Sous vide cooking has become an increasingly popular method for cooking meat and other foods to perfect doneness. Sausages and brats are especially well suited for sous vide cooking, which can yield exceptionally moist, tender and flavorful results every time. There are several benefits to cooking brats using the sous vide technique.
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Consistent Cooking Results
One of the main advantages of sous vide cooking is that it eliminates the guesswork and provides more control over the finished product. Sous vide allows you to precisely set the temperature so that the brats can cook to the ideal internal temperature each time. No more over or undercooked brats! The ability to achieve consistent results makes sous vide a foolproof way to achieve brats that are evenly cooked from edge to edge.
Enhanced Flavor and Juiciness
Sous vide brats retain more of their natural juices and flavors compared to other cooking methods. Because the brats are sealed in an airtight bag and cooked at a lower temperature, less moisture is lost during the cooking process. The result is exceptionally juicy and succulent brats with all the savory flavors intact. Sous vide also allows you to infuse brats with extra flavor by adding marinades, herbs or spices right in the bag.
Reduced Risk of Overcooking
It’s easy to overcook brats when grilling or pan frying, resulting in dried out, rubbery sausages. With sous vide, overcooking is nearly impossible. The precise temperature control prevents the meat from cooking beyond your desired doneness, ensuring tender and juicy results every time. You can cook the brats for a longer time without any decline in quality.
Easy and Convenient
Cooking sous vide simplifies the process of preparing juicy, flavorful brats. Once the brats are sealed in bags and placed in the temperature controlled water bath, there’s minimal hands-on cooking time required. The sous vide machine does all the work! Sous vide also makes it easy to cook large batches of brats ahead of time that can be stored and reheated later.
How to Sous Vide Brats
Cooking brats using the sous vide technique is straightforward but there are some key steps to follow for best results. Here is an overview of the process:
Preparing the Brats
Choose quality fresh or fully thawed bratwurst sausages. Gently roll and straighten the sausages to remove any air pockets. Vacuum seal the brats in bags, 2 to 3 sausages per bag, making sure no air remains inside. For stronger flavor infusion, consider adding spices, herbs or marinades to the bag.
Setting the Sous Vide Cooker
Set the temperature on your sous vide cooker or immersion circulator to 160°F (71°C). This is the ideal temperature to cook brats so they are safely cooked through without becoming tough.
Cooking Time and Temperature
For the best texture, cook the brats for 1 to 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C). The time range allows for both thinner and thicker brats to cook perfectly without drying out.
Finishing the Brats
Once cooked, quickly sear the exterior of the brats in a hot skillet with oil or on the grill for added flavor. This finishing step also gives the brats a nice char and snaps the casing.
Sous vide brats make an easy, quick meal served on buns with favorite toppings like sauerkraut, mustard and onions. They’re also fantastic served with warm potato salad or baked beans.
Tips for Sous Vide Brats
To achieve the best results when cooking brats with the sous vide method, keep these helpful tips in mind:
Choosing the Right Bratwurst
Select high-quality, fresh bratwurst rather than precooked sausages. The ideal brats for sous vide cooking include:
Avoid ultra-lean or precooked varietals.
Seasoning and Marinades
One benefit of sous vide is infusing flavor right in the bag. Try adding:
- Onion and garlic
- Smoked paprika
- Beer or wine
- Chili flakes
- Fresh herbs
Make sure brats are sealed airtight in bags with all air pressed out prior to cooking for best texture. Allow a little extra space for the brats to expand slightly.
Cooking with Beer or Other Liquids
Adding beer, wine, broth or other flavorful liquids to the bag provides opportunity to impart extra taste. Use about 1⁄2 cup of liquid per 1-2 brats.
Storing and Reheating Sous Vide Brats
Sous vide brats hold up well in the refrigerator 3-4 days post cooking or can be frozen for longer storage. Reheat gently in the sous vide bath or skillet before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sous Vide Brats
If you’re new to the world of sous vide sausage cooking, chances are you have some questions. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs about cooking brats with this method:
Can You Sous Vide Frozen Brats?
It’s best to thaw brats fully before cooking sous vide for food safety reasons. Frozen sausage takes longer to heat through which could result in improper cooking. Defrost brats overnight in the fridge before sealing and cooking.
How Long Can You Keep Sous Vide Brats in the Fridge?
Sous vide extends the shelf life of cooked meats considerably. Properly prepared brats can be refrigerated for up to 5 days after cooking. Store the vacuum sealed bags in the coldest part of the fridge.
Can You Sous Vide Brats with Vegetables or Other Ingredients?
Absolutely! One of the benefits of sous vide is being able to cook different foods together in one pouch. Try sealing brats in a vacuum bag along with sauerkraut, sliced onions or peppers for added flavor.
Are There Any Health Concerns with Sous Vide Brats?
As long as you follow food safety guidelines, sous vide brats are completely safe to eat. Cook at the recommended temperature and time to eliminate any bacteria. Use fresh meats, proper sealing technique, and chill brats rapidly after cooking.
Cooking brats using the sous vide technique results in exceptionally juicy, tender and flavorful sausages every time. With a little practice, you can master making restaurant-quality brats at home conveniently. Sous vide provides reliable, foolproof results so you can enjoy perfectly cooked brats anytime.