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Oktoberfest food prep starts early

Beef is already marinating

October 2, 2011
By BARBARA WALLACE HUGHES, Messenger managing editor , Messenger News

Shellabration's annual Oktoberfest requires hours of preparation by dozens of people.

However, few people start their preparation as early as Debbie Lacina and her staff at Tea Thyme. They are already marinating beef for the sauerbraten sandwiches they plan to sell at the Oleson Park Bandshell on Saturday.

"It's quite a process, as we found out last year, which was the first time we'd made it," Lacina said. "We really researched and found a great recipe ... that received five stars from the people who were judging it."

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Debbie Lacina, left, owner of Tea Thyme, goes over some of the ingredients that will be needed for this year’s sauerbraten with her chef, Nancy Ruge. The slow-cooked German roast will be available at Oktoberfest on Oct. 8 at the Oleson Park Bandshell.

The process, she said, involves placing a 15- to 17-pound beef roast in a marinade made with vinegar, peppercorns, cloves and other spices for about a week. The beef is then baked with some of the marinade seasonings for about eight hours. The result, Lacina said, is incredibly tender meat.

Last year, the sauerbraten was served in a traditional form, but this year, Lacina said, Tea Thyme is planning to do a sandwich version.

"We're thinking of doing it like a pulled beef sandwich and putting the sweet and sour red cabbage right on the bun or offering a horseradish mustard," she said.

Fact Box

If you go

What: Third annual Shellabration Inc. Oktoberfest

When: Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday; ceremonial tapping of the first keg is at noon. Malek's Fishermen and Gary's Ridgeland Dutchmen play during the afternoon under the bier garten tent, and Vic Ferrari plays from 7:30 to 11 p.m. on the bandshell stage.

Where: Oleson Park Bandshell

Cost: Tickets are $8 and are available at Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drug Store and CSBank, at or by calling (866) 468-3401. Children under 12 are admitted free,

The sauerbraten may be the star of the show, but Lacina said they will also serve German-style side dishes, including mashed potatoes with a sour cream gravy, and one of her favorites, sweet and sour red cabbage.

"It has some vinegar and red cabbage and a little cornstarch to thicken it, It's really very simple. In my opinion, it smells absolutely delicious cooking. Some people have a different opinion about cabbage and cooking. I love it, " she said.

German chocolate and Black Forest cupcakes were big hits last year, and Lacina said they will be back on the menu this year.

Tea Thyme also plans to return with its coffee urn.

"Last year, it was cool, and the hot coffee went over well," she said.

Lacina praised Shellabration and its president, Jim Reed, for putting together the event.

"Every year, it gets bigger and better, and we like to be a part of those things, It gets our name out, and it's a lot of fun working at an event like this," she said.

In addition to Tea Thyme, other local food vendors are Willow Ridge and Hy-Vee.

Shellabration will also be selling Domino's Pizza by the slice after 6 p.m.. The choices will include cheese, pepperoni and a sausage and sauerkraut specialty pie.

The Oktoberfest beverage menu includes Beck's Oktoberfest pilsner, Michelob Amber Bock lager, Bud Light and Shock Top unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer.

Contact Barbara Wallace Hughes at (515) 573-2141 or



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