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Cooking with Fire

Cooking With Fire: Grilled Leberkase

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Chef Tom Jackson
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This past summer my wife and I decided to take our family on a road trip to Minneapolis. The weather was beautiful, with highs a good 20 degrees lower than back home in Kansas — a perfect spot to vacation to escape the summer heat.

But the food we had during the trip is what really stood out. The first few days of our vacation we stayed with our friends Raphael and Teresa. Raphael is originally from Germany and is a wonderful host, so we had quite a few home cooked meals while we were there.

This included a traditional German leberkäse served with warm potato salad and bread.

Leberkäse is a traditional Bavarian meatloaf that traces its roots back to the late 1700s. And while the term literally translates to “liver cheese,” there is rarely liver or cheese in a leberkäse these days. Instead it is made up of finely ground strips of beef and pork and bacon ground to a fine texture, much like bologna or a frankfurter.

The loaf is then traditionally baked in a bread pan until the exterior is crispy. Leberkäse is traditionally eaten in the mornings with eggs, or as a sandwich with a hard wheat roll and spicy mustard as a mid-afternoon snack.

When served for dinner it is cut in thick strips and served warm from the pan.

You can learn more about this great dish and to follow along with our recipe in the Cooking with Fire podcast.

Grilled Leberkase

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cubed
  • 1/2 lb bacon, small dice
  • 1 1/2 tsp flaked smoked salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 12 oz crushed ice

Instructions

  1. Place your cubed beef and pork and diced bacon on a sheet pan or baking dish and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your grill to 350ºF, set up for indirect grilling.
  3. Combine all ingredients except the ice in the bowl of a food processor. If it won’t all fit, mix the ingredients in a bowl first, and work in batches. Process the mixture until the meat is broken down into very small pieces and begins to form a paste-like texture.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  5. Place the ice in the food process and process until crushed into very small piece (pea sized or smaller). Transfer the crushed ice to the bowl of the stand mixer, as well.
  6. Using the paddle attachment, mix the Leberkase on high speed until a smooth paste is formed and the internal temperature of the meat comes up to just above freezing, about 35ºF.
  7. Transfer the meat mixture to a loaf pan and spread evenly. Score the top of the Leberkase in a diamond pattern.
  8. Transfer the loaf pan to the grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF in the center, about 75-90 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and let the Leberkase rest 20 minutes before slicing to serve.
  9. Optional - Grill the sliced Leberkase over direct flame to crisp the surface before serving.