Wisconsin-Style Brats in Beer

Whether it's at the ball park before an early evening softball game, at a picnic table at the beach or on the patio in the backyard, summer brings about ample opportunities to enjoy outdoor entertaining. In Wisconsin, that often includes firing up the grill and enjoying the aroma of brats sizzling away after they've been long-simmering in a bath of beer and onions. It's part of the summer landscape here and I wouldn't have it any other way.

My particular version of this tradition involves slow cooking a pile of brats in a slow cooker between layers of sweet onions that have been smothered in dark beer and slices of garlic. The end result is absolutely fantastic. Even if you don't have a grill or the patience to wait for a little fire-kissing before serving, these sausages are great just out of the slow cooker. But be certain that you serve those sweet, beer-cooked onions alongside the brats. Add your favorite mustard and maybe some ketchup to a sturdy brat bun and you've got the taste of summer in your hand. Enjoy!

Slow-Cooked Brats in Beer

  • 10 fresh bratwurst sausages
  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced into rings and separated
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle beer, or as needed

Place half of the bratwurst in the bottom of a 5 quart slow cooker. Arrange half of the onions over them. Layer the remaining bratwurst over the top, and top with the remaining onions. Throw in the garlic and bay leaves. Pour the beer into the slow cooker. Add more beer if necessary to cover everything in the pot. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours.

You can either serve the brats as is, or grill them for a few minutes to add texture before serving. Either way, make sure you include the slow-cooked onions and garlic alongside other condiments and fillings for your brat buns!

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 hours

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