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Have a Build-Your-Own Bratwurst Bar Party

A bratwurst bar is the perfect way to serve sausage. It’s easy, and your guests will love it. Win/win! It’s perfect for game day or an Oktoberfest party.

Cooking the Bratwurst

Of course, you could barbecue them, but the best way to cook brats for a large crowd is in the slow cooker. And you can keep them warm in there, too.

  1. Brown bratwurst sausages in a skillet.
  2. Put them in a large slow cooker with 2 onions, sliced, 1/4 cup butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover with 3 bottles of beer. (Or 4 cups of beef broth, or a mixture of both equal to 4 cups.)
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours.

Setting Up the Bratwurst Bar

At the start:

Buffet tables are usually arranged from left to right, unless your room arrangement calls for it to be different.

  • plates large enough for a brat on a bun and sides is first
  • platter or cutting board with selection of sausage buns, already sliced open
  • slow cooker with bratwurst, tongs in spoon rest
  • hot dogs, if serving for children


Toppings should be served in a way that they are easy to manage with one hand – in a squeeze bottle or serving dish with a spoon or ladle for each item. Hot items should be served in a fondue pot, slow cooker or small warming pot and kept hot while on the bratwurst bar.

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (yellow & stone ground)
  • Relish
  • Onion slices
  • Grilled onions
  • Chili
  • Bacon strips, cooked
  • Crispy shredded hash browns
  • Nacho cheese
  • Shredded cheese
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Marinated peppers
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cole slaw
  • Pickle spears
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Applesauce (for kids)

Side Dishes

Set salad bowls in large containers of crushed ice to keep them safe, and hot items should be kept hot in a slow cooker or warming pot. (See our article on Buffet Food Safety for more information.) Each dish should have its own serving spoon.

Have small plates available for those who are vegan or who don’t want a bratwurst on a bun, so they don’t have to stand in line and can skip ahead of those choosing toppings.

  • Coleslaw
  • German potato salad
  • Baked beans
  • Grilled corn on the cob


Hand-held desserts are the best option. You can offer them as the last food selection on your buffet table, or make a separate table just for beverages and desserts.

  • brownies
  • cookies
  • cupcakes


Beverages can be served at the end the buffet table. If the table is in a different room or far from the seating area, it’s better to have a separate serving area closeby so they can help themselves to more than one serving or selection.

Keep chilled beer, wine and cold water or soft drinks in a large container of crushed ice to keep them cold. It’s a good idea to offer a hot beverage choice as well.

Utensils & Napkins

These are ready to grab and go, no decisions or prepping necessary. Stand utensils in glasses to make them accessible or wrap them in a large napkin. (But make more napkins available too because toppings can topple.)

Or . . . put them on the dining table or coffee table in the eating area so they don’t have to carry them.

  • forks for beans or salad
  • lots of big napkins (make sure paper ones are colorfast)

Hope these tips help you have a great brat bar. Prost!

It’s your turn.

Did this help you with planning your bratwurst bar?

If you had a bratwurst party, tell us all about it and include a photo in the comments.


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