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FOOD | Whoa, Happy German Sandwich

Originally posted on Kat Gaines’ cooking blog, The Wine-Y Tomato.

Excuse the impromptu nature of this post and somewhat crappy cell phone picture because I was rushed and Oakland is ugly-gray today. But I had to post about the sandwich I just made for lunch.

That, my friends, is a German Beer-Brat/Kale/Cheddar/Dijon/Crushed Garlic sandwich. (Yes, the garlic was necessary, do you know me at all?!) Also known as the Happy German Sandwich.

I didn’t take pics while making the sandwich because I honestly didn’t realize how good it would be. My thought process was more along the lines of “Meh, this is me just throwing the stuff that I have in the fridge on some bread and calling it a sandwich.”

But then I bit into it and realized I just created the best sandwich ever. I’m definitely not pretending that this is healthy. I soaked the beer brats (which, yes, are already made with beer) in yet more beer while cooking them, and added the kale to the same pan, so that major components of this sandwich are beer soaked. The slices of cheese were thin but just enough to add some melty goodness to the sandwich. So it’s probably not healthy. The health benefits of the kale are probably outweighed by the pork/beer/cheese. But it’s GOOD. And for Sunday lunch, I think that’s okay.

I’m calling this one the Happy German Sandwich, because that’s what I am right now, typing in between delicious bites of this sandwich.

How to make a Happy German Sandwich:


2 bratwurst (Best if they’re beer brats. I used Trader Joes’ Hofbrau Brats, but use whatever you can find)
1 beer (I used Blue Moon, because that’s what was handy in our fridge, but German beer would be even better / use whatever you have handy)
2 handfuls of chopped and cleaned kale
2 thin slices of cheddar (I used medium, but sharp cheddar would be awesome)
About 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic (I took the easy way out with the jarred stuff, but if you have a garlic press, you can of course make your own)
About 1/2 teaspoon mustard (Dijon, again because it’s what I had but if you have German mustard this sandwich will be exactly what it’s meant to be)
2 slices of bread (whole wheat, because really you’re doing enough damage with the sandwich contents already)


1. Cook your wurst. I started them off in a pan with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and then I got smart and poured beer over them. Continue pouring until you think there’s enough in the pan to give the brats some flavor. You could also soak them in beer for an hour or two and then grill them (I wish I had a barbecue grill…)

2. Add the kale to the pan after the brats have been cooking for a few minutes. Cover and let everything get nice and steamy/beer-y/crispy (near the end of cooking, the edges of the kale will crisp and the brats will get that awesome browned exterior)

3. Spread mustard and garlic on one slice of bread. Layer two thin slices of cheese on the other and broil this slice in the oven until the cheese gets melty.

4. Slice the brats in half, layer the kale on the mustard/garlic slice of bread, then the brats over that (you might have half a brat left over. Just eat it).

5. Top off with the cheesy slice of bread and smush together.

6. Eat. Be happy. Have visions of Oktoberfest dancing through your head.