Last Updated on November 22, 2023 by Carne Diem
Method: Grill or Smoker or Stovetop and OvenJump to Recipe
This German beef roll recipe is stuffed with bacon, pickles, onions and mustard then grilled and braised and served with a rich and savory gravy. It makes for an easy Oktoberfest recipe or enjoy the stuffed beef rouladen year round.
Table of contents
- What is German Rouladen?
- How to Make Grilled German Beef Rouladen
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is German Rouladen?
Rouladen is a German dish consisting of rolled beef stuffed with onions, mustard, bacon, and pickles. The term Rouladen is derived from "rouler" which translates as "to roll". This dish was considered so special that it traditionally was only served of special occasions or Sundays. Today it is eaten year-round and is a simple dish to make at home.
How to Make Grilled German Beef Rouladen
To make authentic German rouladen you will need beef, mustard, onions, bacon, pickles, red wine, red vinegar, and beef broth. You will also need veggies for the sauce, including carrots, onion, celery, leeks, and bay leaves.
Selecting you meat for German Rouladen
Traditional German Rouladen is typically made with beef, though pork and chicken versions are becoming more common as well. Beef top round roast or round roast are the best cut for this dish. Top round comes from the round primal of the beef located at the hind quarters of the cow. It is a lean cut that works great for this dish. You can also substitute thin sliced bottom round or eye of round as well.
Prepping the beef for the German Rouladen
The easiest way to prepare the beef is to just have your butcher slice it into ¼-inch thick slices. Alternatively, you can pound the meat thin to about ¼-inch steaks. You want the beef to be about 4-6 inches in width and about 6 inches in length. We lean towards trimming the beef to about 6x6 inches, so they are larger portions, but making smaller rouladen is perfectly fine too.
For more of our favorite grilled beef recipes be sure to check out some of our all time favorites:
- Grilled Tiger Cry Beef
- Deconstructed Beef Wellington
- Smoked Corned Beef Burnt Ends
- Korean BBQ at Home: Grilled Bulgogi
- Carne Asada Street Tacos
- Peruvian Lomo Saltado: Stir-fried sirloin steak and fries
- Belgian Steak Frites With Sous Vide Bavette Steak
Seasoning and filling the German Beef Rouladen
After trimming the beef to size, season with salt and pepper and slather the beef slices with mustard. We typically use a Dusseldorf style mustard for the rouladen. Dusseldorf style mustard is similar to Dijon mustard but with a bit stronger flavor. We typically can find this mustard at World Market or you can purchase Dusseldorf style mustard on Amazon. Dijon, whole grain mustard, or even simple yellow mustard can also be used for traditional German Beef Rouladen if you prefer.
Next, layer the beef with thinly sliced onion, pickles and a couple slices of bacon. Leave a small border along the edge to keep the toppings from coming out the side when you roll the rouladen. You can use any type of onion for the rouladen, though we typically use a sweet yellow onion to balance with the pungent mustard and pickles.
Rolling up the German Rouladen
Starting at one end, tightly roll up the beef into a tight roll. Secure the beef rolls with kitchen twine or toothpicks. Our preference is twine as it still allows the beef to sit flat on the grill or pan when cooking.
Cooking Grilled Rouladen
Our favorite way to prepare German Rouladen in on our grill. Prepare you grill for direct heat at about 400 degrees. Grill the beef rouladen for about 3-5 minutes per side then remove from the grill.
From this point you can continue to prepare the German grilled rouladen on your grill or smoker, or you can finish the dish indoors. You can also cool and refrigerate the rouladen, and finish the dish in a day or two. This is often what we do so we can save a lot of the time and mess and make the serving day a breeze.
Making Sauce for German Rouladen
To make the sauce, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a heavy duty pan or Dutch oven. If you did not grill the rouladen, or they were refrigerated, cook the rouladen in the oil for a few minutes, then remove to a plate.
Sauté the onions in the oil until soft then add the carrots, celery, garlic, and leek.
Continue to cook the veggies until soft.
Next add the wine, red wine vinegar and the bay leaves, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any of the cooked-on beef or browned bits.
