Last Updated on July 22, 2023 by Shari Mason
Bratwurst, a type of German sausage, is a popular dish many people worldwide enjoy. Whether grilled, pan-fried, or boiled, brats are a delicious addition to any meal.
However, once cooked or purchased, the question arises – how long do brats last in the fridge? Proper storage of bratwurst is crucial to ensure that they remain safe to eat and retains their quality.
We will explore the factors that affect the shelf life of brats in the fridge, how to store them properly, and how to tell if they have gone bad.
How Long Are Brats Good For In The Fridge?
Unopened bratwursts or brats can last in the fridge for up to 14 days or 2 weeks. Once opened, they can last for 1 to 2 days as with other uncooked sausages.
The shelf life of bratwurst  in the fridge depends on several factors, such as whether they are cooked or raw, how they are stored, and the type of packaging they are in.
However, it’s important to note that these are only guidelines, and the actual shelf life can vary depending on various factors.
Additionally, before consuming them, it’s essential to always check the brats for any signs of spoilage, such as a sour smell, slimy texture, or discoloration.
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Can You Freeze Bratwurst?
Yes, you can freeze bratwurst to extend its shelf life. Freezing is an effective way to keep brats fresh for extended periods, and it’s relatively easy to do.
To freeze brats, placing them in an airtight container or a freezer bag is best, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Proper packaging helps to prevent freezer burn, which can damage the texture and flavor of the brats.
“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”– Otto von Bismarck, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Prussia
When freezing, it’s essential to label the packaging with the date and type of bratwurst so you can keep track of its shelf life.
Frozen brats can last up to two to three months in the freezer and can be defrosted in the fridge or microwave or by placing them in cold water.
However, it’s important to note that freezing can affect the texture of brats so that they may be less juicy or tender than fresh brats.
Signs That They Might Have Gone Bad
- Foul Odor: If the brats have a sour or rotten odor, they are likely spoiled and should be discarded.
- Slimy Texture: Spoiled brats may have a slimy or sticky texture. Fresh brats should have a firm texture and feel slightly dry to the touch.
- Discoloration: If the brats have turned grey or brown, it’s a sign that they have started to spoil.
- Mold: If you see any signs of mold  on the brats, it’s a clear indication that they have gone bad and should not be consumed.
- Expired Date: If the brats have passed their expiration date, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard them.
How To Prepare Brats
- Grilling: Grilling is a popular way to prepare brats, giving them a delicious smoky flavor. Heat the grill to medium heat and place the brats on the grill grates, turning them occasionally until they are browned on all sides.
- Pan-Frying: Pan-frying is a quick and easy way to cook brats. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Place the brats in the skillet and cook them, occasionally turning, until they are browned on all sides.
- Boiling: Boiling is another popular method for cooking brats. Place the brats in a pot of boiling water and cook them for 10-15 minutes or until they are cooked through.
- Baking: Baking is a simple way to cook brats in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the brats on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the brats are cooked through.
Tips On How To Store Bratwurst Properly
- Refrigerate promptly: After purchasing or cooking bratwurst, refrigerate it promptly at a temperature of 40°F or below. It’s essential to refrigerate brats within two hours of cooking or purchase them within one hour if the temperature is above 90°F.
- Use airtight containers: Store bratwurst in airtight containers or plastic wrap to prevent exposure to air and moisture, which can cause them to spoil faster.
- Store raw and cooked separately: Keep raw and cooked bratwurst separate to avoid cross-contamination. Store them in different containers, and use different utensils for handling them.
- Label and date: Label and date the packaging with the date of purchase or the date of cooking. This helps you track how long the brats have been stored and when they need to be used.
- Freeze if not using soon: If you’re not planning to use the brats within a few days, freeze them to extend their shelf life.
- Thaw properly: If you’re thawing frozen brats, do it in the fridge or cold water. Never thaw brats at room temperature or warm water, as this can promote bacterial growth.
How long can cooked sausage stay out of the fridge?
Cooked sausage may be kept out of the fridge for two hours. After this time, harmful bacteria can start to grow, and the sausage may not be safe to eat.
Can bratwurst give you food poisoning?
Yes, you can get food poisoning from uncooked sausages like bratwurst. Consuming spoiled or undercooked bratwurst can lead to food poisoning, which can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Can you freeze grilled brats?
Yes, you can freeze grilled brats. It’s also essential to store them properly in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and maintain their flavor.
Bratwurst can be a delicious and versatile addition to any meal, but it’s essential to store them properly to maintain their quality and ensure they are safe to eat.
Brats can last in the fridge for up to fourteen days if stored properly, but it’s essential to check them for any signs of spoilage before consuming them.
Following proper storage and preparation techniques, you can enjoy delicious and safe bratwurst for any occasion.
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