Smoking meats imparts a rustic, woodsy flavour to your food, giving it greater depth and interest. Bratwurst sausages can be cooked on a smoker with or without added herb and spice rubs or barbecue sauce. Brats with natural casings allow the smoke flavour to penetrate the meat to the centre of the sausage, so look for brats that are made with hog or sheep casings to obtain the best smoked flavour. Use any type of hardwood to smoke your brats, though hickory, oak and mesquite compliment the savoury, spicy flavours of bratwurst.
Prepare your smoker with your chosen hardwood according to manufacturer's directions until you reach and can hold a temperature of 82.2 degrees C (180 degrees F) in the smoker.
Rub the brats lightly with vegetable oil. Choose a mild flavoured oil such as canola.
Apply your dry rub or barbecue sauce, if desired. Consider smoking half of your sausages plain and adding flavour to the other half so that you can determine which style you like best.
Place the sausages on the grate of the smoker. Close the smoker.
Smoke the sausages for approximately two hours, or until they have reached an internal temperature of 71.1 degrees C (160 degrees F). Remove the sausages from the smoker and allow them to stand for 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute evenly.
If you have room, smoke other cuts of meat at the same time as the brats to maximise the use of your hardwoods. All beef and pork products should reach an internal temperature of at least 71.1 degrees C (160 degrees F) for safe consumption.