How To Grill Brats On Charcoal? (Easy Guide)

Summer is that iconic season of the year, which is extremely renowned for grilling, and brats are becoming the eye-catchers attracting everyone and gaining immense popularity. Grilling is not an easy art; it comes to perfection with time and practice. Hence summer grilling season is in full swing, and nothing can beat the joy of barbecuing our favorite foods.

The charcoal grill should be preheated to low-medium heat, which is between 300-350 F, and the brats should take around 20 minutes to grill perfectly. The internal temperature should be 160 F; don’t forget to turn whatever you are grilling, so it gets caramelized properly.

How to grill brats on charcoal
How to grill brats on charcoal:

One should be careful while grilling as too much heat would char the outside, and the brats would spill, letting all the juices come out. So here comes our detailed guidance to grill those perfect brats on the charcoal grill.

Things to Consider Before Grilling Brats on Charcoal

There are a lot of points that need to be considered before grilling brats to perfection like a pro. Brats are mixed with different spices such as ginger, nutmeg, coriander, marjoram, or caraway to achieve that mouth-watering flavor. The tips to follow are as follows:

Things to Consider Before Grilling Brats on Charcoal
Things to Consider Before Grilling Brats on Charcoal
  • Brats are usually available in the market as fresh, but processed or pre-cooked ones are also available. Few of them are smoked or unsmoked. However, it is always a great initiative to support the local butchers and buy fresh ones because you will always find a huge difference in taste for fresh brats. They also taste great with seasoning, which adds a zing to the flavor.
  • Though boiling is an effective method to make brat-flavored water, it is better not to boil them as it won’t infuse any flavors. It is always best to grill fresh brats to enjoy the taste.
  • It is strictly advised not to poke holes into brats before grilling as it will lead to leakage of juices from the brats when put on the charcoal grill. 
  • It takes around 15 minutes to grill brats and should not be overheated as it would lead to charring. 
  • The perfect internal temperature is 160 F to cook brats, and the grill should be preheated to slow-medium (300-350 F).

How to Grill Brats on Charcoal? Step-by-step procedure

Though there are several methods to cook a brat, grilling fresh brats on a charcoal grill is the most popular and renowned method. The other grills for cook brats are gas grills, pellet grills, and grill pans.

How to Grill Brats on Charcoal? Step-by-step procedure
How to Grill Brats on Charcoal?

However, none gives that irresistible smoky, delicious flavor from the charcoal grill. The process is quite complex and needs to be done properly, or else you won’t get that perfectly cooked, delicious grilled brat. Here is the step-by-step guide to cooking perfectly grilled brats on a charcoal grill:

1. Choosing Your Brats

The most popular brats available are fresh brats from local butchers. However, you will also get the processed or precooked ones, either cured or uncured, and smoked or unsmoked. But there is a huge difference in taste that comes from the fresh brats, especially those seasoned with spices, to get that extra zing of flavor. 

2. Light up your charcoal

Though there are several methods to light up the charcoal, a chimney starter is the best way to do so. The simple vented design allows all the charcoal inside the chimney to turn red hot within minutes of lighting it with a little bit of crumpled paper kept under the base. Thus ensuring even cooking of brats on the grill.

3. Prepare a grill in a 2-zone configuration

When using a charcoal grill, it should be prepared in two zone configuration until it achieves medium heat (350 to 450 F). The coals inside the grill should be spread only on one side while keeping the other without coal. The grates should be lightly oiled while preparing a grill in a two-zone configuration.

4. Oil or Butter the grill grates

It is very important to oil the grill grates with olive oil or butter as it prevents the brats from sticking.

5. Place grill grates

Once the grill grates are greased with olive oil or butter, they are placed properly over the grill. It should be preheated to low-medium heat. Then the fresh brats are placed directly over the heated coal inside the hot grill in a single layer.

6. Add brats to the grill grates

Make sure the grill is not overheated, or it will burn the outer surface of the brats. Once the brats are added, they should be monitored continuously and rotated at regular intervals with a tong so that it is caramelized evenly and not burned. The cooking process should take around 15 to 20 minutes with the internal temperature at 160 F.

7. Once ready, bring in and serve

Once the brats are caramelized evenly, achieve that perfect golden hue, and are seared properly, you know it’s cooked to perfection. Please don’t overcook, as the casing would split, and all the juices would leak out, making the brats dry.

It is important to wiggle the brats; once they are firm and bouncy, you know that fresh charcoal grilled brats are cooked properly and ready to serve. Prepare your favorite dip and serve it to your loved ones.

How To Tell When Brats Are Done?

Using a digital meat thermometer is the best way to know that the brats are cooked properly on a charcoal grill. Once the internal temperature reaches 160 F, you know that the brats are cooked properly. This temperature rise should be checked for both fresh brats as well as precooked brats.

The other way to know that the brats are done properly is by touching them. Touch the fatty part of your thumb and feel its hardness and then feel the skin on the brats; if they feel hard and bouncy, you know they are grilled properly.

They should be caramelized evenly and properly seared and get that beautiful smoky golden color. Don’t get mistaken by the pink color of brats in certain cases because processed brats usually retain that pink even if properly cooked. 

You May Also Find Useful: How to Keep Brats Warm After Grilling | How Long Does It Take To Boil Chicken Wings Before Grilling

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to grill brats in Weber?

While using a Weber grill, it should be set to medium heat. The grill should be preheated to medium heat for 15 minutes to reach a temperature between 350 to 400 F. The grates should be oiled before placing the brats and rotated with a tong to caramelize properly for 3 minutes until the internal temperature comes to 160 F with the proper color.

Should you grill brats with lids open or closed?

The lids of the charcoal grill should be closed while grilling fresh brats under indirect heat so that it is cooked through properly. A timer of 3 minutes should be set, and after every 3 minutes, the lid should be opened, and the brats should be turned so it is evenly caramelized. This process should be repeated for 15 minutes to cook properly.

How long do you cook brats on the grill after boiling?

The per-boiled brats would take roughly 5-10 minutes to grill. They don’t take much time and are easy to cook. They should be turned repeatedly until the internal temperature of 160 F is achieved and properly caramelized is done.

While it should be kept in mind to grill brats using a charcoal grill, the charcoal should be entirely burned out before the brats are placed on the grill grates. The height of the grill racks is also extremely important, and it should be kept at the height of a hand’s breadth above the embers.


With the help of this article, we get a detailed guide about grilling brats using a charcoal grill. Though there are several other methods to cook brats, grilling them is the most popular way, in a charcoal grill, compared to other grills available because nothing can beat that irresistible smoky taste from the burning of charcoals and the addition of seasoning. 

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