How Long to Boil Brats Before Grilling

How Long to Boil Brats Before Grilling

Most of us grill brats for summertime get-togethers, holidays, and birthdays. Brats are not the same as typical hot dogs. They’re larger in size, coarser in texture, and usually made with fresher meat cuts. This all combined means they can take what seems like forever on the grill. 

Bratwursts are the perfect item for grilling season, and boiling them can shorten cooking time on the grill and amp up flavorful juices. Some claim that boiled brats will cause natural flavors to seep out. We say that the secret is all in how long you boil them.

How Long to Boil Brats Before Grilling

Why Boil Brats Before You Grill?

Cooking brats by parboiling them first, then transferring them to a hot grill is a common method amongst grill enthusiasts. Preparing bratwurst with the boil method can save you time, especially if you’re in a hurry to feed a hungry crowd. 

The heat of the grill can dry out meat but letting your brats take a little hot bath before grilling can add extra flavor and moisture back into the sausage. A slow boil before being placed on a hot grill also allows raw bratwurst to cook more evenly. 

When grilling, you’re usually working with a medium-high heat surface. Bratwurst recipes will warn you to reduce heat to avoid exploding the casing that keeps all your delicious ground meat inside. Boiling brings up the internal temperature of the brat and partially cooks the inside while protecting the casing. This is another reason to try boiling bratwurst before grilling.

How Long to Boil Brats for Best Results on the Grill

To achieve fully cooked brats that are juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside, cooking times are key. If you boil frozen brats, expect to spend about double the time a fresh brats recipe would take.

For pre-cooked brats, boil the meat in a large pot for roughly 10-15 minutes, occasionally checking to prevent overcooking. 

Brats that have been previously frozen could need anywhere from 15-20 minutes. However, you can also thaw your brats beforehand if you have the time (potentially up to 6 hours!). 

Brats can be challenging because often, the outer skin appears cooked to perfection while the inside can still be raw. Make sure to use a meat thermometer once your brats find the grate. The internal temperature should be between 150 and 160 degrees for optimal doneness.

Boiling Brats in Water

For cooking methods such as parboiling, water is an easily accessible liquid to boil. You can use either a dutch oven or aluminum pan that’s deep enough just to cover the brats inside. 

There’s a distinct difference between a true boil and a simmer. Many grilling experts recommend perfecting a simmer by bringing the water to a boil, removing the pan, then adding the brats. Let the brats cook covered for 10-15 minutes until the outside is gray. 

Once you boil the brats, you can then add them to your preheated grill, close the lid, and you’ll be on your way to some mouthwatering sausages. 

Boiling Brats in Beer

Boiling Brats in Beer

Although boiling brats in water is a simple method, beer-boiled brats are the best. If you are apprehensive of the beer taste, you could easily do a half beer, half apple cider combo. 

You can parboil your bratwurst in a cast-iron skillet or any pan deep enough to cover the brats with beer. Simply bring your beer mixture to a low boil rather than an active boil and add your meat. 

Your beer brats only need about 10-15 min if they were not previously frozen. If previously frozen, expect a longer cooking time. After your brats are gray in appearance, just add them to your preheated grill, and voila! 5-10 minutes later, your delicious brats are ready to enjoy. 

Types of Brats to Grill

Types of Brats to Grill  

There are many different types of brats to choose from. Perhaps you have a treasured local butcher that provides your juicy sausages, or maybe you prefer a simple supermarket brand. 

Johnsonville brats are some of the most common and economical brats that are found at virtually any grocery store. Although these brats are of lesser quality than those from the butcher, a hint of beer or brown sugar can bring out the meat’s natural flavors. 

Wisconsin beer brats are a common type of brat sandwich that originates from America’s dairyland. If you haven’t already tried this delicious bratwurst combo, all you need is sliced onions, brats, buns, and a beer that will satisfy the taste buds. Do this right, and you’ll enjoy juicy beer-boiled brats topped with beer-braised onions to enhance the flavor. Talk about a beer fest!


There’s simply nothing like a delicious grilled brat topped with dijon mustard or cooked onions. The parboiling method will help you reduce cook time and saturate the meat with a delicious enhanced taste. 

As long as your watch your internal temperature and cook time, boiling before grilling is a great tool to help you put brats on the table quickly. Not only will your brats be juicy and flavorful, but your family and friends will think they’re a huge hit for summertime fun.

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