Märzen Sugar-Cured Bratwurst with Malt-Fermented Kraut on a Pretzel Bun Recipe

Serves: 6–8

Märzen Sugar

1 bottle (12 fl oz/355 ml) Märzen beer
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs salt

Preheat the oven to 180°F (82°C). Combine the beer, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture onto a baking sheet with sides and let dry in the oven to dehydrate until completely dry (60–90 minutes).


If you’re limited on time, you can simply buy brats and rub them with the Märzen Sugar before you grill them.

5 lb (2.3 kg) pork butt
1 Tbs Märzen Sugar
4 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs powdered ginger
1 tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs dried sage
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup (8 fl oz/237 ml) ice cold Märzen beer
Hog casings

Cut the pork butt into 1-inch (25 mm) cubes. Combine the sugar, salt, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, and sage in a large bowl. Add the pork cubes and toss to season. Put the mixture in the freezer until it is semi-frozen (doing so makes it easier to grind). Grind the cold mixture with a meat grinder. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer with a paddle, add the beer to the mixture, and whip to emulsify.

Using a sausage press, stuff the mixture into hog casings. Simmer the sausages in hot water until the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C).

Malted Kraut

If you’re a homebrewer, you know that the deal with fermenting is constant care. Time, temperature, and humidity can make or break the kraut. And in this case, the more malt syrup you put in the kraut, the sourer it becomes. More sugar means more fuel for those crazy little Lactobacillus bugs (that are great for aiding with digestion) to produce that wonderful sour (lactic acid) flavor.

1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1½ Tbs of salt per quart (946 ml) of sliced cabbage
1 tsp barley malt syrup per quart (946 ml) of sliced cabbage
1 tsp toasted caraway seed, ground
Cold water to cover

Combine the cabbage, onion, salt, barley malt syrup, and caraway seed in a plastic or nonreactive container. Add water to cover the mixture. Fill a gallon zipper-lock bag with water and use it to weigh down the mass and to prevent too much air from getting in.

Leave the kraut in your garage or kitchen for 3–5 days to start fermenting and about 2–3 weeks to get a cool flavor. Skim any mold from the top and refrigerate.

6–8 pretzel buns
Spicy German mustard

To assemble the sandwich, grill the bratwurst and cut the pretzel bun almost in half lengthwise (like a hot-dog bun). Spread mustard in the bun, add one bratwurst, and garnish with kraut.

Beer suggestions: For the Märzen, we suggest Oktoberfest beers from Great Lakes (Cleveland, Ohio), Left Hand (Longmont, Colorado), or Samuel Adams (Boston, Massachusetts). Pair with a Munich dunkel such as Andechs (Andechs, Germany) or Ayinger (Aying, Germany).

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