We get many requests for instructions on how to cook our bratwursts, bacon, smoked meats and meat in general. Wurstmeister Mike has compiled a handy cooking guide for our products and some general cooking information.
HOW TO COOK BACON
There are many ways to cook bacon but Wurstmeister Mike’s favorite way is to bake it in the oven!
Cook Perfect Bacon in the Oven
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack the baking sheet. Lay the bacon in a single layer on the wire rack, pieces not overlapping. Place the pan in a cold oven and turn the oven on at 400 degrees. Cook bacon for 12 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Enjoy!
Bacon Buying & Eating Tips
If bacon sputters a lot in the pan chances are it had water added. Water dilutes flavor but adds weight. Cheap bacon has liquid smoke added to enhance the smokiness. Watch out for strange ingredients on the label. Most of us have eaten wet cured bacon which means it was cured in a brine. It is sweeter and a real crowd-pleaser. Dry cured bacon, cured without brine, is very intense and harder to find. It’s not for everyone and a little goes a long way.
At Hermann Wurst Haus, we dry cure bacon and hickory smoke for hours. Sold by the slices per pound or slab so you can slice as you go. Our Grand Champion bacon is sugar cured, hickory smoked in 8 wonderful, addictive, OMG flavors.
HOW TO COOK BACON STEAKS
Unwrap bacon steaks and season the bacon with some brown sugar. Put bacon on hot grill to caramelize on direct heat. After approximately 15 minutes move to indirect heat and let it continue to get as crispy as you want it. After moving bacon steak from indirect heat, put your baked potato and ear of corn on the direct heat and grill until done. ENJOY!!
HOW TO COOK BREAKFAST SAUSAGE LINKS
Pan fry or oven cook at 300°F for 10 minutes. The internal temperature should be 155°F and they are done! Enjoy!
HOW TO COOK BRATWURST
We produce both fresh and hickory smoked bratwurst. Basically, fresh bratwurst must be fully cooked and hickory smoked bratwurst just have to be reheated. The label on the package will say reheating required or it will say cooking required.
How to Cook a Fresh Bratwurst
Grilling a bratwurst does not mean you have to boil it in beer, water or other liquid. In fact I prefer you not boil ours at all, because what happens is you boil out some of our wonderful flavored seasonings and spices, then you take this wonderful flavored beer/water and pour it down the drain. You usually boil the brats first to make the casings tender but our casings are already tender because of our quality and the process. A brat should be grilled off to the side so it gets softer heat. The casing is very tender and cannot take much heat or it will split. Once it splits, you lose natural juices. Natural juices are natural juices. You can’t put them back in. Grill at lower temps (250°F) until internal temp is 150°F (use a meat thermometer).
How to Cook a Hickory Smoked Bratwurst
A fully cooked Hickory Smoked Bratwurst is a great way to create a fun, fast, tasty meal in just 6 minutes; excellent for sporting events, tailgating, family events, lunch, dinner or a large group. Reheating means warm to the touch; you can accomplish this by microwaving for 55 seconds, heating in the oven for 4 minutes or grilling for 6 minutes. You will know the brat is done when it’s warm to the touch. Cooking a bratwurst requires thorough cooking at higher temperatures; cook to an internal temperature of 152°F which means 290°F while cooking the brat. After the brat is cooked, maintain a temp not higher than 190°F to keep warm. Try to keep the heat gentle so the casing does not split, if it splits, you lose the natural juices, which can’t be replaced.
HOW TO GRILL CHICKEN
Wurstmeister Mike considers himself pretty good at grilling chicken too. He likes to grill chicken breasts and whole chickens.
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts have hundreds of uses and are easy to prepare. Keep in the freezer and toss on the grill. We love the chicken breast because of its lean composition which prevents fatty flare-ups over a flame. Unfortunately, the lack of fat as insulation can result in chicken jerky if not grilled with care. Here are a few tips to help you easily grill juicy chicken in just minutes.
