A bratwurst is a German sausage that is typically made of pork and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, sugar and mace, notes the University of Georgia. While it is best to thaw frozen brats before cooking them, you can cook them straight from the freezer in a pinch.
Cook Frozen Brats
Ideally, you want to thaw frozen brats before cooking them. You can put them in the refrigerator if you are planning a cookout. If you need to thaw brats faster, you can thaw them in cold water or in a microwave, advises the USDA. Do not leave brats on the counter to thaw for more than two hours, as this increases the chances that bacteria will grow and make you sick.
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If you do decide to grill frozen brats, make sure they are fully cooked to prevent foodborne illness. Heat the bratwurst to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, advises the USDA. If you choose a turkey or chicken brat, heat the brat to at least 165 F. This may take 50 percent longer than cooking a thawed bratwurst.
Brats are a popular choice at any cookout. Put the brats directly on the grill and cook them until your meat thermometer shows they have reached an internal temperature of 160 F, advises the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Be sure to turn the brats while you are cooking so that they are evenly heated and browned.
You can also spice up your brats by boiling them in beer before finishing them up on the grill. Just add enough beer to a skillet to completely cover the brats and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, advises the University of Washington.
Make a Meal
A typical pork bratwurst contains 283 calories, with 80 percent of those calories coming from fat, according to the USDA. Seventeen percent of the calories come from protein and the remaining 3 percent from carbs. In addition, you get the health benefits of some key vitamins and minerals including:
- 25 percent Daily Value of zinc
- 26 percent Daily Value of vitamin B12
While brats do contain some important minerals, they are also very high in sodium. One brat contains 719.1 milligrams of sodium.
A brat is a delicious treat, but consider a healthier alternative like a chicken brat. According to the USDA, a chicken bratwurst contains 140 calories. Only 62 percent of those calories are from fat. Thirty percent comes from protein and 3 percent from carbs. Chicken brats are also lower in sodium, with only 449.7 milligrams in each bratwurst.
Pair your bratwurst with some healthy sides such as grilled vegetables or a fruit salad. Consider cutting up your brat and adding using it in this zucchini hash recipe from LIVESTRONG.com.
- Cut up zucchini, red and green bell pepper and onion.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add vegetables and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add cut up bratwurst to the skillet.
- Cook until brat is cooked and vegetables are browned.
- Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley.
Another healthy side to try alongside your brat is Cranberry Feta Broccoli Crunch.
- Steam broccoli.
- Add walnuts, cranberries and feta cheese.
- Season with black pepper.
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Pork Bratwurst"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Cured Chicken Bratwurst"
- USDA: "Sausages and Food Safety"
- University of Georgia: "Basics of Sausage Making Formulation, Processing and Safety"
- USDA: "The Big Thaw — Safe Defrosting Methods for Consumers"
- University of Washington: "Recipes: Grill Out with Brats, Summer Side, and a Bubbler"
- University of Wisconsin, Madison: "Grilling Tips from Bucky’s Butchery"