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Oktoberfest: Bavarian Beer & Bacon Salad (Krautsalat)

Oktoberfest: Bavarian Beer & Bacon Salad (Krautsalat)

Having just returned from a long weekend vacation in Texas’ historic Germantown (c. 1846), I had some perfect ingredients on hand and was inspired to make a yummy board for upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations (or any time of the year!). When I think of German fare, the second thing that pops in my head after sausage is cabbage…and not just kraut. I created this simple Bavarian-esque salad that goes great with sausages and schnitzels alike. And, because the recipe does not contain mayonnaise, leaving it out on your buffet during a party for a while is not a problem. There are hundreds of variations of slaw out there. I came up with this recipe after reading a bit of others and changing and adding a few twists to include some of my favorite ingredients: apples, bacon, and beer of course. Hope you enjoy!

NOTE: I also made tasty German Candied Almonds (gebrannte mandeln); please see recipe HERE AND information on how to WIN ONE CASE OF PROST BREWING BEER [contest will end Thursday, September 27, 2018 at midnight EST.


  • 4 cups finely shredded white cabbage
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb pancetta, cut into large dice (may substitute thick cut smoked bacon)
  • 1/4 cup German beer; room temperature
  • 2 tbsp sweet and spicy German mustard
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp reserved pancetta [bacon] fat, cooled
  • 2 tsp sugar (may need to use more or less sugar depending on the mustard you use; the one I used was very sweet)
  • 2 – 3 tsp pan toasted caraway seed [helps release the oils and flavor], depending on how strong you want the anise flavor to be
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook pancetta in a skillet until crisp. Remove pieces, set aside to cool, and reserve pan drippings for later use.

Slice cabbage into thin ribbons. Core and thinly slice apples and set aside. [TIP: soak slices in one cup water with two large pinches of salt dissolved in it to prevent apples from turning brown – rinse thoroughly with clean water before adding to salad]

Place rest of ingredients in a large glass bowl. Whisk together to form a vinaigrette; taste and adjust to your liking. Add cabbage and lightly toss, making sure all the cabbage is covered. Add the apples slices and cooked pancetta and gently toss. Either refrigerate or leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes to help cabbage macerate.

The cabbage will reduce by almost half and there will be leached liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

Toss one more time and drain excess liquid from bottom of bowl before serving. Makes a great side and compliments grilled sausages very well. Slightly sweet and tangy, with a hint of smoke from the pancetta and crispy texture from the apple slices. Prost!

Serves 4.

Serving suggestion:

German board: salad with grilled Bratwurst (veal and pork), Old German Beer Bread, pickled eggs, sweet and spicy mustard, stone ground mustard, and a nice cold Märzenbier.

Related products:

Fredericksburg Farms Old German Beer Bread (teehee; easy peasy)

Opa’s Bratwurst

Fredericksburg Farms German Stone Ground Mustard

Hengstenberg Bavarian Style

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