Next add the beef broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Return the rouladen to the pan. At this point you can continue to cook on the stovetop at about 350 degrees, or can cook in the oven, smoker, or grill at 350 degrees.
Cook for 30 minutes uncovered, then flip the rouladen over and cover the Dutch oven. Cook an additional 1 hour flipping the rouladen about 1 more time halfway through.
Finishing the Rouladen Gravy
Remove the rouladen from the pot and strain the vegetables from the sauce. Reserve about 1 cup of the vegetables and the remainder can be discarded. To thicken the sauce, add the 1 cup of vegetables back to the sauce and blend with an immersion blender of in a food processor, then return the sauce to the pot and simmer until thickened. If desired, you can also thicken the sauce with a small amount of baking powder slurry. Typically, only about 1-2 tablespoons of slurry is needed to thicken the gravy.
Serving the Grilled German Beef Rouladen
Remove the cooking twine or toothpicks from the beef rolls. Serve the rouladen while warm and smothered in the gravy. Rouladen pairs well with German spaetzle, sauerkraut, or potato dumplings. Don't forget a stein of Marzen or Hefeweizen.
If you are cooking for a larger crowd or for those with a bigger appetite, the amount of meat used in the recipe can easily be doubled without increasing the amount of sauce.
Be the star of your next Oktoberfest party with some more of these Bavarian classics:
- Authentic Sauerbraten
- German Beer Pretzels
- Smoked German Beer Cheese Sauce
- Authentic Schwenkbraten: German Swinging Pork
- German Black Forest Cheesecake
Frequently Asked Questions
Beef top round roast or round roast are idea cuts for German rouladen. These lean cuts that works great for this dish and handle the long braising times when making this rolled beef recipe. Thin sliced bottom round or eye of round would be good substitutes as well.
Leftovers should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 days. The best way to reheat leftovers is by reheating the rolled beef in the gravy on a stovetop, until heated back through. Reheating, covered, in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes is also an effective method of reheating leftovers.
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Grilled German Rouladen
- Dutch Oven
- Immersion blender or blender
- 2 Pounds Top Round ¼ inch thick
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ Yellow Onion thinly sliced
- ¼ Cup Pickles cut into slices
- 8 Slices Bacon
- ½ Cup Mustard or enough to cover the sliced meat
- ½ Onion diced
- 1 Carrot Peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 Celery Stalk Diced
- 1 Leek Rinsed well and sliced
- 1 Garlic Cloves minced
- ¾ Cup Red Wine
- ¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Cups Beef Broth
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 2 Bay Leaves
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pound the top round to ¼-inch thickness or have your butcher slice to ¼-inch thickness.
- Divide the top round into roughly 6x6 or 4x6 portions, then slather each piece of beef with mustard.
- Top the beef with the thinly sliced onion and pickles, then top with 2 slices of bacon, leaving about a ¼-inch border.
- Roll up each of the pieces of meat into a pinwheel then secure with cooking twine or toothpicks.
- Prepare your grill or smoker for direct heat and preheat to 400 degrees. Grill each side of the rouladen for about 3-5 minutes per side. See Note 1
- Heat the Dutch oven over medium heat and add a couple tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Cook the diced onions for about 3-5 minutes, until softened then add the additional veggies and cook for 3-5 more minutes.
- Add in the wine and red wine vinegar and mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove and browned bits.
- Add in the bay leaves and bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer. Add in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and beef broth.
- Return to a simmer and return the rouladen to the Dutch oven.
- Cook in the oven, grill, smoker, or stovetop at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Flip the rouladen over and cover. Cook for 1 more hour, flipping the rouladen halfway through the cook time.
- Remove the beef rouladen from the Dutch oven and strain out the vegetables. Reserve 1 cup of the vegetables and discard the rest.
- Add the reserved 1 cup of vegetables to the gravy and use a blender or immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- Return the gravy to the Dutch oven and simmer until thickened. See note 2
- Taste and salt the gravy as desired.
- Remove the twine or toothpicks from the German Beef Rouladen and serve warm, smothered with the gravy.