Oktoberfest: O ‘zapft is!

Bring on the beer, brats and Jäger shots!

This week the Dickson Tailgate Extravaganza is taking on the annual fall tradition of Oktoberfest.  It has been a really fun menu to create and I’ve come up with great tailgating twists on some German favorites.  I even ventured into the world of yeast again and made Brezel Bites (pretzels) from scratch. Our full tailgate menu includes grilled brats with sauerkraut, German hot potato salad, warm beer cheese dip, pretzel bites, Reuben roll-ups, apple strudel cake and more.  We are also having German beer tasting and of course, ice cold Jäger shots.  Willkommen, it is going to be wunderbar!

Brezel Bites

(Adapted from Alton Brown via acozykitchen.com on Pinterest)

1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 tbsp sugar

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

4 ½ cups white whole wheat flour

½ stick of unsalted butter, melted

Cooking spray, for pan and work surface

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water

Coarse sea salt

Combine the sugar and salt in the bottom of a mixing bowl.  Heat the water to temperature in the microwave and pour into the bowl with the sugar and salt.  Stir quickly and then sprinkle the yeast over top.  Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes until it begins to foam.  Add the flour and melted butter and, using the dough hook attachment for your mixer, mix on low speed until well combined.  Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and spray it with cooking spray.  Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and set in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once your dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil.  While you are waiting for the water to boil, divide the dough into fourths and roll each section into a 22-24” long rope.  Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces (about 88).  Roll the dough into balls and place them on the cookie sheets.

Boil the dough two balls at a time in the water for 30 seconds and then using a slotted spoon or spatula, return them to the cookie sheet.  Repeat until all of the dough has been boiled.  Brush the dough lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with cheese sauce or mustard (we’ll be doing both).

Warm Beer Cheese Dip

8 oz package Neufchatel cheese at room temperature

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

½ cup smoked gouda, shredded

½ cup light mayonnaise

1 tsp roasted garlic, minced

½ tsp dry mustard powder

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ cup beer, choose your favorite

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat three to four minutes on high, stirring every 60 seconds.  Serve with crackers and cubes of bread (rye would be the best match).

Reuben Roll-Ups

Large flour tortillas

Deli pastrami

Thin sliced Swiss cheese

Drained sauerkraut

Thousand Island dressing

I’m not giving measurements for this one because you can just layer the ingredients and roll them up, tortilla by tortilla until you run out of something.  I put about a tablespoon of dressing on each tortilla and then layered pastrami, sauerkraut and cheese, in that order.  Once you’ve got the ingredients on the tortilla, roll it tightly into a log.  Slice into six to eight roll-ups per tortilla.

Apple Strudel Cake

Ok, this isn’t actually a strudel, but it has apple and it is a cake, and it is delicious!


1 box yellow cake mix

1 large can apple pie filling

3 eggs


1/3 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp butter or margarine, softened

¾ cup – 1 cup chopped pecans


½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

2 tbsp Neufchatel cheese, softened

2 tbsp milk (more or less to reach desired consistency)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray.  In a mixer, combine cake mix, pie filling and eggs.  Mix on low speed for one minute, increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing for 2 more minutes.  Pour cake batter into the prepared pan.  In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients.  Sprinkle over top of the cake batter.  Bake for 40 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Mix glaze ingredients with a fork.  Pour into a pastry bag or zip-closure baggie and trim the corner.  Pipe the glaze over the cake.

Top Secret German Hot Potato Salad

I am under strict orders by the two generations before me not to give this recipe out under any circumstances.  It is that good, trust me…


Ok folks, there you have it, an Oktoberfest to remember.

Ein Prosit!


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