.

    For savory ingredients, I'm think along the lines of a non-melting cheese (cheddar, swiss or pepper jack) and perhaps other meats (bacon, pancetta, etc.).

    To spice them up, any number of peppers and spices could be added.

    Sweet ingredients aren't an obvious choice, but the right ones could be great and really set apart a brat. I've seen things like cranberry used in some winning brats. Also, a friend gave me some pineapple-jalapeno brats a while back and they were surprisingly delicious (and I don't even like pineapple).

    Please let me know what varieties of brats you've tried and really liked.

    Also, for my fellow sausage makers, advice on how much to add in would be greatly appreciated. I've done basic cheese brats in the past and used 10% of the meat as my weight of cheese. If I use multiple add-ins, should the total amount of add-ins be 10% or should it be 10% for each add in? For example, if I do a cheddar-bacon brat, are the cheddar and bacon 10% each or 10% total (5% for each)?

    Thanks in advance for any flavor ideas or advice you care to offer!
  • HouseHomey
    Club Member
    • May 2016
    • 5214
    • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
    • Equipment
      Primo Oval xl

      Slow n Sear (two)
      Drip n Griddle
      22" Weber Kettle
      26" Weber Kettle one touch
      Blackstone 36” Pro Series
      Sous vide machine
      Kitchen Aid
      Meat grinder
      sausage stuffer
      5 Crock Pots
      Akootrimonts
      Two chimneys (was 3 but rivets finally popped, down to 1)
      cast iron pans,
      Dutch ovens
      Signals 4 probe, thermapens, chef alarms, Dots, thermapop and maverick T-732, RTC-600, pro needle and various pocket instareads.
      The help and preferences
      1 extra fridge and a deep chest freezer in the garage
      KBB
      FOGO
      A 9 year old princess foster child
      Patience and old patio furniture
      "Baby Girl" The cat

      Erik S.

    #2
    Wow. Where do I start. Well obviously you're competing so there's a questionable number of ingredients that may be in there to stand apart. I myself am not one of those people that would add a bunch of stuff to it however my favorite brat recipe has veal which makes it more expensive to do. But it is rich and delicious.

    Before I'd ever consider add ins I would focus on fat and flavor then silkiness followed by texture and your casing and then the adherence. I would be happy to review your recipe but I am unable to give you a number percentage wise without knowing what your recipe looks like? Do you follow it exactly? Is it a standardized recipe? Do you use the same Casings? Do you grind your own? There are a lot of questions that affect the final outcome of the sausage.

    I Love this topic though and if you did well before it's likely you're a better sausage maker than I am. but we have some mighty fine folks around here at producing the sausage stuff and I will defer to them.

    I would love to know your recipe though to get an idea of what it is you're referencing.

    Comment


    • Steve B
      Steve B commented
      Editing a comment
      You got this MattTheGR8 Cause you got Homey on your side. BOOM 👊

    • MattTheGR8
      MattTheGR8 commented
      Editing a comment
      I also tend to prefer the simpler recipes myself, but the winning brats almost all have a variety of add-ins for extra flavor. I do the grinding and stuffing myself, and have already been adjusting the spice blend. The texture and appearance have gotten me pretty good scores in the past, but I need to boost the flavor. I'll post the recipe below since it is too long to include in a reply.
  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9678
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
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      Thermoworks Timestick
      Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
      B & B Pellets

    #3
    High temp pepper jack or jalapeno cheese is my favorite.

    Comment

    • MattTheGR8
      Charter Member
      • Dec 2014
      • 187
      • Backwoods Party
        22" WSM
        Napoleon Apollo
        Weber Performer
        Weber Kettle
        Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal grill (the rectangular one)

        Rock's Stoker
        BBQ Guru DigiQ II

        Thermoworks TW8060 plus a variety of probes
        Thermoworks Combo Thermapen

        Weber rotisserie
        Smokenator
        Pizza Grill Stone

      #4
      Here's my current base recipe for the bratwurst. It is "new and improved" since last year, but I still think some add-ins would help boost the flavor and make it stand out in the contest.

      1 kg pork shoulder meat
      18 g kosher salt
      2 g white peppercorns
      2 g black peppercorns
      2 g sugar
      1.75 g ground ginger
      1.25 g blade mace
      0.5 g savory, ground
      0.5 g granulated garlic
      1 egg
      ½ c beer (I use Budweiser)

      32-35 mm hog casings

      Grind together peppercorns, blade mace and savory; combine with all other spices and salt
      Cut shoulder meat into 1 inch chunks, mix in salt and spices, chill overnight
      Grind through 1/2” plate
      Grind through 3/16” plate
      Add egg and beer, mix until sticky (primary bind)
      Stuff into hog casings, forming 8 inch links

      Last year I had a slightly different spice blend and used heavy cream instead of beer. My cooked bratwurst with 10% high temp cheddar finished 2nd, the basic recipe finished tied for 3rd in the uncooked bratwurst class. The tie was broken by the flavor score, which I lost and ended up with an honorable mention for the uncooked bratwurst. With a boost in the flavor, I'm hoping for at least one blue ribbon this year.

      Comment

      • HouseHomey
        Club Member
        • May 2016
        • 5214
        • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
        • Equipment
          Primo Oval xl

          Slow n Sear (two)
          Drip n Griddle
          22" Weber Kettle
          26" Weber Kettle one touch
          Blackstone 36” Pro Series
          Sous vide machine
          Kitchen Aid
          Meat grinder
          sausage stuffer
          5 Crock Pots
          Akootrimonts
          Two chimneys (was 3 but rivets finally popped, down to 1)
          cast iron pans,
          Dutch ovens
          Signals 4 probe, thermapens, chef alarms, Dots, thermapop and maverick T-732, RTC-600, pro needle and various pocket instareads.
          The help and preferences
          1 extra fridge and a deep chest freezer in the garage
          KBB
          FOGO
          A 9 year old princess foster child
          Patience and old patio furniture
          "Baby Girl" The cat

          Erik S.

        #5
        Wow. I need to sit a review this. Apparently comp is very different than just sausage making. I lke your recipe. "off the cuff" I have some thoughts on some things.

        please tell me what "uncooked" means. I may be to review for your experience. It's OK I understand. But I'm going to compare ratios it amounts to what I use and methods and techniques. Right away I see some differences

        My Monday is tomorrow so I'll get to this as Soon as can.

        Comment


        • MattTheGR8
          MattTheGR8 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, any advice is appreciated. For the uncooked class the judges cut up raw sausages and cook them quickly in a microwave (not ideal, but at least all the entrants get the same treatment). The cooked sausages are to be ready-to-eat. These cooked ones are the commercial kind you might find in a meat case, in fact I'm the only home cook who ever enters this particular contest.

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