Preheat the grill to high
Rinse the breasts under cold running water, drain and blot dry with paper towels.
Create a uniform thickness by using a rolling pin or mallet to pound out thick areas; this helps the meat cook more uniformly.
Season the meat with a combination of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Oil the grill grate and arrange the breasts in the same direction. After 2 minutes, use tongs to rotate the breasts 45 degrees to create crosshatch grill marks. Baste the breast with oil or butter as they cook to lock in moisture.
Flip and repeat. The internal temperature of chicken should reach 160°F when properly cooked.
We sell two flavors of marinated chicken breasts, Sun-Dried Tomato Basil and Garlic Butter. Oh my goodness they are amazing….
How to Grill the Perfect Whole Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken on the grill is the perfect way to get tender breast meat, juicy legs and crispy golden skin. The process is simple and just takes a little know how.
To start, you will want to pick the right chicken…this depends mostly on the number of people you intend to feed. Most grocers will have 3-4 options. Cornish game hens have a rather misleading label, as they are never game birds and not always hens. They are just small chickens under a month of age, have at least one Cornish breed parent, and weigh less than 2 lbs. They provide meat that is very juicy, but not of strong flavor. The grill will provide plenty of flavors, so the Cornish game hen is good option. Broilers and fryers are two bigger bird options available in most markets.
Remove and discard the giblets and extra fat right inside the body cavity. Rinse the chicken inside and out and blot dry with paper towels.
Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird. You may want to put a peeled garlic clove, bay leaf, lemon zest, or rosemary in the body and neck cavities for extra flavoring.
Truss the legs of the bird using butcher’s string. This step helps the meat cook more thoroughly and maintain the ideal shape of the bird for serving.
Set up the grill for rotisserie cooking. Rotisserie cooking provides slow, gentle heat that doesn’t dry out the breast meat and as the bird warms the fat melts beneath the skin and bastes the meat continually. If cooking with charcoal, heat the coals then crate a row in front and behind where the chicken will rotate.Similarly, turn the front and back burners on the gas grill, leaving the center cool. A drip pan should be placed under the bird.
Place the chicken on the spit and cook, covered if possible for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Every 15 minutes, baste the rotating bird with the drippings caught in the pan.
The bird should reach an internal temperature of 180°F in the inner thigh muscle. A second test is to make sure the juices run clear when the thigh is punctured with a sharp knife or skewer. The meat should stand for 5-10 minutes before carving.
We recommend using our fully cooked, Hickory Smoked Sugar Cured Chicken or our Marinated Chicken Breasts, Garlic Butter and Sun-Dried Tomato Basil.
HOW TO GRILL STEAK
How to Grill the Perfect Steak 101
While we no longer have to hunt down bison or dodge flying embers while balancing a brazier grill on wobbly legs, stepping up to the grill can still seem daunting. With a few tips from the Wurstmeister, you’ll be serving up the perfect steak in no time!
Pick your beef. Tender cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin, porterhouse, New York Strip, Shell Steak and Flat Iron are good choices for he grill. Fibrous steaks such as skirt and flank can be thinly sliced on the diagonal to create a good eating experience. Tough cuts like the chuck and blade steak do best when cooked long and slow so they should be avoided.
Think quality. Beef grades (prime, choice, select, standard) can provide valuable insight as to how the meat will grill up. Choice steaks are widely available and are easy for even the newest griller to keep tender and juicy. Select steaks have a lesser amount of marbling, or intramuscular fat, so they dry out more quickly during cooking.
Preheat the grill. Charcoal grills should be heated to medium; at this temperature you should be able to hold the palm of your hand near cooking height for about four seconds before the heat causes discomfort. Heating times vary greatly for gas grills based on size and design, but should come with instructions.
