Bavarian Kraut ‘n Brew Burger

Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.

Among all of the 50 states, more Wisconsin residents can claim a German heritage than any other. Due in part to a massive recruiting effort by the state in the 1900’s and in part to the fact that Wisconsin was similar in climate to their homeland, thousands of German immigrants populated the state. The result is an area brimming with German culture, especially evident in the local cuisine.

This hamburger combines some of the best of German flavors. A savory burger stuffed with a beer cheese, similar in taste to the Obazda cheese offered in a Bavarian beer garden, and topped with a tangy bacon and sauerkraut relish. I like to serve this on a hearty pumpernickel roll, but a good quality Kaiser roll will do in a pinch!


1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Sauerkraut Relish:
1 (16 oz) can sauerkraut, drained
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup beer, divided
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 pounds ground chuck
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons course ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable oil for brushing on grill
6 Pumpernickel hamburger rolls, split (may substitute good quality Kaiser rolls if not available)
3 tablespoons butter, softened


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Combine mustard and mayonnaise in small bowl. Cover and set aside.

Place drained sauerkraut in a medium sized bowl. Add green and red peppers, ground pepper and caraway seeds, mixing until combined. Set sauerkraut mixture aside.

Place a large, fire-proof skillet on grill. Add chopped bacon and fry until evenly browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon; drain on a paper towel and set aside. Add chopped onion to bacon grease and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar over the onions, and then add the water and the vinegar to the pan. Combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water, beating with a fork until smooth. Stir cornstarch into skillet. Cook onion mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove skillet from heat and pour contents over the sauerkraut mixture. Add the reserved bacon and stir until combined. Set sauerkraut relish aside.

In medium sized bowl, combine softened butter, cream cheese, paprika, 1/4 cup beer, minced onion and cheddar cheese. Stir together until well-blended and then set aside.

Place ground chuck in large bowl. Combine steak sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 1/4 cup beer. Add to ground chuck, mixing lightly by hand, making sure to blend thoroughly. Divide meat into six portions.

Carefully form each portion of meat into a patty. Make an indentation in the middle of each patty. Place heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture in the indentation and then, gently, to avoid compacting, close the meat around the cheese, keeping the meat in patty form.

Brush grill grates with oil. Place patties on the grill, cover and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, butter the buns and place them, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill until toasted.

To assemble burgers, generously spread the mustard sauce on both halves of each bun. On each bun bottom, place a grilled patty, followed by equal portions of sauerkraut relish. Add the top bun and serve.