Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Beer Pretzels Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Beer Pretzels Recipe

Grilled bratwurst with caramelized onions and homemade beer pretzel rolls are the ULTIMATE Oktoberfest-themed recipe. It’s not every day you get to enjoy a warm pretzel roll and a snappy bratwurst in the same bite. While the homemade pretzel rolls require some extra effort and planning, it’s simply not the same experience without them.

But what makes this recipe extra special is the Bavarian-style Festbier pairing and the opportunity to incorporate beer throughout the recipe itself. I teamed up with my local South Shore brewery, Untold Brewing in Scituate, MA, to develop a recipe pairing for their fall Festbier release.

Untold’s Festbier is a crisp and refreshing lager with notes of biscuit and honey-like sweetness. It pairs exceptionally well with hearty dishes. Untold has quickly become one of my favorite spots. They have a phenomenal rotating selection and dabble in an array of styles.

If you don’t have access to Untold, you can pair and make this recipe with your favorite Festbier, Märzen, or Vienna Lager.

I love the strong taste of the onions here. Another great way to feature onions is making sizzling fajitas. You can put together a great grilling party by offering brats, amazing turkey burgers, or a classic smash burger.

Homemade Beer Pretzel Rolls

The most important part of this recipe is the homemade soft pretzel rolls made with Festbier. Your typical soft pretzel recipe calls for water, yeast, flour, and salt. For added flavor and to keep things interesting, I used lager in place of water. These soft pretzels have a nice chewy exterior and a super dense and soft inside.

While it may seem time-consuming, my pretzel rolls are very easy to make and don’t require any special equipment or breadmaking expertise (trust me, I’m not a baker). They do have a few steps…but at least you don’t have to worry about rolling the dough into pretzel form.

This recipe can also be made with water if you prefer. Pretzels can be made 1-2 days in advance and are best kept in a sealed airtight container to maintain freshness. Carefully warm up on the grill before serving!

Caramelized Beer Onions

If you’ve never caramelized/braised onions in beer, now is the time to start. These onions are simmered in melted butter and Festbier to render perfectly tender onions. While these onions aren’t caramelized in a traditional sense, the beer reduction will add deep flavor, color, and tenderness. It’s the perfect companion to the savory bratwurst and salty pretzel roll!

Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Beer Pretzels Recipe

The secret to the perfect onions is to use medium-low heat and not rush the process. Beer speeds up the tenderizing process and also prevents burning.

Grilling Bratwurst

Bratwurst is a traditional german sausage made with pork. It’s best grilled or seared and cooks just like any other sausage. I like to cook bratwurst on medium-low heat and slowly ramp up as needed. The key is to not burn the exterior. While I prefer grilling for simplicity, bratwurst can also be cooked in a pan or ideally a cast iron skillet. Just be extra careful not to overheat or the exterior casing will quickly burn.

Bratwurst and pretzel rolls are the perfect pairing and LOVE to be slathered in yellow or dijon mustard. Pair this recipe with a crisp and refreshing Festbier and you’ll understand why I’m so obsessed!

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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Bratwurst with Onions and Beer Pretzels Recipe

Servings: 8
Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours
Grilled bratwurst, caramelized beer onions, and fresh homemade beer pretzel buns made and served with Festbier lager. The ultimate Oktoberfest-themed bite.

Ingredients 

Bratwurst and Onions

  • 8 bratwurst
  • 1/2 cup Untold Brewing ‘Festbier’, Märzen or Vienna Lager also works
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Yellow or dijon mustard for serving

Pretzel Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm Festbier, around 100°F
  • 1 packet instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, leveled
  • coarse sea salt or kosher salt for sprinkling

Baking Soda Bath

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 9 cups water

Instructions 

For the pretzels

  • In a large bowl, whisk together yeast and warm beer (microwave beer for 30 seconds to warm then add yeast). Let rest for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of melted butter and salt.
  • Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough hook/stand mixer until thick. Add an additional 3/4 cup of flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough is still sticky, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time as needed. If the dough bounces back when pressed, it’s ready to knead.
  • Move the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm environment (1oo°F). The best tip I’ve read is to preheat the oven to 175-200°F, shut the oven OFF and place the dough in the oven.
  • After an hour, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and press down to release the air. Reshape into a cylinder and use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 8 uniform dough balls. Shape into oval loaves.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring 1/2 cup baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  • Drop the loaves into the water bath (4 at a time) for 20-30 seconds each. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing excess water to drip. Arrange on a large greased baking sheet. All 8 should fit on a standard baking sheet.
  • Using a sharp knife, score each loaf lengthwise. Brush the top of each with melted butter (2 tablespoons should do) and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until deep golden brown all over.

For the bratwurst and onions

  • Preheat the grill to medium-low heat and clean the grates well. Cook sausage for 10-12 minutes, rotating as needed to ensure an even golden sear all the way around. Sausage should be cooked to an internal temp of 160°F. Ramp up the grill temp towards the end if you prefer a crispier exterior.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan. Once melted, add onions, season all over with salt and pepper, and cook until they just start to soften and the edges brown. Add Festbier just to fill the bottom of the pan. Simmer until onions are golden and tender and the beer has been reduced. About 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to overheat and burn. Add more beer as needed.
  • Slice pretzel rolls like a hotdog bun (don’t cut all the way through). Add bratwurst and top with onions. Drizzle all over with yellow or dijon mustard. Serve with a chilled Festbeir and enjoy.
  •  

Notes

If you don’t have access to Untold, you can pair and make this recipe with your favorite Festbier, Märzen, Vienna Lager, or American IPA.
The pretzel recipe can also be made with water instead of beer if you prefer. Pretzels can be made 1-2 days in advance and are best kept in a sealed airtight container to maintain softness. Warm up on the grill before serving!
The secret to the perfect onions is to use medium-low heat and not rush the process. Beer speeds up the tenderizing process and also prevents burning.
Bratwurst can also be cooked in a skillet if you don’t have a grill. Cook on medium-low heat to prevent burning. Rotate frequently until fully cooked through.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: German
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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