If you love bratwurst, you must have tried cooking it in different ways. One of the best methods that you can try is the crockpot technique. This method of cooking allows you to have tender and juicy brats without any hassles. However, cooking brats in a crockpot can vary depending on a few key factors. In this article, we will discuss how long to cook brats in crockpot along with some essential tips to ensure your bratwurst comes out perfectly.
Advantages of cooking brats in a crockpot
Before jumping into cooking brats in a crockpot, let's talk about its benefits. The biggest advantage of this cooking method is how easy it is, you practically just set it and forget it. The crockpot helps the brats to cook slowly in their own juices, which results in a flavorful and juicy outcome. Unlike grilling, you don't have to worry about the brats drying out or charring on the outside. Lastly, you don't have to babysit this method, such as cooking the sausages on the grill or on the stovetop, this gives anyone a break in the kitchen.
Another advantage of cooking brats in a crockpot is that it allows for easy meal prep. You can add all the necessary ingredients, such as onions, peppers, and seasonings, into the crockpot with the brats and let it cook for several hours. This means that you can prepare the meal in advance and have it ready to serve when you're ready to eat. Additionally, cooking brats in a crockpot is a great option for feeding a crowd, as you can easily make a large batch without having to worry about space on the grill or stovetop.
Choosing the right type of bratwurst for crockpot cooking
Choosing the right type of bratwurst plays a crucial role in the outcome of your dish. Go for the uncooked and raw fresh brats that aren’t already pre-cooked. Choose brats made with a firmer meat since it has more fat for the best flavor. There are numerous varietals of bratwurst out there, for a milder taste and texture, you can go for classic pork brats. For a more robust taste, you may try a heavier, German-style bratwurst that includes different seasonings, such as garlic, nutmeg, and allspice.
Preparing brats for crockpot cooking
There are a few things you must do before you start cooking brats in a crockpot. Begin by cleaning them well with cold water, and then remove any packaging or label from the bratwursts. Place the brats in the crockpot, and make sure not to overcrowd them. It is essential to cook them evenly, so ensure that each piece has enough space to cook without touching each other.
Essential ingredients and seasonings for crockpot brats
To make the most flavorful bratwursts, you must also choose the correct spices and ingredients. This makes a huge difference in the taste of your dish. Basic seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder are essential. Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce provide additional depth and taste. Lastly, beer and sauerkraut is a classic combo that can be added to the crockpot to increase the taste.
How to set up your crockpot for bratwurst cooking
Before adding your brats to the crockpot, ensure that you have enough liquid in the pot to help distribute heat evenly. You can add a bottle of beer or broth as the primary liquid. The liquids add flavor and ensure the brats are cooked evenly. Once you have added the liquids, add in the bratwursts, sprinkle the seasonings on top of them. Then, just make sure that the lid of your crockpot is tightly secured to keep that slow-cooked heat inside.
Cooking times and temperature settings for different types of bratwurst
Each crockpot is different, but most crockpot cooking should take between 4 and 6 hours. Ideally, on low heat, you would cook your brats on the slow cooker for at least 4 to 6 hours for thicker hearty brats, and two to three hours for thinner and softer bratwursts. It is advisable to follow a recipe to get the timing right. The brats should reach a temperature of 160°F to be considered safe to eat. Consider using a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the brats.
Tips to ensure even cooking and proper texture of your crockpot brats
To ensure even cooking, gently stir the brats occasionally during the cooking time. This will help them to cook evenly and avoid hot spots in your crockpot. If you have high fat content in the meat of your bratwurst, make sure to prepare paper towels to blot the oil out once you have removed them from the crockpot. This ensures the brats have the best texture and do not become greasy.
Testing the doneness of your bratwurst in a crockpot
The best way to check if your bratwursts are cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Check if the temperature in the center of the brats has reached 160-degrees. The other easy way is to slice the bratwursts down the middle. If the inside is no longer pink, it’s cooked. If you are still unsure, cook for a bit longer to ensure the meat is correctly cooked.
Serving suggestions and recipe ideas using crockpot-cooked brats
Crockpot-cooked brats are usually moist and tender, perfect for any season. You can serve your bratwurst in a variety of ways. Serve them as traditional hot dogs, or as part of a meal alongside some sides like sauerkraut, warm German potato salad, roasted red potatoes, etc. You may also add your favorite toppings like cheese, caramelized onions, and peppers for a more complex flavor. Other bratwurst inspired recipes that you can dish up are cheddar bratwurst soup, bratwurst and pepper skillet, and even bratwurst sliders.
Now that you have learned how long to cook brats in a crockpot, you can try this method on your next barbecue party or luncheon. Remember to choose your brats wisely, prepare them well, add the right spices, liquids and ensure even cooking. Once mastered, crockpot brats may become your new go-to way to cook bratwursts.