Grill party Hamburgers mit Sauerkraut und Schweizer Käse

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.

My inspiration was a generations old family recipe for Brown Sugar Mustard and my German heritage.I’ve created a denser hamburger patty which is the way my grandmother always made them although this recipe is my modern interpretation. I use panko instead of a bread soaked in milk. When I was a child, my grandparents made their own sauerkraut in a crock and kept it in what they called the “cellar.” The grand kids didn’t like the sharp taste of pickled kraut, but we sucked up the sweet stuff! Sweet sauerkraut should be on the bucket list of every cook. The reward for taking the time to make it is in the eating.


Brown Sugar Mustard Ingredients (you will not use all of the mustard)

1/4 cup of water

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 large egg

½ cup of dark brown sugar

2-1/2 tablespoons of dry mustard powder

½ tablespoon of all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon of table salt

Sweet Sauerkraut Ingredients

14.5 to 16 ounces of jarred Bavarian-style sauerkraut

1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

1 cup of yellow onion, minced

Hamburgers and Assembly Ingredients

2 pounds of top-sirloin, ground coarsely

2 large eggs

2/3 cup of Panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons of table salt

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

6 teaspoon-sized pats of chilled unsalted butter

18 scallions of thin to medium thickness

1 tablespoon of olive oil; approximately

6 medium to thin slices of aged Swiss cheese

6 pumpernickel hamburger/sandwich buns split


Mustard Instructions

1. Heat a gas grill to 400 degrees (or the side burner to a medium-high heat).

2. Place the water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to the boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and take the pan off the grill. Stir in the vinegar.

4. In a spouted container (a one-cup glass measuring cup for example), beat the egg very well with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

5. Using a whisk to continually stir, stream the egg mixture into the pan and continue stirring until the mixture is homogeneous.

6. Return the pan to the heat. Stir frequently with a heat-safe spatula and cook until the mustard thickens and reduces to about ½ cup. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. The mustard is done when you can scrape the bottom of the pan and the mustard does not come together.

7. Remove from the heat and scrape as much of the mustard as you can with the spatula into a clean container. Set aside until assembly. The mustard continues to thicken as it cools.

8. You will use the unwashed pan to make the sauerkraut.

9. Return the heat to medium-high.

Sauerkraut Instructions

1. Dump the sauerkraut into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse repeatedly with water. Drain. Use your hands to squeeze out the excess liquid. Place in the same saucepan you used to cook the mustard. Add the sugar, vinegar, broth and caraway seeds.

2. Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Place on the heat and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, stir and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook for 45 to 60 minutes or until the kraut has caramelized and darkened and the liquid has cooked off. If the liquid reduces too quickly add water by the tablespoon to moisten until the kraut is caramelized.

3. At any time while the kraut is cooking, place the butter in a heavy 8″ to 10″ non-stick skillet. Place over a part of the grill heated to a medium (350) heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion and sauté until golden and tender and set aside until the kraut almost done. Add the butter and onion to the sauce pan and continue as described in step 2.

4. Set aside until assembly.

Hamburgers and Assembly Instructions

1. In a large mixing bowl and using a fork, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper until well-distributed.

2. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap. Cover the bowl as well. Chill for at least one hour.

3. Using your hands, divide the mixture into 6 portions. Pinch about 1-1/2 tablespoons from each and set aside. Hand form patties about 3-1/2″ in diameter (no larger). Place a pat of butter into the center of each. Use the bits you pinched off to cover the butter and use your fingers to press and seal the butter in place.

4. Trim the root ends of the scallions and peel away the tough outer layer. Cut from the ends into 4″ long pieces. If the scallions are thicker than a fat pencil, cut down the length, but not all the way through. Discard the tops or save for another purpose. Place the cut pieces into a small bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Toss to coat.

5. When you are ready to cook, heat the grill to a high heat (450 degrees). When the grill is hot, cook the burgers on each side for 3-4 minutes until just cooked through. The centers will plump but still have some softness when poked with a finger. Also grill the onions until tender and lightly charred.

6. Remove the burgers to a platter and the onions to a dish. Place a slice of cheese on each burger, cutting or tearing to fit. Rest for five minutes, tented with foil.

7. In the meantime, grill the cut sides of the buns for a minute or two, just enough to lightly toast.

8. Spread a generous amount of the mustard on the cut sides of the buns.

9. Starting with the bottoms, layer a portion of the scallions, the burgers with cheese, a generous amount of sauerkraut, about 1/6 of the total amount on each, and the top of the bun.