Skip to Content

Camp Cooking Hack: How Long to Boil a Bratwurst for Perfection

Are you tired of roasting the same old hotdogs over the fire while camping? A bratwurst might just do the trick if you want to surprise your tastebuds. Sometimes you might want that extra wow factor that only a bratwurst can give you. If you’ve ever wondered how long you should boil a brat, we are here to help.

Let’s look at how to make a bratwurst the star of the show.

What Is a Bratwurst?

Both the hot dog and the bratwurst hail from Germany. Some believe the bratwurst originated in 1313 in Franconia. However, others think it didn’t come about until 1404 in Thüringen. What we do know is that it has a German heritage. 

You may categorize a bratwurst with a hot dog, but they are different. The similarities between a hot dog and a brat tend to end with its shape. Brats have a more coarse texture, whereas a hot dog goes through a finer grinding process. Hot dogs tend to be skinnier than a brat and more lightweight. 

Additionally, brats have different seasonings than hot dogs, which have a combination of relatively unseasoned beef and pork. Brats typically have a more seasoned mixture of pork. 

Bratwursts lined up on a charcoal grill
Before you pop your brats on the grill, you can boil them first to infuse flavor and cook the interior.

Do You Need to Boil a Brat Before Grilling or Frying It?

You do not need to boil a brat before grilling or frying it. However, those choosing not to pre-boil their brats will want to cook it through without burning the outside. To achieve these results, consider cooking your brats over low heat initially to ensure the inside reaches a satisfactory temperature before searing the exterior. 

Boiling your brats before throwing them on the grill or frying pan can help achieve that perfect internal cooking without the long and careful wait.

Pro Tip: We found the 8 Best RV Grills for Outside Campsite Cooking to help you grill your brats to perfection.

How to Boil a Brat

If boiling a brat is a new concept to you, you might wonder how to use this method with successful results. Boil your brat too long, and you have a rubbery mess that will leave a chewy outcome. Let’s look at a few techniques that will make your brats the talk of the block. 

boiling a brat
Easily boil a brat in water or beer with a portable camping stove.

Can You Boil a Frozen Bratwurst?

Yes, you can boil a frozen bratwurst. If you’ve found yourself ready to begin cooking your meal and realize you never took the brats out of the freezer, you don’t have to pull out the take-out menus. 

As with most meats, if you cook it straight out of the freezer, you’ll need to add a few (or more) minutes to the cooking time to ensure you’ve cooked it thoroughly. Be mindful that previously frozen meat can sometimes produce a slightly different texture after cooking. 

Can You Boil Brats in Beer?

Yes, you can boil brats in beer. One of the main reasons a person might boil their brat before throwing them on the grill is to infuse them with additional flavors.

Boiling brats in beer is a great way to bury that beer taste deep into the meat before sealing in the flavor as you fry or grill them. Choose any beer of your liking to get a perfectly flavored bratwurst. 

However, boiling brats in plain water is absolutely fine, too.

How Long Does It Take to Boil a Brat?

How long it takes to boil a brat depends on what you want to achieve. Suppose you only want to infuse the brat with extra flavors and not wholly cook it. In that case, you can simply parboil it before finishing the cooking with another method. In this case, simmering them for under 10 minutes will do the trick.

If you want to slow simmer the brat in beer, allowing them to cook all the way through, you can slow boil them for upwards of 30 minutes to achieve your desired results. 

Brats piled up on grill
Infuse your bratwurst with extra flavor by boiling them in beer.

How Do You Know When a Brat Is Done Boiling?

Curious how you’ll know when your brat is finished boiling? Simply take a look in your pot, and you’ll know. A fully cooked brat will float when cooked in beer.

If not using beer, boil your brat at a rapid boil for about 10 minutes before checking the internal temperature. A fully cooked brat should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The least amount of poking your brat with a fork is better, as puncturing the brat allows all that great flavor to flow out. 

How to Know When a Bratwurst Is Cooked to Perfection?

Your brat is cooked to perfection when the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees. You can get to this temperature by boiling, roasting, smoking, grilling, or even over a campfire. If you’d prefer not to puncture your brat, causing all of its flavor to pour out, use your tongs to check the firmness. A well-cooked brat will feel firm but bouncy to the touch. 

Brats and mushrooms cooking on a portable grill.
The interior temperature of your cooked bratwursts should be 160 degrees.

Our Favorite Bratwurst Camping Recipes

Bratwursts are the perfect camping food. They keep easily in a small RV refrigerator or camp-side cooler. You can cook them directly over a fire, on a grill, or in a cast-iron skillet. You don’t always have to boil a brat first, either. Take a look at some of our favorite bratwurst camping recipes. 

Brat & Veggie Foil Packet Meals

Foil packets are a great way to prepare a meal; toss them in the fire or grill and have a delicious meal. Throw in some brats with some of your favorite veggies, and you have the equivalent of a one-pot meal camping style.

This option for cooking brats gives you little to no clean-up and is easily customizable. They use potatoes and zucchini for this recipe, but feel free to add whatever veggies your heart desires. Boiling your brats before wrapping them in the foil will ensure your sausage is cooked through and reduce the number of times you have to return it to the fire.

Flat lay image of bratwurst and cooking spices
Mix up your bratwurst meal by cooking different vegetables to pair with them.

Cast Iron Brats with Peppers and Onions

Having a cast iron skillet in your camping supply is good planning. You can place cast iron on a grill or even directly into a campfire. Don’t forget to have some sort of hot pad to grab the handle with to protect your hands.

For this recipe, toss in some oil, veggies like peppers and onions, and your pre-boiled brats. Let your ingredients grill to perfection, and then transfer the deliciousness onto a bun. 

Pro Tip: If you’re new to campfire cooking, check out The Beginner’s Complete Guide to Cooking Over a Fire.

Campfire Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

Are you more of a dutch oven kind of person? If so, you’re in luck because you can cook up some amazing-tasting bratwurst using your favorite campfire dutch oven and this recipe.

Add some beer and sauerkraut, place it over your fire, and let the flames create a meal you won’t soon forget. If the brats are pre-cooked by boiling, you just need to thoroughly heat them. Before serving, transfer the brats to a skillet to give them a good sear. Grab a bun, and you’ll be ready for dinner. 

Easy One Pot Beer Brats | SAM THE COOKING GUY 4K

Take the Classic Camping Hot Dog Up a Notch

Hot dogs over a campfire are the classic camping dinner. But if you want to take your mealtime up a notch, consider throwing a pack of pre-boiled brats into your camping cooler. How long you boil a brat depends on your cooking method, but with some practice, you’ll have a sausage ready for an easy and satisfying camp meal. Even a simple brat on a bun is a great way to enjoy a bit more of a grownup meal as you circle the fire with some friends. 

What are your preferred toppings on your bratwurst? Tell us in the comments!

Become A Mortons On The Move Insider

Join 15,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!

About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

About Us

Sharing is caring!


Friday 16th of June 2023

Excellent story. Very informative. My wife and I were stationed in Germany for three years. I love bratwurst ! But…is it just me, or did anyone else think it was a little weird that you email title for this story is “ Fixing RV Toilets and Boiling Brats “ ?