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Tough Brat Skins

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    Tough Brat Skins

    So I cooked some brats over the weekend. They were special because they came from a butcher shop which doesn't charge less than $10 a pound for anything. To illustrate, I bought half a pound of their bologna for $8.
    I know, I know, I need to find a new butcher. But that's beside the point.

    Anyway, I bought some jalapeno cheddar brats from them and made them for a meal over the long 4th of July weekend. I sous vided them for 2 hours at 155°, seared, and served. The darn skins were so tough that when we tried to take a bite, the whole bratwurst came out of the bun. Imagine that!

    I've cooked bratwurst many a time, often poached in beer then seared. Sometimes just grilled. This is the first time I sous vided them and the first time I used brats from this butcher.

    So my question is should I not sous vide brats (I used Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe) or just not get brats from this butcher again?

    It was embarrassing as all get-out to drag a whole brat out of a loaded bun, I have to say.


    Kathryn
    Last edited by fzxdoc; July 6, 2021, 06:52 PM.

    #2
    I love sous vide for some things, for other things you couldn't pay me to use it.

    Grill those things. I grill my boudin.

    Comment


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      A big yup!

    #3
    The thing about sous vide, Jerod Broussard , is that you can cook your brats/sausages to a safe temp then sear them without having to poke them with a Thermapen, releasing all that tasty fat. I sous vide a lot of sausages, and this past weekend with the brats is the first time I've had a problem.

    K.

    Comment


    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      I smoke sausage and they all get poked. What little fat goes bye bye doesn't even amount to spilled organic range free no climate change milk.

    #4
    Click image for larger version

Name:	BEEC2FD1-9680-4F42-92D3-A871AF971D2C.jpeg
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ID:	1056306 I SV brats all the time. I usually go 135 at least overnight, then the skins shatter and split evenly when searing. Though in your case they may have just been too tough/thick.

    if you have more, I’d try to SV them to safety (pasteurization at the temp you want). Then chill a bit so you have more time to put the sear to the skins.

    Last edited by Polarbear777; July 6, 2021, 07:11 PM.

    Comment


    • Polarbear777
      Polarbear777 commented
      Editing a comment
      Since they are only 135 internal, they aren’t over flames long enough to create enough pressure to explode, but since the SV breaks down the collagen in the skins it cracks evenly in just a few minutes.

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      I love the way you cook. That photo is fantastic.

      Kathryn

    • Backroadmeats
      Backroadmeats commented
      Editing a comment
      To be clear I am pretty sure those are collagen casing not natural. I am not a fan of collagen casings for brats.... But I would gladly eat one of those. Nicely done!!

    #5
    A few years ago I switched over to more of a smoked-brat, easy bite through, no hot grease squirting you..,

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    Last edited by Richard Chrz; July 6, 2021, 08:27 PM.

    Comment


    • Richard Chrz
      Richard Chrz commented
      Editing a comment
      I do these At roughly 310-325 for 2 hours. Rotating and flipping on the 30 minute mark. Of course they re done before that, but, I really have come to enjoy them in this state, so do lot’s of our friends.

    • Backroadmeats
      Backroadmeats commented
      Editing a comment
      We're these brats fresh when you bought them?? Or smoked ?? They look perfect.. and Johnsonville?? Oh my, I might have to drop off some next time I get out that way!!

    • Richard Chrz
      Richard Chrz commented
      Editing a comment
      Backroadmeats I would love to buy some brats from you. Seriously. These are raw J-Ville's that I cooked.

    #6
    I have followed the instructions in the Joule app with no issues ever. May just have been the brats. 🤷‍♂️

    Comment


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope.

    #7
    My thoughts are they used or use a casing that is just too thick.
    Iv’e made sausage a few times and changed up the casings. I don’t remember which casing it was but one time I had the same kind of result. It was almost uneatable.

    Ask, mention it to them. Maybe they can use a different casing.

    Or like you said. Find a different butcher.
    But good butchers are hard to come by.

    Comment


    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      Youbetcha. I won't be switching butchers. They're expensive, but they have cuts of meat that I can't get anywhere else. And I'm always down for trying a new-to-me cut of meat. Without that butcher shop, I'd be relegated to uninspiring grocery store meat cases.

      K.

