This year marks the 183rd Oktoberfest celebration! It’s the largest festival in the world, and with a huge variety of wursts, beer, and other fantastic German food, that makes perfect sense to us! Let’s fire up the grill and celebrate!

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A Brief History of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest originated on October 12, 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Hildburghausen. They invited all of Munich to join the celebration in the fields outside the city. The fields became known as Therese’s fields, or Theresienwiese, and locals began referring to the celebration as Wies’n. Horse races were a big part of the original celebrations, although they aren’t part of today’s festivities. In 1811, an agricultural show as added, and it is still held every third year.

The Oktoberfest festivities begin each year with a 12 gun salute. This is followed by the mayor tapping the first beer keg at exactly 12:00 p.m. and shouting “O’zapft is!” which means, it’s tapped! At this signal, vendors begin serving beer across the city. Oktoberfest runs the 16 days leading up to the first weekend in October. If October 1st or 2nd falls on a Sunday, the event runs through October 3rd.

Traditional Oktoberfest Food and Beer

The foods most commonly served during Oktoberfest are: roast pork, wurstl (a large variety of sausages), pretzels, roast chicken, fish on a stick, potato dumplings, sauerkraut, cheese noodles, strudels, cheese and beer spread, and of course official beer selections.

Tradition dictates that the only beer allowed to be served at Oktoberfest must be from the six Munich breweries: Augustiner, Hofbrauhaus, Spaten, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, and Hacker Pschorr. The beer must also adhere to Reinheitsgebot, which is the German Purity Law. It originated in 1516 and states that the beer can only be made from water, barley and hops. It’s changed somewhat over the years, but the basics remain in play for Oktoberfest.

If you want to try official Oktoberfest beer, several breweries export it to the U.S., including Hofbrauhaus, Hacker Pschorr, Spaten and Paulaner. Look for beer from these breweries that’s labeled Oktoberfest.

Fire Up the Grill for a Traditional Oktoberfest Feast

We’re featuring two recipes this week: maple glazed pork tenderloin and wursts with sauerkraut and onions. So put some beer on ice, invite the gang over, and let’s get this party started!

Oktoberfest 2016

Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This pork tenderloin is luscious and tender, and the glaze is sweet, hot and full of flavor.

What You’ll Need
2 pork tenderloin roasts, trimmed, with silver skin removed
2 tablespoons grainy whole mustard
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 shallots, finely chopped, and lightly sauted
2 teaspoons thyme
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Let’s Do It!
In a small skillet, melt the butter and saute the shallots until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix the mustards and syrup together to form a paste. Stir in the hot pepper flakes, thyme, and shallots. Add salt and pepper to taste, and divide the sauce into two small bowls -- two thirds for cooking and one third for serving.

Lightly salt and pepper the tenderloin, then cover it with some of the paste. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 25 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium. Place the tenderloin on the grill and brush with a little more sauce. Close the lid and cook over direct medium heat, turning and basting with more sauce every five minutes. It should be evenly browned all over. Cooking time will be between 15 and 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be 145℉, so check it with an instant read thermometer. Remove the pork from the grill, brush it with the reserved sauce, and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting it. Serve with buttered spaetzle and cooked red cabbage for an authentic German meal!


Oktoberfest 2016

Bratwurst with Onions and Sauerkraut

Oktoberfest always brings to mind grilled sausages, and they are a perfect match with a nice cold beer! These brats are cooked with traditional German sauerkraut, and they’re great!

What You’ll Need
8 bratwurst or other German sausage
1 bottle lager style beer
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole mustard
1 pound package Sauerkraut -- jar or bag, not from a can
1 teaspoon thyme
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Do It
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Stir in the sauerkraut, mustard, beer, brown sugar, and thyme. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the kraut and add more pepper if needed. Pour the kraut into a disposable aluminum pan.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium high and prepare for two zone cooking. Place the aluminum pan over indirect heat to keep it warm.

Grill the brats over direct heat until they are cooked through and golden brown all over -- about 8 minutes. Turn them frequently to keep them from charring. When done, put the brats in the pan with the sauerkraut, and let the flavors meld for 15 minutes, keeping the lid closed.

Serve the sausages and kraut with sauteed apples and mashed potatoes! Delicious!

One Last Thought

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