oktoberfest pretzel burger with beer cheese recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Oktoberfest Pretzel Burgers

This burger is inspired by German Oktoberfest, the beer festival in Munich during late September to October. In this recipe a pork and bacon patty is served on top of a pretzel bun with sautéed onions, whole grain mustard, beer cheese and arugula. The patty is made with pork and bacon to make it closer to a sausage patty. Always form your patties slightly larger than your bun – they tend to shrink up about 25% when cooked.

My fiancé Aaron and I recently attended a grilled cheese and beer pairing night at Andrew’s Cheese shop, located just down the street from us. I was inspired by their usage of beer cheese and added it to this burger! I combined sharp Cheddar and smoked Cheddar to make a blended beer cheese with a subtle smoky flavor. A fun fact that I learned that night: the only difference between yellow and white Cheddar is the addition of annatto – a natural coloring.



For the burgers:

1½ pounds ground pork

¼ pound applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the beer cheese:

6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into ½” cubes

3 ounces smoked white cheddar cheese, cut into ½” cubes  

2 ounces cream cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1/3 cup lager beer


For assembly:

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 pretzel buns, halved

2 tablespoon whole grain mustard 

2 (packed) cups wild arugula



For the burgers:

In a large mixing bowl gently mix together the pork, bacon, Dijon, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper with your hands until just combined. Form 4 equal patties, slightly larger than the burger buns.

Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Working 2 patties at a time, add to the pan and cook until a browned crust forms, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to sear until cooked through, about an additional 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining patties.


For the beer cheese:

Add the cheese, cream cheese, garlic and Worcestershire to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse until the cheese is finely chopped. Slowly pour the beer in and pulse the food processor until a fondue-like texture is achieved. Add to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.


For assembly:

Heat oven to broil.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown slightly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Arrange the pretzel buns on a baking sheet and broil until golden brown. Spread a generous amount of the beer cheese on the top bun and mustard on the bottom bun. 

Add the a patty on top of each of the bottom buns, top with onions and arugula then close with the top bun spread with the beer cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.




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