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bratwurst making

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hello all. my lovely sister bought my a wonderful hand cranked, cast iron meat grinder for christmas. complete with a sausage stuffing attachment. so for new years eve i HAVE to make homemade brats.

only one problem, i keep finding way too many recipes. some uses some spices, while others use complete different spices, and then some use ALL the spices.

my question is, what spices do you recommend? should i use egg in it?

had you asked me, before i looked up recipes, what spices i thought were in brats i would have guess salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. should i just stick with those, or should i use dry mustard/paprika/caraway/the thousand others that i have seen?

thanks so much for the help!!!

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  1. If you want to make it easy for your first time you might want to use Penzeys pre-mixed bratwurst spice.

    http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzey...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      i actually thought about that, but i have a gift card to a grocery store in town, so i would prefer to get all my sausage needs there. besides, i have so much fun putting in spices!! haha. thanks!

    2. Simple answer: it depends.

      I made plenty of sausage, but never bratwurst style.
      I'd suggest to use the recipe(s) as a guide, using ingredients you think you'd like best and skipping others.
      As I often suggest on sausage threads, make notes on what you're doing to help guide you next time around until you get exactly what you want.

      2 Replies
      1. re: porker

        thank you for the reply!

        i plan on, for the most part, using a combo of many recipes. im just curious what some chowhounders think belongs in a brat i guess. my palette certainly isnt as well trained as some other hounds, so for all i know i am completely wrong about what i think im tasting in brats haha.

        as a first time sausage maker, do you have any tips for my first time? other than keeping everything very cold?

        1. re: charles_sills

          food for thought
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791420
          and
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807305
          and just today
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883680

          but admittedly, not much on bratwurst.

          I don't think your palette being trained or not is a bad thing. I'd suggest to try to figure what you like or what YOU expect in a brat: bold flavoring, or more subtle flavorings smoke/no smoke etc etc and let that help guide you.
          Me? for instance, I love fennel in an Italian sausage. I also like it h-o-t (some Italians think fennel has no business in sausage), so I started using recipes with fennel seed and chile and cayenne. I then fiddled with the recipe, adding more of this, less of that, until I had just what I was looking for.

          The keeping everything very cold thing is a bit over rated to me. If you read Ruhlman or others, they may suggest to put the meat in the freezer before grinding or keep in a bowl with ice underneath, etc
          Granted, I use a hand-crank, so there's no electric-motor generated heat to melt any fat. But I usually take a primal cut out of the fridge, butcher into strips, remove gristle, separate fat, debone, etc. The meat will go back into the fridge until I'm ready to grind. Once ground, seasoned, and mixed, the meat will go back into the fridge until I'm ready to stuff.
          So yeah, I keep it cold, but I don't go the extremes of using the freezer or ice....
          But thats me - you gotta do what you're comfortable with food safety wise (I feel having everything very clean to start with more important).

      2. http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/
        If you go to this forum they have all kind of sausage expert.

        1. So did you make the bratwurst, and was it to your liking?