smoked brats

Smoked Brats with Bacon Jam

Smoked Brats with Bacon Jam

Brats are one of my favorite sausages for the grill. Typically I’ll simmer them in a beer and onion bath for a ½ hour, then brown them up real quick on a hot grill, but they’re also great as a smoked brats.

For this recipe all you need is 8-10 bratwurst sausages. You can find them in just about any grocery store; Johnsonville Brats are probably the most popular brand you’ll find. If you see fresh in-house brats gives those a try too; they’ll taste even better.

smoked brats

There’s no prep when it comes to smoking brats which make them a great football food. Just fire up your smoker and throw on a couple of cherry wood chunks for smoke. You can use any grill or smoker set up for indirect cooking. I used my UDS for these; just run the cooking temp around 250 degrees.

On the drum I placed a ½ size aluminum pan over the coal basket and filled it with a little water. This will keep the direct heat off the brats and add a little moisture. We want the brats to slow cook and absorb the cherry smoke. It only takes about 1 ½ hours total time for the brats to fully cook.

smoked brats

Half way through the smoking process, flip the brats over so they cook evenly. Also you’ll want to check the internal temperature before taking them off the cooker. For fresh brats it needs to be a minimum of 165⁰ in the center.

smoked brats

The smoke flavor really comes through in these brats but what makes them extra special is the Bacon Jam I use for a topping. Of course you can add whatever toppings you like; Sautéed Peppers and Onions go great.

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Bacon Jam
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Bacon Jam


  • 8 slices Thick Cut Apple Smoked Bacon
  • 4 Medium Onions
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • water as needed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Peel and thinly slice the onions
  2. Cut the bacon into small cubes
  3. Heat a deep sauté pan over medium high heat and render the bacon until brown and slightly crispy. Remove from heat, drain, and reserve 1 TBS of drippings in the pan
  4. Add the thinly sliced onion, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, bacon pieces, and 1 Tablespoon of water.
  5. Cover and cook the onion for 15 minutes until they start to soften.
  6. Remove the lid and stir the onion mixture occasionally until they caramelize. Add water a couple of teaspoons at a time as the moisture cooks off.
  7. Keep a close eye on the onions stirring as needed. It will take about 1 hour to cook the mixture down into a jam like consistency.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Malcom Reed
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Comments 6

  1. Got a smoker for my birthday recently and after some research online I tried your baby back rib method using the mop sauce you recommended with a dry rub recipe I found on another site and made myself (didn’t have time to order something online), and these were the best ribs I’ve ever had!!! My wife, who loves ribs, agreed wholeheartedly! Thanks for sharing your methods online!

  2. Just finished building my uds today, and I’m cooking these brats as my first ever smoking recipe. Looking forward to eating them in about 5 min.

  3. Love your videos brother! Have learned so much and the food is delish…..keep up the good work!!! Saw one of your videos and you were wearing a Minnesota Vikings tee!!! Skol Vikes!!!!!

  4. I made this last week and ended up with great flavor but really tough casings. I used Johnsonville but did include liquid in the drip pan. Could it be the moisture that kept the casings tough? Any other ideas?

  5. Can you tell my why some of the sausage I smoke turned almost black on the outside. The non burned ones were great tasting with the bacon jam. I smoked these in my ugly drum smoker.


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