Grilling Brats with Charcoal: A Step-by-Step

December 21, 2023 3 min read

Grilling Brats with Charcoal: A Step-by-Step

Are craving a juicy and flavorful meal straight from the grill? no further than grilling br with charcoal! This classic cooking method brings out the best in brats, yielding a smoky and irresistible taste that will have your taste buds dancing. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of grilling brats with charcoal, ensuring that you end up with perfectly cooked sausages every time.

Getting Started: Preparing the Grill

Before you embark on your brat grilling adventure, it's essential to prepare your charcoal grill properly. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful grilling experience:

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Ingredients

  • Charcoal grill
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Lighter fluid or chimney starter
  • Bratwurst sausages
  • Tongs or grill spatula
  • Aluminum foil
  • Buns and condiments for serving
  • Your favorite side dishes

Step 2: Set Up the Charcoal Grill

  1. Select a suitable grilling location: Find a safe outdoor spot with good ventilation, away from any flammable objects.
  2. Clean the grill grates: Using a wire brush, remove any debris or residue from the last grilling session.
  3. Add charcoal briquettes: Arrange charcoal briquettes in the grill, creating a two-zone fire by piling more charcoal on one side than the other. This setup provides both direct and indirect heat zones for cooking versatility.

Pro Tip: For added flavor, consider using hardwood charcoal or adding wood chips for a smoky aroma.

  1. Light the charcoal: There are two primary methods for lighting charcoal—using lighter fluid or a chimney starter. If using lighter fluid, follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow the fluid to soak for a few minutes before lighting. For a more natural option, opt for a chimney starter. Fill it with charcoal, place newspaper or lighter cubes at the bottom, and ignite. Let the coals burn until they develop a white ash coating, indicating they're ready for grilling.

Grilling Time: Cooking the Brats

With your grill prepped and ready, it's time to cook the star of the show—the bratwurst sausages. Follow these steps to achieve perfectly grilled brats:

Step 1: Prepare the Brats

  1. Prick the sausages: Use a fork to prick the brats' casings at a few spots. This step prevents the casings from bursting during grilling.
  2. Soak the brats: Optional but highly recommended, soak the brats in a flavorful liquid such as beer or a mixture of beer and onions. This step adds moisture and imparts additional flavors to the brats.

Did You Know? Soaking brats in beer is a popular tradition in Wisconsin and adds a unique taste to the sausages.

Step 2: Grill the Brats

  1. Establish direct and indirect heat zones: Place the soaked brats on the side of the grill with fewer charcoal briquettes (the indirect heat zone). This allows for a gradual and even cooking process.
  2. Close the lid: Cover the grill with the lid to retain heat and ensure thorough cooking. Adjust the vents to control the airflow and temperature inside the grill.
  3. Grill and flip: Grill the brats for about 15-20 minutes, flipping them occasionally to ensure even browning. The internal temperature should reach 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption.
  4. Check for doneness: To ensure the brats are cooked through, you can slice into one and check that the juices run clear. However, try to minimize this step to avoid losing too much moisture.

Step 3: Rest and Serve

  1. Remove the brats: Using tongs or a grill spatula, transfer the grilled brats to a plate or aluminum foil.
  2. Allow them to rest: Let the brats rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful bite.
  3. Serve and savor: Serve the grilled brats in buns, accompanied by your favorite condiments and side dishes. Enjoy the explosion of flavors!


Grilling brats with charcoal is an art that guarantees a mouthwatering culinary experience. By following this step-by-step guide, you'll be well-equipped to delight your friends and family with perfectly grilled brats every time. Remember, preparation is key, so gather your tools, set up the charcoal grill, and cook those brats to perfection. Get ready to savor the smokey aroma and juicy flavors that will make your taste buds sing. So fire up that grill and let the grilling expertise unfold!

"Grilling is not just about the food. It's a way of life—a celebration of flavors and good times." - Unknown

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