Fresh Bratwurst Wisconsin Style

  • Active Time 45m
  • Total Time 1h 5m

Makes about 4 pounds, serves 16

Fresh Bratwurst is a simple but delicious farmer's sausage that is very popular all through the Midwest, especially in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the country's bratwurst capital. Try first poaching the tasty sausages in beer and then pan frying or grilling them. Use brats in any recipe calling for sauerkraut or in any stuffing.


  • 2 1/2 pounds lean pork butt
  • 1/2 pound fat trimmed from pork butt and/or back fat
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard, preferably Colman's
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups ground raw potatoes soaked in lemon water (optional)


TO MAKE THE SAUSAGE USING A FOOD PROCESSOR: Cut the pork butt and fat into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces. Spread the cubed meat and fat on a plate and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the meat and make it easier to chop. Put the food processor bowl and blade in the freezer as well for the same amount of time.

Set up the food processor and add just enough meat to cover the blade (about 1 pound). Pulse to form chunks about 3/8 inch in size. Put the chopped meat into a large bowl and refrigerate.

Repeat the process for each batch of meat, adding the chopped meat to the bowl and keeping it cold. Finally, process the fat into smaller pieces, about 1/4 inch, and mix it with the meat.

Add all the other ingredients, including any or all of the optional ones, to the meat and fat. Mix everything together with your hands, squeezing and kneading to blend the mixture well. Do not overmix, however, to the point where the fat begins to melt. The point of this kneading is just to get all the ingredients well distributed. Make a small patty of the sausage meat and fry it in a small pan over medium heat. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and sugar as necessary.

TO MAKE THE SAUSAGE IN A MEAT GRINDER: You can use a hand-cranked or electric meat grinder to make sausage. (The grinder attachment to the KitchenAid mixer works very well.) You need to have the type of grinder with interchangeable plates with varying hole sizes. Chill the meat in the freezer as above before cutting up the meat and fat separately. You can cut the meat into strips rather than cubes to save a little time, but either will do. Chill the strips or cubes on a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Using a 3/8-inch plate, grind the lean strips of meat and place the ground meat in a large bowl in the refrigerator. Change to a 1/4-inch grinder plate and grind the fat. Combine the meat, fat and remaining ingredients and mix and knead as described above. Fry a small patty and adjust the salt, pepper and sugar as necessary.

At this point, the sausage is ready to use, although its flavors will mellow and improve if allowed to rest for a day in the refrigerator in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. The sausage will keep 2 to 3 days. Or you can wrap it in plastic wrap or foil in 1/2-pound packages and freeze it for up to 3 months. You can also stuff the mixture into sausage casings.

NOTE: You can lower the fat content by adding the optional raw potato, but be sure to fry a patty to taste for salt and other seasonings.

Serving size = 4 ounces

Recipe reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

RecID 5944

nutrition information per serving

217 calories; 15g total fat; 61mg cholesterol; 496mg sodium; 4g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 15g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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