Brat Burger

Brat Burger
Staff Writer

Ken Goodman Photography

The inspiration for this recipe came from the homemade pretzel bun and cheese sauce, because hey, what goes better with those things a juicy, fat brat? The authors of Wicked Good Burgers create their own brat recipe by using ground pork and veal and seasoning it with ginger, nutmeg, and beer for an authentic version. 

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Ingredients

For Mindy's Pretzel Buns

  • 2 1/2  Teaspoons  dry instant yeast
  • 1/2  Cup  buttermilk
  • 3/4  Cups  pale ale
  • 3/4  Cups  hot water
  • 3 3/4  Cups  bread flour, plus up to 1/2 cup more as needed
  • 1  Tablespoon  plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1  Teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/4  Cup  plus 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2  Tablespoons  vegetable oil, for brushing
  • gallon water
  • 1/3  Cup  baking soda

For Mindy's Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

  • 1  Cup  heavy whipping cream
  • slices white American cheese
  • 1/2  Cup  shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 2  Tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the brat burgers

  • 12  Ounces  ground veal
  • 12  Ounces  ground pork
  • 1  Teaspoon  freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2  Teaspoon  freshly cracked white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2  Teaspoon  ginger powder
  • 1  Tablespoon  hefeweizen beer
  • 1  Tablespoon  butter, softened
  • 2  Teaspoons  kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for cooking
  • Mindy's Pretzel Buns
  • Mindy's Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

Directions

For Mindy's Pretzel Buns

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast in buttermilk, ¼ cup of beer, and water. Add the 3 ¾ cups flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, ¼ cup of the light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of regular sugar and mix on low speed until a loose dough forms. With the machine still running, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil. When the dough is completely combined, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. 

Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and work the dough for 7-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too wet/sticky, you may need to add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. 

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking oil or wipe with oil and place dough inside. Cover with a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 4 hours until doubled in volume. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter. Fold the dough in 1/2 twice and let rise in the refrigerator for about 2 more hours or until doubled in volume again. 

Shortly before the dough has finished its second rise, prepare the baking soda bath. In a 6-quart saucepan, bring the water, the rest of the ale, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, and baking soda to a rolling boil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and divide into eight 5-ounce pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Working 1 at a time, poach each ball in the baking soda bath for 15 seconds and then flip it and poach for 15 more seconds. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the buns with vegetable oil and sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Bake for about 14 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are golden brown. 

For Mindy's Pepper Jack Cheese Sauce

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a light simmer. Whisk in the cheeses until they are fully melted and smooth. Season with lemon juice and salt to taste. Reserve until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups. 

For the brat burgers

In a large bowl, combine the veal, pork, nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons of white pepper, ginger powder, beer, butter, and 2 teaspoons salt.

Divide the mixture into four 6-ounce portions and shape into burgers into patties. Refrigerate, covered, while you prepare the skillet. Heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or, test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready.

Brush oil onto the skillet and remove the burgers from the refrigerator. Season the burgers with salt and white pepper and sear them for 2 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest, tented, for 5 minutes. While the burgers are resting, heat the cheese sauce.

Place the burgers on the bottoms of the buns and spoon the cheese on top. Place the tops of the buns over the cheese.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
81g
100%
Sugar
13g
14%
Saturated Fat
30g
100%
Cholesterol
211mg
70%
Carbohydrate, by difference
104g
80%
Protein
50g
100%
Vitamin A, RAE
217µg
31%
Vitamin B-12
3µg
100%
Vitamin B-6
1mg
77%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
3mg
4%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
16µg
18%
Calcium, Ca
241mg
24%
Choline, total
92mg
22%
Fiber, total dietary
9g
36%
Fluoride, F
3µg
0%
Folate, total
44µg
11%
Iron, Fe
7mg
39%
Magnesium, Mg
145mg
45%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
13mg
93%
Pantothenic acid
2mg
40%
Phosphorus, P
731mg
100%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
60µg
100%
Sodium, Na
5386mg
100%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
2µg
13%
Water
340g
13%
Zinc, Zn
8mg
100%

Burger Shopping Tip

Most cattle are fed a diet of grass until they are sent to a feedlot – where they are finished on corn. When possible, choose beef from cattle that are “100% grass fed” - it will be more expensive, but better for your health.

Burger Cooking Tip

The method used to cook beef is dependent on the cut. Cuts that are more tender, like filet mignon, should be cooked for a relatively short amount of time over high heat by grilling or sautéing. While less tender cuts, like brisket and short ribs, should be cooked for a longer time with lower heat by braising or stewing.