Secret Family Recipe: Hearty Beef Beirocks

For as long as I can remember, my family has made these delicious, German-inspired, heavenly pockets of beef, cabbage, and onion called Beirocks. These are very similar to pierogies in that they are dough stuffed with meat and vegetables. This is a traditional Midwest recipe, as it was brought to the states of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma by German Mennonite immigrants in the 1880’s. In fact, a co-worker of mine who is from Chicago, told me she never heard of beirocks until she moved to Kansas.

Beirocks were a staple menu item for my family; it was easy for my mom to make a giant batch, store them in our deep freeze, and pop them in the oven whenever she needed a quick dinner. When Gabe and I started dating and discussing family holiday traditions, he revealed his mother makes beirocks every year for Christmas Eve dinner; I knew then we were meant to be! The first year I went to his family at Christmas, I was blown away by his mom, Jane’s, recipe; these were the best beirocks I have ever tasted. The dough is light, fluffy, a little sweet, and the filling was perfectly seasoned! Miss Jane was kind enough to give her beloved recipe to me to share with our Camp Makery readers! 

Put on your aprons, ladies; it's time to embrace your inner domestic goddess once again!

For the Bread:

  • 1 Stick of Melted Butter
  • 2 Eggs, well beaten
  • ¼ to ½ Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast

For the Filling:

  • 2 ½ lbs Hamburger
  • ½ to 1 full Head of Cabbage, shredded (I absolutely love cabbage, so I use almost a full head)
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Filling:  
Step 1: In a large skillet, brown hamburger and onion; season with salt and pepper. Drain fat from the hamburger and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Shred cabbage using a large cheese grater. Cook the cabbage, celery salt, and enough water to cover in the same large skillet, and cook until soft.

Step 3: Add hamburger and onions to the cabbage. Bring mixture to a boil, and then sprinkle in a heaping tablespoon of flour to thicken. Cook for at least 10 minutes and set aside and allow to cool.  

For the Bread Dough:
Step 1: Disslove yeast in warm water, add beaten eggs (preferably let your eggs come to room temperature), melted butter, salt, and sugar.

Step 2: Add flour to yeast mixture, 1 cup of flour at a time.

Step 3: Allow your dough to rest in a warm, moist place, covered with a damp towel until the dough doubles in size.

Step 4: Sprinkle your work space with plenty of flour, and roll your dough out until it is about ¼ inch thick. It is easier to roll out half of your dough at a time. 

Step 5: Roll the dough into a rectangle and cut into 9 pieces.

Step 6: Using a measuring cup (I used ½ cup), scoop cooled hamburger and cabbage mixture into the center of each smaller rectangle. 

Step 7: Fold the sides of the dough and pinch at the top, and then turn the beirocks over so the pinched side is on the bottom.

Step 8: Cover the cookie sheets with parchment paper; then place the beirocks on the cookie sheet. Allow to rise for one hour before baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Step 9: Using a stick of butter, smear butter over the top of the freshly baked beirocks before you serve.

Some people like to serve their beirocks with condiments you would use for hamburgers, such a cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles. I prefer a little yellow or spicy mustard for mine, but I recommend experimenting to see what you like!

Note: If you would like to freeze part or all of your beirocks, wrap them individually in wax paper while the dough is still raw and freeze. Allow them to completely thaw out and ride before baking at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Tip from My Grandma Nancy: If you don’t have time to make the dough, you can buy frozen rolls or bread dough at the grocery store and use that instead. This is also great if you aren’t very confident in working with yeast recipes. 

What kind of family food traditions are native to your regional areas? Share your traditions with us on Twitter!