How to make a traditional Oktoberfest brat

Celebrate Oktoberfest with these delicious dishes from Werner Lehner, co-owner and head chef of Zumstammtisch in New York.


5 lb. Pork Boston Butt (shoulder)
1 lb. Veal Trimmings
1 lb. Pork Belly
3 Tblsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tblsp. White pepper
1 Tblsp. Nutmeg
1 tblsp. Marjoram (milder oregano)
1 tblsp. Sage
1 tblsp. Granulated Garlic
1 tblsp. Caraway seeds (optional)
1 tblsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional, for a spicier sausage)
1 Package nonfat dry milk powder (for binding)
1 pint ice cold water

Preparing the meat:
Cube all meat, put on a baking sheet and put in freezer for 30 minutes (meat should be icy to the touch, but not frozen).
Immediately put the meat through a grinder with a fine plate, then add all the seasonings and milk powder. while mixing, slowly add the water until a pasty yet firm consistency is reached. Make a patty from the mix and cook it in a skillet until well done and taste. Adjust seasoning as desired. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes to allow it to cool and finish binding.
Put mixture into a stuffer, taking care not to leave any air inbetween. Put a medium horn on the stuffer and put the hog casing onto it (read further for hog casing preparation). Pinch the end of the casing and slowly fill casing by turning the handle. Be careful not to overfill the casing, since it still needs to be crimped and twisted into lengths. Continue doing this until stuffer is empty or casing is full. Tie off one end of the casing, then pinch the casing with both hands, approx. 6" apart, and twist 2-3 times to create a link. Keep going along the casing until the end, then tie off again.

Preparing the hog casing:
The hog casing usually comes salted in a "hank". Gently pull the strands off the hank individually. Some casings may seem impossibly long, up to 20 ft.! A good rule of thumb is that you need 2 feet of casing per pound of sausage. Rinse the outside of the casings you are using in cold water to remove salt. Soak the casings in warm water for 30 minutes, then rinse the inside of the casing by running cold water through it. A small funnel will make it easier. Put the casings in a fresh bowl of warm water with a table spoon of vinegar. They will be fine for at least an hour or two before use.

Cooking the bratwurst:
If you are going to grill the sausage, the best thing to do is to simmer them first. Boil up a large pot of water, add the brats, turn down the heat to a simmer (170 degrees is ideal) for 15-20 minutes, remove brats and allow to air dry. The brats can now be stored in the refrigerator for up to week (wrapped up) or you can immediately grill them.
Another way of cooking the brats is in beer. If you are making six brats, add one can of beer to a large skillet along with 2 Tblsp. butter. Heat the beer and butter to boiling and add the brats. Simmer until the beer is evaporated, and then the butter will do the browning. By doing it in this way you assure that the brats will be fully cooked. You can add seasonings to the beer in the skillet if you like, some people add garlic, red pepper flakes or onions.

Prep time 15 minutes,  cook time 30 minutes

2 16 ounce jars B&G Sauerkraut
1 Onion, chopped
4 slices Bacon, chopped
1 Tblsp. Caraway Seed
2 Fresh Apples, peeled and cored
¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Wine

Remove sauerkraut from jars and put into colander. Wash lightly, you want to get rid of just some of the sourness. Sautee the bacon in a pot until somewhat browned, then add the onions and sautee for another 5-7 minutes. Grate the Apples with a grater (the larger openings are good). Now put all remaining ingredients into the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

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