The Cream City Cheeseburger

cheeseburger-entree-main dish
by Lori of BURP! Where Food Happens in honor of Cheeseburgers Across America

Although Milwaukee’s rich heritage has been influenced by many cultures and traditions, the city seems best known for its German ties. During the middle and late 19th century, German immigrants fleeing the Revolution of 1848 discovered both inexpensive land and freedom on the banks of Lake Michigan. And their settlement created a culture that washed over the city and gained widespread influence, particularly with regard to its food.
Nowhere is this more evident than along Old World Third Street, a three-block historic landmark zone just north of downtown. The city’s past is brought to life in the detailed facades of the 19th-century European-style buildings lining this cobblestone street, home to Usinger’s Sausage, Mader’s Restaurant, Wisconsin Cheese Mart, The Spice House, and the Old German Beer Hall.
This cheeseburger is a tribute to all that makes Milwaukee famous.
It begins with a simple burger made from fresh Wisconsin bratwurst, removed from its casing, shaped into a patty, and grilled. The cheeseburger is then topped with beer-braised onions and a liberal serving of delicious beer cheese sauce made with Wisconsin Cheddar cheese and Lakefront Brewery’s Riverwest Stein lager.
For the full Milwaukee experience, enjoy this burger on a warm summer night washed down with a cold beer and followed by a scoop of delicious frozen custard.

The Cream City Cheeseburger

Serves 4


1 1/3 lb (4 large) fresh bratwurst links, casings removed
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Riverwest Stein beer (or another lager)
Beer Cheddar sauce (recipe below)
4 potato burger buns

In large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and oil. Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt.

Stir to coat onions with butter and allow to cook undisturbed for 5-10 minutes, or until beginning to brown.

Continue to cook onions, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized (turn down the heat if the onions appear to be browning too quickly).

Add beer to onions and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble until the alcohol flavor has dissipated and there is very little moisture left in the pan. Set onions aside.

Form the sausages into four patties. Preheat grill to high heat for direct grilling. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate.

Place burgers on the hot grate and grill until cooked through, 6-7 minutes a side.

Beer Cheddar Sauce

Makes 3 Cups

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Riverwest Stein (or other lager) beer
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups Wisconsin Cheddar cheese, shredded

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour.

Continue whisking, and allow the mixture to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the beer and cream, whisking constantly.

Bring the mixture just to a boil and whisk until thickened.

Sprinkle cheese into the cream and beer mixture, whisking until smooth.

Beer cheese sauce can also be used as a sauce for pasta, a topping for nachos, or a dipping sauce for pretzels.

Looking for more Milwaukee? Check out the Cheese & Burger Society’s Milwaukee cheeseburger from Cheeseburgers Across America.