Andrew Zimmern’s Ultimate Oktoberfest Tailgating Stew

He might host Bizarre Foods, but don’t worry, there are no bull penises involved.

You know him best as the guy who shoves utterly disgusting things into his pie-hole on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, but Andrew Zimmern is also an awesome cook. We got him to tell us one of his favorite recipes, which is perfect for both Oktoberfest and tailgating season. It’s called “Grandma Zimmern’s Tailgating Pot of Love,” and, like the name implies, it comes from a dish his grandma would make back in the day. “It’s simple, hearty, and goes great with an icy pilsner,” he tells us. And if you want to try Zimmern’s food in person, head to the New York City Wine & Food Festival where he’ll be hosting an Oktoberfest event that, he promises, will be “the ultimate beer and sausage fest.” (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter!) 

Oktoberfest Sausage and Pea Stew (aka “Grandma Zimmern’s Tailgating Pot of Love”)

“My grandma started making a version of this almost 50 years ago, using kosher hot dogs and her mom’s pea soup recipe. Suffice it to say, it’s changed. Make this soup with your favorite Eastern European sausage (kielbasa, Krakowska, or Ukrainian)—they all rock in this soup. Use a mix if you are so inclined. I get my sausage from Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis, and it’s worth mail ordering some links if you don’t have a good local sausage shop. I will admit that grocery store kielbasa works just fine, but depending on the brand, it can be really fatty and will leave the soup tasting greasy.”


1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound Polish kielbasa links or other Eastern European-style sausage

3 cups chopped escarole

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion

1 cup diced fennel

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 meaty ham bone or smoked pork shank

3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups green split peas

1 1/2 cups yellow split peas

Sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

White vinegar, hot sauce and crusty bread, for serving


Total Time: 1 HR 45 MIN

Serves: 12

1. In a small skillet, toast the caraway seeds over medium heat, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Finely grind the seeds in a spice grinder.

2. In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate, cover and refrigerate.

3. Add the escarole, carrots, celery, onion, fennel, garlic, thyme, and ground caraway seeds to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the ham bone and broth and bring to a boil. Add

the peas, cover partially and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1 hour.

4. Gently mash some of the peas to thicken the broth. Thinly slice the sausage, add it to the soup and simmer until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season the stew with sea salt and white pepper. Serve with white vinegar, hot sauce, and bread.

Make Ahead:

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.