While hot dogs have become the American staple of the 4th of July and are present at most holiday barbecues, I would like to challenge this norm. I propose broadening the typical 4th of July meal to include some Berghoff favorites that are also in the sausage realm: thuringer, knockwurst, and, of course, bratwursts. These have long been popular go-to items at my family’s restaurant due to our German heritage and tradition. They provide an excellent way to transform your run-of-the-mill barbecue into a flavorful fusion of meats and sides.
Yes, 4th of July is an American holiday, but in true Berghoff fashion, why not mix in some Old World German items with contemporary American twists? Traditional options like bratwursts, knockwursts, and thuringer sausages are reinvented by cooking them on the grill and pairing them with green or fruit salad, potato salad, potato chips, or whatever other sides your heart desires.
Here is a little background information about these timeless sausages and what makes them unique:
- Thuringer: Can be any of a variety of fresh or smoked beef or pork sausage that originally came from the Thuringia region of Germany. Coriander is a must in flavoring.
- Knockwurst: Comes in short, fat links and is seasoned with lots of garlic. It is made up of beef and pork, and is often accompanied by sauerkraut. Fun fact: “Knack” in German means crack, which is exactly the type of noise a knockwurst (in English, literally “crackling sausage”) should make!
- Bratwurst: The most popular of these three sausages, this German favorite is made of pork and veal. It is highly seasoned, generally using a medley of caraway and/or coriander, ginger, and nutmeg. However, there exists a lot of diversity in flavoring, which varies by brand.
Cook any combination of these three sausages on the grill to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (assessed using a meat thermometer) and pair with buns (optional), sauerkraut, smothered onions, and German potato salad (recipes following). Don’t forget to offer Düsseldorf mustard!
- 4 sticks butter
- 6 cups sliced onions
- 1 (12-ounce) Berghoff Lager beer
- Salt and Pepper
In a deep 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onions and cover, stirring occasionally.
After the onions turn light brown (after about 10 minutes), add the beer and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
- 1 ½ cups chopped applewood-smoked bacon
- 1 cup Berghoff Lager beer
- 6 cups bagged or canned sauerkraut, drained
- ½ tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 stick butter
Sautee the bacon in a 12-inch skillet until crisp and drain off the fat.
Add the beer to deglaze the pan.
Add the sauerkraut, caraway seeds, and butter, and simmer for 45 minutes over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- 1 ¼ cups cider vinegar
- ½ cup minced sweet onion
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk to mix well.
Cover and let stand for at least two hours before using as directed. This recipe makes 1 2/3 cups of dressing.
- 8 large white potatoes, peeled, boiled, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 4 pounds)
- 1 cup cooked, chopped, applewood-smoked bacon (3 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped scallions
Gently toss the hot sliced potatoes with the bacon and chopped scallions.
Stir in the dressing and toss gently to coat evenly.
Refrigerate, covered, for at least four to six hours, or overnight.
The salad can be served cold or reheated via microwave and served warm.
Swallow all this down with some Berghoff Beer or Root Beer, and your 4th of July will certainly be one to remember!