Officially, May is National Burger Month, but only because someone we can’t name has so designated it declared so by White Castle in 1992. October, however, has made itself an equally important month for burgers because it’s a great way to celebrate Oktoberfest. Not surprisingly, most of the month’s burger creations are riffs (with varying degrees of authenticity) on Bavarian cuisine. Red Robin this year brought back its Oktoberfest burger (beef patty, melted Swiss cheese, beer mustard sautéed onions, Black Forest ham and green leaf lettuce on a mustard-dressed pretzel bun) and Steak ’n Shake offers a nearly identical one (with two patties).
Extra credit is due FlipDaddy’s Burgers & Beers in Cincinnati and Tamarack Brewing Co. in Missoula, Mont., for being among those who offer Oktoberfest burgers on their menus year-round.
But burger creativity shouldn’t go unrecognized so we offer a dozen of the most interesting Oktoberfest Burgers. There’s still time to add one to your menu. If your joint’s special is overlooked here, add a comment and sing its praises.
Blue Moon Burgers, Seattle
A freshly toasted pretzel bun spread with house-made mustard, a freshly ground bratwurst patty topped with melted Swiss cheese and a mound of house Apple-Fennel Slaw. House-made German Potato Salad on the side.
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, San Diego
Half-pound, all-natural, Certified Angus ground sirloin topped with spicy grilled bratwurst, melted aged Swiss, grilled sauerkraut and spicy Dijon sauce
Jack’s Prime Burgers & Shakes, San Mateo, Calif.
Oktoberfest Burger ($11.95)
Seasoned Angus patty topped with Muenster cheese and smoked bratwurst on an egg bun with Pale Ale mustard-mayo and iceberg lettuce
The Nook, St. Paul, Minn.
Brat Burger ($9.95)
Bratwurst patty topped with sauerkraut, melted Swiss, spicy brown mustard and a fried egg on a pretzel bun
Dempsey’s Burger Pub, Lawrence, Kan.
House-made bratwurst patty topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, pickled red onion and spicy house mustard on a pretzel bun
The Counter, multiple locations nationally
Beef or turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, red onion, pickle chips, lettuce and German mustard on a pretzel bun
Beef or turkey, White Cheddar, salt & vinegar potato chips, applewood-smoked bacon, pickle chips and stone-ground mustard on Hawaiian bun
Winking Lizard Tavern, Bedford Heights, Ohio
A 1/3-lb. grilled bratwurst patty topped with house-made beer cheese sauce and sauerkraut; served on a toasted pretzel roll with spicy mustard and potato pancakes
brb: Be Right Burger, Reston, Va.
Beer-braised bratwurst, sauerkraut, horseradish, mustard and Swiss cheese on a toasted pretzel bun; served with house-made German potato salad
Slater’s 50/50, multiple Southern California locations
Best of the Wurst ($10.95)
100% German bratwurst patty topped with Swiss cheese, green apple and rendered bacon sauerkraut, with house-made mustard sauce on a bacon pretzel roll
Grub Burger Bar, College Station, Texas
Bratwurst Burger ($6.95)
With house-made sauerkraut and Cheddar-and-beer mustard, and a Pumpkin Pie Shake on the side
Stack’d Burger Bar, Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Boy
An onion Kaiser roll loaded with a 10-oz. mix of bratwurst and grass-fed beef simmered in Riverwest Stein beer and slathered with Muenster, sauerkraut, fried onions and coarse-grain mustard