Season the steaks. A simple, generous application of salt and pepper can provide great flavor. A course grain salt like sea salt will dissolve more slowly and hold up over the flame better than fine table salt. More elaborate rubs consist of a variety of seasonings pressed onto the meat’s surface before grilling. This can include anything from dry herbs and spices to a paste of crushed garlic, mustard or soy sauce combined with dry seasonings. If a few last minute seasonings seem too simple, marinades can be utilized to prepare steaks in advance. Tender cuts can be marinated from 15 minutes to 2 hours or a tenderizing marinade can be used for at least 6 hours but not more than 24 hours before grilling. The acidic qualities of lemon, vinegar, Italian dressing or wine can penetrate and tenderize steaks in a food-safe plastic bag, glass or stainless steel container. It is important to marinate in the refrigerator and to never save and reuse a marinade.
Oil the grill. Prepare your heated grill by rubbing a piece of steak fat or an oiled rag along the surface you plan to place the steak.
Get Grilling! Steaks should be lined up in the same direction. After about 2 minutes, a 45°F rotation will create the famous crosshatch square grill marks. Small beads of blood will appear on the surface in the next few minutes indicating the steak is ready to be flipped with grill tongs (the holes of a fork would allow the steak juices to run out).
Is it done yet? To get technical, the internal temperature of a steak should reach 145°F and ground beef should reach 160°F. But, feel is also a great indicator of doneness. A rare steak will be soft and yielding when pressed, similar to the flesh at the base of your thumb and forefinger when you bring them loosely together. A medium steak will be slightly resistant to the touch, comparable to when you make a loose fist. A well done steak will be firm to the touch like the feel at the base of your thumb and forefinger when you tightly clench your hand.
Wait 2 to 3 minutes. With the tempting smell of fresh cooked beef, it’s easy to get in a rush to dig in; however, letting the meat rest for 2-3 minutes will give the juices time to move from the center of the meat to the exterior making the entire steak more juicy and flavorful.
And there you have it…in under 10 steps you can be serving up delicious steaks all summer long. While we have come a long way from primitive campfires, the lure of the flame still burns bright in grills around the world.
HOW TO COOK HICKORY SMOKED HAM
Since our hams are fully cooked, they only require reheating. Reheating means warm to the touch. You can achieve this by preheating your oven, put the ham into a pan with ¼ inch water or other liquid of your choice and heat uncovered at 240°F for about 2-3 hours depending on the size of the ham. Add a glaze the last 30 minutes, when it’s warm to the touch, serve and eat. We are partial to our Black Forest Ham Glaze, that we sell in the store here or on-line.
Do not over heat as our hams have only natural juices added and no extra added water, extra water only cheapens the ham and produces a low quality ham.
HOW TO REHEAT A HICKORY SMOKED TURKEY
Our Hickory-Smoked Turkeys are fully cooked, ready to heat and serve. Here’s how I recommend reheating:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove turkey from the package.
Place turkey, breast side up, on flat rack in shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep.
Cover pan with foil.
Insert meat thermometer into the thigh without touching the bone.
Place turkey in a preheated oven and heat for approximately 1 hour, when the internal temperature reaches 140°F
Begin checking the turkey for doneness about 30 minutes before the recommended cook time.
Your turkey is ready when the meat thermometer reaches 140°F in thigh.
Carve and serve immediately with your favorite sides and glass of local wine or Wurst Haus beer!
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT HAMBURGER
McDonalds sells more than 75 hamburgers every second! It is clear, Americans love the beefy goodness found in all variations of the classic burger. While it is easy to pull through a drive thru, even a Big Mac can’t compare to burgers hot off the backyard grill. With a few hints from the Wurstmeister, you will be serving up simple and delicious burgers in no time.
For the Burgers (serves 6):
2 1/4 lbs. hamburger, ground round, chuck or sirloin
2 tbs unsalted, melted butter or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 hamburger buns
6 slices (1/2 inch thick) Vidalia or other sweet onion (optional)
For the Toppings (any or all):
Iceberg lettuce leaves
Sliced dill or sweet pickles
Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
Preheat the grill to high
Lightly wet hands and form 6 rounded patties, avoid over handling the patties
Wash any cutting boards and bowls with hot water and plenty of soap after raw meat preparation
Oil the grill grate
Brush one side of the patties and onion slices with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Place butter side down on the grill for approximately 4 minutes.
