You can’t have a decent BBQ party without sausages, and German Bratwurst is among the tastiest meaty delicacies you can put on the menu. Their fridge life isn’t exemplary, but you may be surprised to find how well Brats freeze.
Although they can’t sit in your freezer for longer than a few months, they are very easy to freeze and will taste awesome once you thaw them. If you’re wondering how to approach freezing your Bratwurst sausages, let me guide you through the basics.
What Happens if You Freeze Bratwurst?
Whenever I have leftover Brats, I always freeze them because they are practically identical if thawed within a couple of months. If you didn’t leave them out of their packaging for longer than thirty minutes, the sausages will be healthy once placed in the freezer and will be as delicious and tasty after.
Benefits of Freezing Bratwurst
There are dozens of reasons why you should freeze Bratwurst sausages, with some of the most important ones being:
- Remarkably simple process, especially for unopened sausages
- Brats freeze pretty well and retain their texture and taste
- Can be placed in virtually any freezer-friendly container
- Simple thawing process
- You will still have around 10 days to cook and fridge store your Bratwurst sausages after thawing
Drawbacks of Freezing Bratwurst
The texture of Bratwurst sausage is very inviting to all kinds of harmful bacteria; one of the biggest drawbacks of freezing bratwurst is that you can’t thaw it at room temperature. Some of the other negatives of freezing Bratwurst are:
- Can sit in the freezer for only three months
- Fridge and microwave thawing are the only viable (healthy) options
- They will probably occupy a good portion of your freezer space
How to Freeze Bratwurst
To freeze Bratwurst, it’s best to leave them unopened and in their original packaging. That’s obviously impossible when freezing leftovers, in which case you should place them in freezer wraps or airtight containers. Follow these steps to properly freeze Brats:
Step 1: Place Brats in the Freezer if Unopened
The entire freezing process begins and ends with this step if you’re planning to freeze unopened packages of Bratwurst sausages. Simply place the packages at the back of your freezer, and you’re good to go.
Step 2: Place Leftover Bratwurst Sausages in Airtight Containers/Freezer Wraps
If you intend to freeze any meat that is not inside its original packaging, you’ll need to use freezer-friendly containers, such as freezer bags, airtight containers, heavy-duty plastic boxes, or mason jars. For Bratwurst sausages, I recommend freezer wraps, as they offer more flexibility while providing sufficient protection against freezer burn.
Step 3: Set Freezer Temperature at 0 F
Zero degrees is the optimal temperature at which the vast majority of foods can safely be stored inside a freezer. Colder temperatures are also good but not very energy efficient. Hotter temperatures are not suitable for freezing and should be avoided.
Step 4: Label Your Bratwurst Sausages
It’s easy to put some food in the freezer and forget what the containers hold. If you’re freezing carrots or deli meat, you won’t need to worry, as these foods can last quite some time inside a freezer.
However, Bratwurst sausages aren’t meant to be kept in a freezer for more than a few months. If you forget when you’ve placed them, you’re risking eating sausages that have turned bad. Placing labels on your frozen food containers is a great way to avoid that.
Step 5: Place Your Bratwurst Sausages at the Back of Your Freezer
Some freezers don’t have a ‘functional’ temperature knob. By this, I mean that the actual temperature doesn’t match the settings on the knob.
Older freezer machines may not be as reliable as modern units; if that’s what you’re using, place your Bratwurst sausages at the back. This is usually the coldest section of any freezer, so to avoid premature defrosting, place them there.
How Long Does Bratwurst Last in the Freezer?
Bratwurst sausages can last up to 3 months in your freezer. Personally, Similar to freezing hot dogs, I don’t recommend keeping them frozen for more than two months. During this time, they taste the best. A few weeks in the third month, their crunchiness falls off a bit, but they’re still healthy and delicious.
How To Defrost Bratwurst?
Out of the three usual ways of defrosting food, only two are useful for defrosting Bratwurst. I’m excluding counter-thawing, which means that you shouldn’t leave the sausages at room temperature, or they will be invaded by swarms of microscopic-sized, harmful bacteria. Instead, consider these options:
- Take the frozen sausages out of the freezer and place them in your refrigerator for twenty-four hours. They may defrost faster, but to ensure all the parts have thawed evenly, don’t take Brats out until the next day.
- After this period expires, wash them, and you can use them immediately.
This option allows you to thaw your Bratwurst sausages quickly, but this way, certain parts may get overcooked. Microwave thawing is a good solution if you need to defrost your Brats at a moment’s notice, but I generally recommend fridge thawing whenever possible.
Can you Refreeze Brats?
You can, especially if you didn’t put them in the pan. If you’ve processed the meat in any way (grilling, frying, etc.), you can still refreeze your Bratwurst sausages, but there is a chance that their taste and texture will change slightly.
Freezing and Refreezing different Types of Bratwurst
|Can Johnsonville brats be frozen?||Yes, that is possible as well. Just use the same process outlined above.|
|How long can you freeze Johnsonville Brats?||Up to six months.|
|How do you defrost Johnsonville sausage?||Let them thaw in the fridge whenever possible. If you need them defrosted quickly, use a microwave.|
|Can you refreeze Johnsonville sausages?||Yes, but with every refreezing process, they will lose a portion of their original taste and texture.|
|Can you freeze cooked Brats?||Yes. Let cooked Bratwurst cool before preparing it for freezing by following the steps above.|
Best tips for Freezing Bratwurst
- Never leave the meat at room temperatures
- Wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil for extra protection against freezer burn
- Freezer bags and freezer wraps are perfect for freezing Bratwurst sausages
- If you can’t fridge-thaw or use a microwave, place Brats in a bowl under tap water.
- Hot Brat Dogs – Just like a hot dog, only you’re using a premium German sausage as the main meaty ingredient.
- European Sausage Breakfast – A whole egg, a bit of cooked rice, beans, iceberg salad, and a Bratwurst sausage go phenomenally well together.
- BBQ Bratwurst – Put the sausages on the grill whenever you’re having a home barbecue or a tailgating party.
- Bratwurst and Beans – Just like beans and bacon are a perfect marriage of texture and taste, the same applies to the Bratwurst and beans combo.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can you keep fresh Brats in the refrigerator?
I recommend cooking fresh Brats the same day, or the day after you’ve purchased the sausages. In theory, they can be stored in a fridge for up to two days, but they won’t have the best taste.
How do you cook a frozen Bratwurst?
I leave it in the fridge for a day. Then I wash my sausages and put them in a bowl with boiling water. Finally, simmer the sausages for fifteen minutes. Let them cool, and enjoy your meal.
Can you eat sausages that have been frozen for a year?
No, you can safely assume that the meat has turned rancid. Even if it does not smell strange, do not eat sausages that have been frozen for over six months.
Brats are arguably some of the best-tasting sausages in the world, so it’s always a better idea to freeze them than to throw them away. Do you also feel that they taste the same after being frozen for a month? Let me know in the comments below, and feel invited to my other guides. Until next time, bon appétit!