Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Trip to Munich's Oktoberfest plus Beer-Braised Brats and Beer Onions from Cleo Coyle

As Joyce Tremel mentioned on Sunday, with her Soft Pretzel and Beer Cheese recipes, Munich's traditional 16-day Oktoberfest is well underway now and will continue until October 5th.

While I've been to Germany and thoroughly appreciate their mastery at making some of the best beers in the world, I've never made it to an Oktoberfest. Attending this world-famous festival is 
on my (beer) bucket list. Is it on yours, too? Or have you been to it? Let us know in the comments.

In the meantime, join me now for a little 
video visit to this year's Oktoberfest! 


To watch the tapping of the first keg,
click the arrow in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


To join me for an Oktoberfest 2014
band stand concert, click the arrow
in the window below...

If you do not see the video above, click here.


For more videos, directly from
this year's Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany,
click here and have fun!

And when you're ready for a food break, 
I've got an easy and delicious recipe for you...

But first...

A quick toast to my fellow 
crime-writing cooks...

Daryl Wood Gerber 


Sheila Connolly 

on their new releases today!
(Okay, Sheila's is officially next Tuesday, but
 I'm sure she won't mind an early shout-out.)

Happy Book Birthday to you both!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Beer-Braised Brats 


Caramelized Beer Onions

by Cleo Coyle

Cooking brats in beer is far from a new idea, but it is a great one, especially if you have a favorite brew! 

We like to butterfly our brats to allow more surface area to absorb the beer flavor, which is why you should use your absolute favorite suds for the recipe. No matter how special or expensive your beer, you don't have to worry, this method will not waste a single drop. It will all go into the infusion process. You'll see what I mean as we braise the brats in one pan, caramelize the onions in another, and use the delicious beer-brat braising liquid to infuse the golden brown onions with even more flavor. 

Then spread your favorite roll (pretzel, potato, or seeded Kaiser) with whole grained mustard, pour an ice cold glass of amber nectar, and you'll be in beer heaven. Follow this recipe, and we'll meet you there!

~ Cleo 

To download this recipe in a 
free PDF document you 
can print, save, or share, click here.
To download this free
recipe PDF,
click here.

Serves 4

4 bratwursts (pre-cooked or uncooked)

3 medium or 4 large onions, chopped

12 ounces of your favorite beer

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 tablespoons butter

For serving: 

Fresh rolls (pretzel, potato, or Kaiser)

Whole grained mustard

Optional additions: Sauerkraut, creamy horseradish, pickles, your favorite pepper (banana, jalapeno, etc...)


Step 1 - Cut each bratwurst down the middle but not all the way through. (In our photos, you see pre-cooked brats, but you can also use uncooked.) 

Spread the halves enough to flatten them but not enough to separate the halves. Note that brats curve slightly, like bananas. Be sure to cut along the inside curve before butterflying. Set brats aside and start cooking the onions.

Step 2 - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onions and sauté over medium heat, stirring often.

Step 3 - While the onions are cooking, take out a second skillet. Add a bit of butter or oil. When the pan is hot, add the butterflied brats, warming/browning for about 5 minutes. Once brats are warmed/browned on both sides, add about 8 ounces of beer to the pan. 

You are not entirely covering the brats, just creating a shallow bath as shown in the photo below. 

Simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping at least once during the process. This is the cooking time for pre-cooked. If you are using raw brats, you will need to cook the brats longer. Raw meat should no longer be pink inside, and the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.  

When the brats are done cooking, turn off the heat under the pan and allow them to sit while you turn your attention to the onions...

Step 4 - Finish the onions: Continuing cooking the onions. After about 15 to 18 minutes of sautéing, the onions will have absorbed all of the fat in the pan. They will begin to caramelize, turning golden brown. If you need to add a bit more butter or oil to prevent them from burning before turning golden brown, do so. Do not move to the next step until the onions brown as shown or you will boil the onions instead of properly caramelizing them.

Step 5 - Once the onions have turned golden brown, add all of the liquid from the brats pan in Step 3. (We remove the brats from the pan first, putting them in a covered dish to keep them warm.) 

If for some reason you don’t have much liquid left in your brats pan, add a generous splash of fresh beer to the onions. Cook the mixture until the liquid is absorbed by the onions, about 3 to 5 minutes. 

Step 6 - Serve the brats and beer onions on pretzel rolls or potato rolls or Kaisers. 

We like to spread whole-grained mustard onto our rolls (as you see in the picture below). A bit of creamy horseradish is also delicious. Other possible additions include sauerkraut, pickles, and/or hot peppers. 

Click here for the free PDF, and
however you top your own beer-braised
brats and beer onion sandwich,
Marc and sincerely
 hope you will...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.


Download a Free Title Checklist for
all 13 Coffeehouse Mysteries
(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

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  1. I haven't butterflied brats, but I have cooked them in beer. I've also put them on the grill after cooking. Delicious!

    We have an official Hofbrauhaus here in Pittsburgh. We go there fairly often. We tried to get in on Saturday night for Oktoberfest, but it was way too crowded.

  2. Oh yummy Cleo--you and Joyce were on a roll this week (tee hee). My hub would love this recipe--and so would I:)

  3. Our family prefers metts, but my, that looks good! Sauerkraut is good on this type of sausage, too. Mmmm.

    There's a Hofbrauhaus here in the Cincinnati area, too, just across the river in Newport, Kentucky. And the second largest Oktoberfest in the world is in Cincinnati, or Zinzinnati, as it is that weekend. We are Sister Cities with Munich, also. So if you don't want to travel quite as far, make plans for mid-September next year!

  4. Another Cleo winner! My husband is half German and half English and he loves his sausages.
    I just happen to have some bratwurst in the freezer and they will go nicely into this dish.
    Thanks for yet another delicious offering.

    1. PS I cooked the honey soy sauce chicken over the weekend. Fabulous!

  5. I can almost smell these...mmmmm, they look delicious! Time for a little Octoberfest celebration chez nous!

  6. Spectacular post, Cleo! I feel like I won a free (and tasty) trip.



  7. Cleo, thanks for the shoutout. This sandwich looks INCREDIBLE. Oh, if only I could. Wow!

    Daryl / Avery