German Potato Salad Recipe with Beer Brauts
Oh it’s that time of year again – FALL! Even better – October. Which means Oktoberfest and German food. I feel like I’ve been slacking on my German food this year. I have been pretty busy with my #SeriousSandwich cooking endeavor. Next year I’ll start earlier and will be publishing more recipes for Oktoberfest-y foods. This year, I think this’ll be it. But it is the best German food of all, in my opinion – German potato salad recipe with beer brauts. I love potatoes, and I love anything resembling a sausage so this covers all the bases.
Also, this recipe makes a great game day recipe – football or baseball. As most of you know, throughout this fall I’ve working on recipes that are good for game days. This recipe would be especially tasty tonight to enjoy while the St. Louis Cardinals battle it out with the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS. It’s been an exciting series, and we’re really proud of our Cardinals!
This might actually be the first time I’ve written down and formalized my German potato salad recipe. I’ve made it before but not in a while. I really wanted to have a good, solid recipe on my site for German potato salad, and this is it. We even ate some as leftovers later in the week and boy, was it good. The bacony goodness was even better!
What I like best about this recipe is that it’s fairly easy to execute and involves lots of beer, sausage and bacon (Score!!). Also, in just over an hour this dish is ready to go. Which is always great because sometimes I don’t have patience with bacon-heavy dishes. Want it now! Anyway, let’s take this one step by step as usual and break it down.
German potato salad as a whole is its own kind of potato salad. It is eaten hot and doesn’t contain any mayonnaise. That’s probably the biggest differences from our American versions of potato salad. It also relies on bacon and vinegar to drive the flavor profile. This is my favorite type of potato salad, for sure. Interestingly, though, I did read that in Northern Germany, they do prefer a mayo based salad like Americans do. Huh, who knew?
The base of this salad of course is potatoes. For this potato salad, I used a bag of ruby sensation potatoes. They are a specialty type that I found at my local Rouses supermarket. You can easily just use small red potatoes or red bliss potatoes. I do recommend using a waxy flesh potato so that way your potatoes don’t break down into mush. Also, I quartered my potatoes instead of slicing. I know many recipes call for sliced potatoes, but I like the quartered better for small potatoes.
The thing I like best about the potato salad recipe is the combo of sweet and salty. That is actually one of the hallmarks of a German potato salad. I used cider vinegar and sugar as the base for my sweet sauce and then used red onion, garlic, bacon and Dijon mustard for the salty/savory contrast. The flavors worked really well together.
A tip for making chopping bacon much easier – be sure to freeze the bacon first. You’ll want to freeze the strips individually, and then stack them and chop them up really easily. And since it’s bacon, it will defrost very quickly after that. I like rendering the finely chopped bacon in the pot first, and then just leaving it in there while building the other ingredients on top. I know many recipes for German potato salad call for cooking whole bacon slices, removing them from the pan, chopping, then returning it all to the pot at the end. Seems like a huge, messy waste of time and effort. Also, you do lose some bacon grease doing it that way, and that’s no good!
I like using red onion here, but if you only have white or yellow onions on hand, go ahead with that. I like the color that the red onions add to the dish and also, red onions are a tad “sweeter” than yellow or white so I find it makes a better pairing in the end.
Now on to the brauts. In case anyone doesn’t know, “brauts” is short for bratwurst, a type of German sausage made with either pork, veal or beef. Seasonings can vary. Commonly in the US, brauts are made from pork and are seasoned with spices like dry mustard, marjoram, coriander, ginger and nutmeg. Spices do vary by producer but those are some common ones that I’ve come across. Brauts are normally not spicy but are fatty and well-seasoned. The perfect beer-drinking meat. For this meal, I bought my brauts at Whole Foods – they were very tasty.
Finally, the beer. Well let’s talk about the cooking beer first. I have a keg of Abita Golden in our kegerator right now so that’s what I used for boiling the brauts. You can really use any beer you want. I don’t think it makes much difference. You may even want to use a cheap beer like Budweiser because you’re going to be throwing it away after using it so why waste good beer? My only other suggestion is don’t use a “light” beer. Not light-colored, mind you, but something called “light beer.” The full calorie version of any beer will be more flavorful and produce better tasting brauts.
Now to the drinking beer, one of the three main components of this meal trifecta. We chose Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest for this meal. Neither Jeremy nor I had it before and we love Brooklyn’s other beers so we thought, why not? It was a very tasty Oktoberfest beer and paired very well with the potato salad and brauts. A real winner in my book.
So now that you want bacon, sausage, and beer, let’s move on to the recipe, shall we?
German Potato Salad Recipe with Beer Brauts
This sweet and tangy German potato salad recipe with beer brauts is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Bacon, cider vinegar and Dijon mustard drive the flavor profile in this dish.
- 1-28 ounce bag of red potatoes, rinsed and quartered
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
- 1 pound bratwurst sausage links
- 1 quart beer (about 3 bottles)
- 6 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
- Quarter the potatoes and set in a pot of cold water (2 quarts) with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
- Turn the heat to high, and allow the potatoes to come to a boil. Continue to boil for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Drain potatoes and leave in the colander. Set aside for now.
- Put the brauts to boil on the stove in a pot just big enough to fit all the ingredients (the brauts and beer). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, until brauts are cooked through.
- While the brauts are cooking, start the potato salad on the stove as well.
- Over medium high heat, render the chopped bacon until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the red onion and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant.
- Add the cider vinegar, sugar, kosher salt and Dijon mustard. Cook for a couple of minutes until bubbling and sauce is thickened slightly.
- Stir in the potatoes and cooking for another couple of minutes until potatoes are completely coated in sauce and heated through. Remove from heat.
- Remove the brauts from the beer and set on a paper towel to drain.
- Divide the potato salad between four plates with a braut each.
- Top potato salad with green onions and serve.
Cook time for boiling the potatoes is included in the "Prep Time" allocation.
Total:1 hour 5 min