Slow Cooked Cider Brats with Apple Onion Relish are the real deal ~ Midwestern style brats with a crisp apple onion relish ~ we can’t get enough of them!
I’ve got it on good authority that these Slow Cooked Cider Brats with Apple Onion Relish are exactly how they serve them at the pick-your-own apple orchards in Wisconsin. My daughter and her new husband, who’ve settled in Madison, just went last weekend. She raved about these brats and they sounded so good I quizzed her on every last detail. Brats, or bratwurst, are German sausages, and they can be made with pork, beef or veal. The ones I found at my supermarket are pork. The texture of bratwurst is a little smoother than regular sausage, and they are subtly spiced with one of my favorite spices, nutmeg.
In this recipe the brats are slow cooked in cider, and then packed into buns and loaded up with a delicious apple onion relish. Doesn’t that sound amazing?? It is…and don’t forget the mustard!
I browned the brats on a hot grill for about ten minutes to build in some flavor and color, and then I layered them in the slow cooker along with some fresh apple cider. They will be done in about 2 hours, but you can keep them there on the warm setting as long as you like. It’s the perfect idea for fall entertaining, and it is the ultimate easy game night grub — just lay out the buns and the condiments and people can come and go as they please and help themselves.
The relish is unusual and complements the warm cozy brats with a zingy crunch. I minced sweet yellow onion and peeled apple, then tossed them with cider vinegar and some toasted mustard seeds. That’s it! The vinegar keeps the apples from browning, and everything stays crisp and delicious.
The cider flavor definitely permeates the brats and lends a touch of sweetness which I loved. These brats got rave reviews from my family and I loved them, so I know I’ll be making them often this season. They’re so easy!
- 6 bratwurst sausages, with buns
- olive oil for brushing
- 6 cups apple cider
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion
- 1 medium apple
- 3-4 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- Heat a grill pan over medium high heat until quite hot,
- Brush the bratwurst with olive oil and place on the grill. Gently poke the sausage in several places with the tip of a sharp knife to vent. Grill for about 10 minutes total time, turning the sausages to brown on all sides.
- Meanwhile pour the cider into a slow cooker and turn on low.
- Put the browned sausages into the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover and cook for 2 hours. At this point you can turn the slow cooker down to the warm setting to keep the brats ready and waiting for hours.
- To make the relish, toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they start to pop. This will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Peel and mince the onion. You should have about 1 cup. Add it to a small bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of vinegar.
- Peel and mince the apple and add to the bowl, tossing well to coat all of the apple with the vinegar so it doesn't turn brown. Add the mustard seeds and toss. Add another bit of vinegar if needed to moisten the relish.
- Cover and refrigerate the relish until ready to eat.
- To serve, place a brat in a bun, slather with your favorite mustard, and load it up with the apple onion relish.
- If you want to double or triple the recipe, no need to triple the amount of cider. Just put the brats in the slow cooker and add cider to cover.
- Ultimately the success of this recipe will depend, partly, on the quality of your brats. I always by my meat products from the best supermarket in town. If you’ve got a local butcher, even better.
- The browning is an important step and even though you could skip it, I recommend taking the extra few minutes to do it, the color and flavor are worth it.
- Turn these into beer brats by substituting beer for the cider. I’d be curious to try hard cider, too.
- Use any kind of apple you like for the relish. I used a sweet apple, and next time I may try a tart Granny Smith.
I think you should drop everything and run out to the store to get the brats and cider. Let me know how you
like love them!