Enjoy German flavors for your next tailgate, backyard cookout, or Oktoberfest with my recipe for Oktoberfest burgers.
Now today considered the world’s largest festival, Oktoberfest originated as the wedding celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and princess Therese from Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich came out to participate in the festivities which closed with horse races in front of the royal duo. As a result of the popularity the first year, adecision to repeat the horse races in subsequent years turned a singular celebration into a festival known around the world as Oktoberfest. Bavarian agriculture was a highlight in 1811 with the addition of an agricultural fair. Due to the growing popularity for all ages, the next years saw the addition of amusements such as carousels, swings and other fairground attractions. Over time the early beer stands gave way to beer tents and halls sponsored by the large breweries. The original horse races that were the most popular of the festivities are no longer held but every three years the agricultural show still occurs.
While it’s hard to beat authentic regional cuisine, I hope you will find these as a nice alternative to the usual brat, sauerbraten, schnitzel offerings of Oktoberfest.
Sauerkraut adds moisture to these ground pork burgers flavored with a German seasoning blend. Steam the pretzel rolls by wrapping in moist paper towels and then warming in a microwave for 20 seconds to soften and lighten them.
German Seasoning Blend:
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons milk
¾ cup sauerkraut, drained and pressed dry
1 ½ lbs. ground pork
4 teaspoons German Seasoning blend (see above)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sliced Swiss Cheese
Coarse Grained Mustard
Bread & Butter Pickle Slices
Combine caraway seed, marjoram, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a small sauté pan. Heat over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until the mixture becomes fragrant. Pour toasted spices into a spice grinder (coffee grinder used specifically for spices). Add the remaining spices and blend until mixed and finely ground. Store in an airtight container.
Tear up bread into small pieces in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the milk to moisten and let sit for 10 minutes to soften the bread. While bread is soaking, coarsely chop the drained sauerkraut. Mash up the bread. Place the ground pork in a large bowl and sprinkle with the German seasoning blend, the salt and pepper, and add the soaked bread and sauerkraut. Gently mix until the mixture is evenly blended. Divide into 4-6 balls and pat out into patties, about 1-inch thick. Grill or pan-fry until patties are cooked through. Place cheese on top during the last few minutes of cooking so that it can melt. Steam the buns, spread with mustard and top with burgers and pickle slices.