Add butter and seasoning to topside before turning with a spatula and cooking for about 4 minutes. All burgers should reach an internal temperature of 160°F to kill any potential food contamination.
During final 2 minutes of cook time, warm buns by buttering cut sides and placing on the grill. Set out toppings, place burgers and onion on buns and serve.
HOW TO MAKE CROSS-HATCH GRILL MARKS
Cross-Hatch Grill Marks
Almost anyone can heat up the grill and produce burgers, steaks or chicken breasts that smell and taste great. However, cross-hatch grill marks can easily take your entree from looking grilled by an amateur to expert. This professional look can be mastered by cleaning and preheating the grill to high. Place the steaks or chops onto the grate, lined up in the same direction. Wait 2 minutes before using a spatula or tongs to rotate the meat. A 45 degree rotation will create a diagonal cross-hatch or a 90 degree rotation will make a square crosshatch. After about 2 more minutes, flip the meat and repeat the procedure. Exact cooking times will vary depending on preference for doneness and meat type.
The Artistic Method or The Scientific Method
The only remotely tricky part about barbecuing and grilling is knowing when the meat is done. Aficionados use the “poke” method, which is surprisingly accurate when used by a seasoned griller, but for bigger cuts of meat, nothing beats the “scientific” method for assessing doneness.
The Artistic Method
The touch and poke method is best for testing the doneness of steaks, chops, chicken breasts, and fish fillets. Press the thickest part of the steak or chop with your finger. When rare, it will feel soft and yielding, a bit like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger, when you bring them loosely together.
When it is medium, the meat will feel slightly resistant – like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger when you make a loose fist.
When well done, the meat will feel resistant and springy – like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger when you make a tight fist.
To test a whole chicken, insert a trussing needle or skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should come out clear. You can also try wiggling the drumstick, it should feel very loose. Or make a cut between the leg and the body. There should be no redness at the joint, unless you are smoking the chicken, smoking imparts a natural pink color to meats.
To test fish for doneness, press the thick part with your finger. the flesh should break into large, firm flakes and should pull away from the bone quite easily.
The Scientific Method
What about large cuts of meats.The real test is to check the internal temperature with an instant read meat thermometer. This device is available at any cookware/BBQ shop. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat, but without touching any bones. Here is a broad guide to doneness:
Beef and Lamb
Rare – 140°F
Medium rare – 150°F
Medium – 160°F
Well done – 170°F
Rare – 150°F
Medium – 160°F
Well done – 170°F
Chicken and Turkey
Medium – 160°F
Well done – 170°F
Whether you buy your sausage meat, raise and butcher your own livestock, bag your own game, or catch your own fish, there is one cardinal rule that must be followed faithfully. That is, all meat, every source of protein, must be very, very fresh. Ground up meat has a proportionately greater surface area than the same weight before it is ground. The more surface area, the larger the breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees. This means that your fresh ingredients must be kept cold as much as possible so that bacteria will not have a chance to reproduce and taint the meat. Keep it cold, clean and covered until you are ready to make your wurst!
In big game, especially, the strongest flavor is found in the fat of the animal. Unless you really relish the strongest of gamey flavors, it is best to trim the fat from game animals and replace it in a recipe with pork or beef fat, both of which tend to be mild-tasting. Because wild animals are quite active and develop their muscles, their meat is usually quite lean. To make sausage, you will definitely need to add fat.
Ground Beef is often labeled using the cut of meat that it is ground from (ground chuck, round, or sirloin). It can also be labeled according to fat content. Our ground chuck is sold frozen in convenient 10-1# pkgs, 10lb bundled together and are 91% lean.