5 (3-Ingredient) Slow-Cooker Sauces for Brats and Burgers

5 (3-Ingredient) Slow-Cooker Sauces for Brats and Burgers

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Kelli Foster
Jun 15, 2016
(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

Ketchup and mustard are classic summertime condiments. And while I certainly have nothing against them, sometimes the occasion calls for a burger, hot dog, or brat topping that's a bit more satisfying, sophisticated, or fun. Making a sauce that meets any (and perhaps even all) of those qualities doesn't take much — especially when you've got the slow cooker to help out.

3-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Sauces to Upgrade Burgers and Brats

These sauces go a long way. They're surprisingly simple (hello, three ingredients!) and totally impressive at the same time. You can't ask for much more than that.

What makes these sauces stand out isn't just their taste or power to really elevate your burgers and brats (although they excel at both) — it's how easy they are to pull together. You'd never know it from the taste, but each of these sauces requires no more than three ingredients. And to top it off, the slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you.

(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

1. Caramelized Fennel + Brown Sugar

We already know you can make caramelized onions in the slow cooker, so this summer let's take that technique one step further. With the help of a little brown sugar and low, slow cooking, a thinly sliced fennel bulb gets transformed into a thick sauce with a deeply rich, savory flavor with a hint of sweetness and a touch of anise aroma.

Combine 1 large, thinly sliced fennel bulb, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, set to LOW, and cook for four to six hours, until the fennel is browned and softened, and the sauce reaches your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

2. Red Cabbage + Vinegar + Grainy Mustard

Think of this as your summertime version of stewed cabbage. Cooked down longer to make it a perfect saucy topping, it's just as satisfying, but with a brighter, tangier flavor to match the season.

Combine 1/2 head of red cabbage (cored and shredded), 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, set to LOW, and cook for four to five hours, until the cabbage is softened. Serve immediately.

(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

3. Carrot + ACV + Sugar

Meet the super-simple veggie-based barbecue sauce that will take you through summer. Carrots are the star of the show, picking up a little added tang that we expect with our BBQ from a dose of apple cider vinegar.

Combine 1 pound carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices), 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, set to LOW, and cook for five to six hours, until the carrots are softened and starting to break down. Purée the mixture and serve immediately or keep warm on low before serving.

(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

4. Mushrooms + White Wine + Vinegar

Simple and classy is the name of the game with this slightly tangy mushroom and white wine sauce.

Add 16 ounces cremini mushrooms (stems removed and sliced thin), 1/2 cup white wine, 1 cup white wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, set to LOW, and cook for six to eight hours. Serve immediately.

(Image credit: Andrea D'Agosto)

5. White Cheddar + Wheat Beer + Dijon

Because the only thing better than classic cheese is this version that gets a major upgrade with the addition of some (perfect-for-summer) wheat beer and tangy Dijon mustard.

Add 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese, 12 ounces wheat beer, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover with the lid, set to LOW, and cook for two to three hours. Stir and serve immediately.

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