Friday, February 1, 2013

Beer-Glazed Bratwurst Patties on Pretzel Buns

Happy February!

The Superbowl is only 2 days away, do you know what you are making?  Even if you don't really watch the Superbowl (like me) it is almost un-American to not celebrate with some decadent pub food.  I usually make my Buffalo chicken wings and a host of other salty snacks that go down well with beer. So this year I wanted to add something new to my pub food repertoire and came up with these tasty little beauties.

I love the combination of beer and bratwurst and find it goes terrifically with a soft home made pretzel.  And that is how this sandwich was born.  WOW.  They are delicious.  You can make your own bratwurst like I did, but if you are pressed for time Johnsonville sells bratwurst patties.  If you can't find those, try removing the casings from some bratwurst and shaping them into patties. Easy.  But I feel I do need to tell you that making your own bratwurst patties is ridiculously easy and the taste is amazing.  You just need to make sure you leave enough time for the bratwurst seasonings to marry before grilling the patties (about 3 hours).

The Pretzel buns however are something you need to make yourself.  They are insanely delicious.  The original recipe is from my favorite TV food personality, Alton Brown, but I have modified it to make buns instead of pretzels.  The result is a soft and chewy dense bun that tastes like the most delicious hot pretzel ever.  When you top it with spicy mustard, a homemade bratwurst patty that has been glazed with a sticky beer sauce and caramelized onions, and some sliced pickles, you have the ultimate pub fare!  YUM

I like to serve these with cold beer and mustard potato salad with lots and lots of napkins.  I hope the Baltimore Ravens will win the game this year, but with food like this, it doesn't really matter, I will go to bed happy regardless of the outcome of the game!

Beer-Glazed Bratwurst Patties on Pretzel Buns
makes 8

Home-made Bratwurst Patties
2 lbs ground pork
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1  tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp celery seed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp ground ginger

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well with your hands, making sure that the spices are evenly distributed.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let flavors marry (the longer this sits, the better the flavors develop).

While the bratwurst is chillin' in the refrigerator, make the Pretzel Buns.

Pretzel Buns
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp kosher salt
1 package dry instant yeast
4 Tbsp butter, melted
4 1/2 cups (20 oz.) bread flour

10 cups water
2/3 cups baking soda

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbsp water (for egg wash)
Kosher salt

parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the sugar and kosher salt in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid and let stand for 10-15 minutes until yeast becomes foamy.

Add butter and flour and mix with the dough hook attachment until the dough is smooth and just cleans the sides of the bowl (about 7-10 minutes).

Place the sticky dough in a lightly oiled clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1- 1 1/2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  In a large pot heat 10 cups water until vigorously boiling.  Add 2/3 cups baking soda (the water will begin to foam and bubble).

Turn out the dough onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide evenly into 8 pieces.  With your hands roll each piece into a rope about 2 feet long.  Gently coil each rope into a bun.

Coils of pretzel dough, ready for the soda water bath...

Drop buns, two at a time into the boiling soda water and cook for 30 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon.  Place boiled buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush each bun generously with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

The boiled buns will look ugly and lumpy... 

Brushed with eggwash and sprinkled with salt, ready for the oven!

Bake 17-20 minutes until buns are a deep shiny mahogany color.  Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Piping hot pretzel buns fresh from the oven!

Sticky Beer Glaze with Caramelized onions.
2 onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 12 oz. bottles of good beer (I like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale)

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and onions over medium high heat until onions begin to caramelize.  Add brown sugar, salt and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes to caramelize the sugar slightly.  Add beer to skillet and stir to combine.  Cook over medium high heat until the liquid is completely reduced to a thick maple syrup-like consistency. Be careful not to burn  the glaze!  Remove from heat.

Form the bratwurst mixture into 8 1/4 pound patties. Grill the bratwurst patties over high heat about 3-4 minutes per side.  Immediately add hot patties to beer and onion glaze and toss to coat.


Slice a pretzel bun in half and spread with spicy mustard and mayonnaise.  Top with a glazed bratwurst patty and some caramelized onions and pickle slices.  Serve hot with lots of napkins...these babies are juicy!

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