Pecan Smoked Bratwurst

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We recommended this recipe to a friend of ours the day before a KCBS BBQ competition. He wanted to tackle the sausage category and asked us for help. Having never heard of this recipe before, he went with it and took third place! The Sugar Maple Seasoning is a perfect compliment to the bratwurst flavor complex, and the lingering notes of pecan smoke will leave you stunned!

• It all starts with a high quality bratwurst. Straight-up bratwurst is our favorite, but artisan sausage makers are doing all kind of creative things with flavored brats—beer and Old Bay anyone? If you’re all about unique flavors, go crazy!

• Preheat the smoker to 325 degrees. **

• While the smoker is heating up, remove the casings from the brats. This is something not many people do, but we like the softer texture and the the way the smoke permeates the whole brat.

• Liberally dust the bratwurst with John Henry’s Sugar Maple Seasoning.

• Add two to three chunks of pecan wood or a heaping handful of pecan pellets to your smoker.

• Put the brats on the smoker and smoke for 30-40 minutes.

• Start checking the internal temperature of the brats after 25 minutes. When they hit 160-165 degrees internal temp, they’re ready to go! 160 is the FDA standard minimum temp to cook ground meat, and going much higher is not only unnecessary, but will start drying your brats out.

• Place the brats on a serving platter and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes.

• Serve on a steak roll and drizzle with sauce. Nothing complicated- they don’t need it! Enjoy all the compliments coming your way from delighted friends and family.

** Not all smokers are designed to run this hot. Always consult your owner’s manual. A charcoal grill set up for indirect grilling would also serve the purpose nicely.

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