Oktoberfest has been canceled this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the food at home! Indulge in my recipe for chicken bratwurst, a lighter version of beer brats. This homemade sausage combines ground chicken and ground pork for a delectable treat. After simmering in a buttery beer bath, the brats are slathered with mustard and topped with sauerkraut and caramelized onions. Trust me, they’re perfect!
Benefits of Making Chicken Bratwurst
Hey, we’re not going through all the trouble of making homemade brats for no reason! Let me share some of the benefits of making your own chicken brats.
Can be tailored to be a heart-healthier option
Store-bought sausages are often high in sodium and saturated fat. But when you make your own sausages, you have control over the salt and fat content. You can even make these bratwursts with 100% chicken instead of a chicken and pork mix.
Lower calorie than classic pork bratwurst
I’ve modified a bratwurst recipe to create these chicken bratwursts as a much lighter option. By removing pork fatback and beef from the recipe and replacing them with chicken, we’ve reduced the calorie count. We’ve also cut back on the amount of butter used in the beer and butter bath. The result is a healthier, flavorful bratwurst.
Seasoned to your specifications
You can adjust the seasonings in these chicken brats to suit your taste preferences. If you like it spicy, add some red pepper flakes. Customize the flavors and make them your own.
Mouthwatering, delicious, juicy sausage
You won’t believe your taste buds after these chicken brats take a dip in the beer bath. Despite being made with chicken, they turn out incredibly juicy and flavorful. They’re the perfect base for loading up with your favorite toppings.
Chicken Bratwurst Ingredients
To make your own chicken brats, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Chicken thighs
- Pork butt or pork shoulder
- Dried marjoram
- Caraway seeds
- Black pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Onion powder
- Hog casings
That’s all you need to make the basic raw sausage links. But to cook the bratwursts, gather the following additional ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Beer (any cheap beer is fine)
- More fresh garlic
Brats are often served with beer and fries, but you can opt for healthier alternatives like whole grain hot dog rolls and non-starchy veggies.
You’ll also need a meat grinder with a sausage attachment and a cast iron skillet for browning and braising the sausages.
How to Make Chicken Bratwurst
Before we begin, set up your meat grinder and gather your ingredients. Keep the pork and chicken at 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit for easier cutting and grinding. Let’s get started!
- Cut the chicken and pork into 1″ cubes and place them in a large bowl. Add salt, marjoram, black pepper, caraway seeds, garlic, allspice, and onion powder to the bowl.
- Pass the chicken bratwurst mixture through the meat grinder using a coarse grind. Repeat the process, still using the coarse grind plate, to achieve the perfect texture.
- Coarse grinding the meat twice ensures that the bratwurst mix isn’t too pasty.
- Refrigerate the twice-ground brat mix and set up the meat grinder for stuffing sausage links. Use the largest stuffing funnel for the hog casings.
- Prepare the sausage casings according to the packaging instructions. Soak them in water, cut them into 2-foot lengths, and clean them thoroughly by running cool water through the insides.
- Now it’s time to stuff the chicken bratwurst links. Tie a secure knot at one end of the casing and slide it over the end of the stuffing funnel. Slowly feed the ground chicken and pork mixture through the grinder, simultaneously guiding the casing with your other hand.
- When you’re a few inches from the end of the casing, stop filling and remove it from the funnel. Twist or tie the sausage into two or three links, leaving room for the filling to move. Tie off the open end of the casing.
- You can fill multiple casings without cleaning out the meat grinder each time. Simply slide a new casing onto the machine and continue making brats.
- Once you’ve used all the meat filling, tie off the remaining bratwurst links. Don’t forget to shape any excess meat into patties for a tasty breakfast option.
How to Cook Bratwurst in a Beer Bath
Now we’re almost ready to eat! Here’s how to cook the bratwurst in a beer bath:
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Brown the bratwursts in the oil for about 5 minutes per side, then remove them from the pan and set aside.
- If you’re making the entire recipe, you may need to cook the brats in batches.
- Increase the heat to medium and add beer, butter, onion, and garlic to the skillet. Let the butter melt and the beer bath come to a simmer.
- Carefully add the sausage links to the simmering beer bath using tongs. Allow the brats to simmer for 15 minutes, making sure they’re fully cooked.
- While the brats simmer, toast the buns and prepare your sides. For larger bratwurst links, cut each one in half to fit inside the hot dog buns.
- Once the chicken bratwursts are cooked, assemble them in the buns. Top each half link with sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and mustard. Absolutely marvelous!
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This recipe yields 6 large bratwurst links. You can also salvage any remaining ground mixture stuck to the inside of the meat grinder and shape them into patties.
Please note that the nutrition information doesn’t include the beer bath ingredients or any toppings or side dishes. It’s important to consider these additions if you’re aiming for specific dietary goals.
To make the meal lighter, serve your chicken brats on whole grain rolls with a side salad or roasted veggies instead of fries and beer.
What should I serve with bratwurst?
If you’re wondering what to serve with chicken bratwurst, here are a few topping suggestions:
- Homemade Mustard (Tarragon-Cider Flavor): Feel free to customize the flavor of this mustard to pair perfectly with your brats.
- Fermented Red Cabbage Sauerkraut: This sauerkraut recipe works well with green cabbage too.
- Fermented Beets and Turnips Recipe: Add some colorful vegetable ferment as an alternative sauerkraut topping.
While you can always use store-bought sauerkraut and mustard, making your own adds an extra touch of love to the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does brat in bratwurst mean? In modern German, “braten” means “to fry,” and “wurst” means “sausage.” Some sources suggest that “brat” originally came from the Old High German word for “finely chopped meat.”
- Can I make chicken bratwurst without pork? Absolutely! You can skip the pork shoulder and use more ground chicken thighs instead. This is a great option for religious or health reasons, as it reduces the saturated fat content.
- Is chicken bratwurst bad for you? While there are leaner protein options available, these chicken bratwursts are a healthier alternative to traditional pork brats. They are made with unprocessed meats and have a lower saturated fat content. Pair them with whole grain rolls and non-starchy veggies for a balanced meal.
- What is the difference between bratwurst and knockwurst? Both sausages can be made with pork and veal, but knockwurst typically has a stronger garlic flavor. American knockwurst may differ from regional German versions.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
If you have a meat grinder and want to embark on a fun weekend project, try making homemade sausages. Check out these recipes and learn to make all your favorite types of sausage:
- Fennel Sausage: Italian Sausage Meat Grinder Recipe
- Chorizo Recipe: Fresh, Homemade Mexican Chorizo Sausage
- Homemade Sausage with Chicken, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: These all-chicken links are perfect for breakfast.
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And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. It’s always a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or your physician to determine the dietary pattern that works best for you.
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary based on specific brands and ingredients used. Calorie information on food labels can be inaccurate, so don’t stress too much about the numbers.
For more information on how the three recipe levels can help with weight management, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post.
Let’s get cooking!
Image Source: Hook’d Up Bar and Grill