    • Steve B
      Steve B commented
      Editing a comment
      I hear ya about not changing butchers. Good ones are hard to find.
      Kinda like mechanics, which I am, 😁 and spouses 😂

    #8
    I’ve never SV’d anything nor do I know how. But, I prefer not to cook them over direct heat. Whenever I’ve done that, the casing was always tough and dried out. I’ve had best results on the grill and just leaving them off the fire for the whole cook, maybe for 30 minutes or so. And lately I’ve been using a water pan near the fire, for moisture, for my my sausage or brats. This really helps with the sausage being tender and juicy, but still has the snap to the casing when you bite it.
    Last edited by Panhead John; July 7, 2021, 02:04 PM.

    Comment


    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      you put the sausage in a water pan? or just have a water pan in the cooker with some water in it to add humidity to the cook chamber? I am with you on not cooking sausage over direct heat.

    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Just to clarify….a water pan on the charcoal grill to add moisture, I DO NOT put the sausage in the water. Thanks ecowper
      Last edited by Panhead John; July 7, 2021, 02:05 PM.

    • Steve B
      Steve B commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh come on Panhead John Yes you do and I know you also do that with your ribs.

    #9
    Could you tell if they used natural casings or one of the ‘edible’ collagen casing available? I made one batch of sausages with so called edible collagen casings for a test and they turned out close to what you described. I threw out the remainder of the package

    Comment


    • grantgallagher
      grantgallagher commented
      Editing a comment
      Ha? I wrote my comment but never posted and hence didnt see your comment until i posted. Same thoughts

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      Donw and grantgallagher ,I'll check. I go to that butcher shop every couple of weeks now that the pandemic has slowed. I'll ask them what kind of casings they use. I have another batch of their sausages in the freezer. I'll cook them differently and see what happens.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      Kathryn

    #10
    Do you know if they were natural or collagen casings?

    Comment


    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      I'll ask the butcher and report back.

      Kathryn

    #11
    I had some last week from the Fresh Market thar turned out like this, some Beer Brats and some Irish Bangers. I didn't SV them, just grilled them like I have done brats for years. I figured it was just the casings, and decided to go ack to Johnsonville's.

    Comment


    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      I love Fresh Market sausages. I get their Hot Italian and their Andouille sausages and hang them in a sausage basket in my PBC. They bask until they reach 185° and are delicious every single time. I've never had a tough casing from them. Maybe the FM supplier in this neck of the woods is different?

      Kathryn

    • klflowers
      klflowers commented
      Editing a comment
      Not sure, fzxdoc. I have a pretty good relationship with all of their butchers (or are they just meat cutters? AR has me asking questions like this lol), and I am going to be sure to ask them. I like their hot Italian, I usually take it out of the casings when I use it though. Never tried their Andouille.

    • Backroadmeats
      Backroadmeats commented
      Editing a comment
      They are meat cutters I will assume!! Most grocery stores buy all boxed meat. I tell all my customers the animals walk in the back door and leave the front door frozen and in freezer paper.

    #12
    I've only made sausage a few times but the last time I did the casings were very tough. Since that time I've been trying to read all I can about "tough sausage casings". Some of the sausage we buy get peeled if the casing are tough. I'm following this post closely and hoping to learn more.

    Comment


    • Backroadmeats
      Backroadmeats commented
      Editing a comment
      Sounds like you need to take a road trip a few hours north around the end of November. We will be making 1500+ pounds of sausage a week!!

    #13
    Could be luck of the draw, I brought 3 packages of Oktoberfest sausages last month, all were soaked in beer for at least 24 hours and cooked on my gasser.
    No SV.
    Two packs were delicious but one pack every link was like biting into an upper rad hose.
    They were brought from the same store out of the same bunker the same day, can only assume they were the same production lot but one don't know.
    Go figure.

    Comment


      #14
      Smoke is what makes the natural casing snap..mine go in the smoker straight from the walk in cooler so they are about 38 degrees IT for 2 hours in a heavy smoke. You can see the change in the color. I am assuming people are having trouble with tough casings when buying fresh sausages?? Try buying already smoked ones maybe?? Click image for larger version

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      Comment


      • Richard Chrz
        Richard Chrz commented
        Editing a comment
        klflowers that was done with heat and smoke. Not just sending meat to Texas…. Slow your roll..

      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Ok. Panhead John and Richard Chrz You guys are killing me. 😂😂😂

      • Backroadmeats
        Backroadmeats commented
        Editing a comment
        Ahh! klflowers Panhead John it is 5:30 in the morning and I was checking cooler temps and logged into AR and read this.. you guys crack me up!! Thanks for the laugh to start my day!!

      #15
      I always buy brats from the same butcher I've been using for over ten years. They use natural hog casing for their brats. Sometimes they're tougher than others. It seems to be just variability in a natural product.

      Comment


      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Good point. That could just be the issue.

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