Throwdown Entry - Belgian Beer-Cheese Soup With Fresh Smoked Sausage In A Homemade Pretzel Bread Bowl

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pi guy

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Dec 28, 2013
SE Michigan
Again I'll say how cool it was to participate in my first ever throwdown. Didn't bring home that beautiful knife (man that thing is sweet!), or the other great prizes, but the winners were more deserving than me for sure, great entries!!

My inspiration for my soup was an appetizer called "Fatty's Final Beer Cheese" from a local restaurant that's a dip served with soft pretzel bites. It's made with a local Belgian beer called "Final Absolution" from Dragonmead Brewing. I replicated the dip over the holidays and thought, "how can I turn that into a soup"? Then it hit me that it only made sense to serve it in a bread bowl. Better yet, a pretzel bread bowl! And add some freshly smoked sausage! So I Googled what I could to come up with recipes and off I went. Turned out even better than I thought it would, and even though I forgot the sign that read "Soup" and then proceeded to eat my entry, only to remember as I was cleaning up :emoji_astonished:. Luckily I had a couple extra pretzel bowls left over and re-took the photo; although I liked the original better. Anyways, sorry for being long winded.

Started by making the pretzel bread bowls (recipe in comments)...

Mixing the dough (it's a LOT, this is the larger KA mixer):

Proofed in the oven. Oops, all that yeast had it poofin' during proofin':

Formed into 6 not-even-close-to-the-same-size balls LOL:

Boiled them in the baking soda/water bath:

Slathered egg wash, then cut cross hatches on the top of each, sprinkled with salt:

I screwed up and forgot to pre-heat the oven, so the raw dough sat a little longer than it should have. Then I panicked and threw them in the oven before it was up to temp. Then the ones on the top rack started burning, so I had to keep moving them all around, while trying to bake them. Luckily they came out looking great:

Meanwhile I was smoking raw bratwurst. I think it was about an hour/hour and a half at 250. IT was 160:

For the soup I started by frying bacon in the pan. I didn't get pics of the individual ingredients, sorry. The soup recipe is *kinda* in the comments below since I Frankenstein'd a beer cheese soup recipe and the dip recipe together. I also cut up the smoked sausage and put it into the soup while it cooked:


Poured the soup into the bowls, praying it would seep through the cracks I accidentally made in a few of them when hollowing the bowls out by hand. Here is my first pic I was going to send. Glad I remembered the sign before sending:

The vegetables I pickled a couple days before. Just cut up carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, garlic and spices in a jar with a mix of red wine and white wine vinegar:


Thanks to everyone who voted for my concoction. I would be interested to hear if anyone makes their own version and what tweaks/changes can be made to make it better. Enjoy!
Homemade Pretzel Bread Bowls
Found recipe at:

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups warm water (100 degrees F)
5 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup butter, melted
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten

Combine yeast, brown sugar, butter, and warm water in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly, and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes. Mixture should become slightly foamy and cloudy.
Add in the flour and mix together with a fork until a dough forms that holds itself together. Then transfer dough to a floured surface.

Knead dough for 5-10 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky, but not so much that it entirely sticks to the countertop or your fingers.
Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl. Cover bowl with damp towel, and set in a warm place to proof for 1 hour. An oven that was on awhile ago (but not currently) works very well for this.
After 1 hour, place dough back on counter and cut into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a tight ball. Do your best to pull the sides down and twist/fold underneath to keep the ball nice and tight. Place each ball on a lightly-greased cookie sheet.
Boil about 8 cups of water in a large pot, then slowly add the baking soda. Don’t do this too quickly, or the pot may boil over.

Carefully set each dough ball into the boiling water, for 30 seconds on each side. Place each boiled ball on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush each dough ball with egg wash. Then using a sharp knife, cut shallow a shallow “X” into the top of each one. Sprinkle each ball with coarse salt if desired.
Bake in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F for 20 minutes. You want a nice, dark color (but not burnt).
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Using a small bread knife, carefully cut the tops off each ball (like you would to the top of a pumpkin for a Jack ‘O Lantern).
Using your fingers or a spoon, hollow out the ball to turn it into a bowl. Take care not to hollow out too much, or you may punch through and soup will leak everywhere. Leave a thick wall all around.

Fill with your favorite soup and serve immediately. Bread bowls work best with thicker, creamy soups.
Beer Cheese Soup:

3/4 lb chopped applewood smoked bacon
3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/4 cup minced jarred garlic
1 bottle (12 ounces) Dragonmead Final Absolution (Belgian-style Trippel Ale), divided
1 1/4 cups grated aged white cheddar
1 1/4 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 1/4 cups cubed Velveeta
1 cup cream
2 cups chicken stock

In a heavy bottom soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until it begins to crisp. Add jalapeños and minced garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add half of the beer and bring to a simmer; reduce mixture by half. Add in all of the cheese, a little at a time, stirring often. Whisk in the cream, add stock. Once cheese is all melted, add the remaining beer and let simmer for 2 hours.

Pour into pretzel bread bowl, top with some pieces of crispy bacon, scallions, shredded cheddar cheese.
You got my vote. I thought that looked great! But I love bread, beer, beer cheese and all the rest. Thanks for posting.
All I have say is awesome work all around!!!!! Just top notch cook and I'm a huge fan of bread bowls!!!!
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That is awesome !!! Just fantastic . What a great display pic as well .
Looks like a winner to me .
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I used to go to Dragonmead all the time when I lived nearby.
I used to go to Dragonmead all the time when I lived nearby.
We are lucky to have them close. Have been going there since our 25 year old son was about 6 years old maybe. Luckily we can get Final Absolution at a lot of places locally now.
Wow, what a great thread and top notch TD entry… This seriously looks phenomenal!

I love bread bowls and the fact you made them is just over the top! Especially pretzel bread bowls… YUM!

Thanks for the recipes, this will definitely be on the list to try! 👍🏼
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Thanks for sharing, this is one I want to try for sure. That soup will go great with a cold day and college football. Great entry 👍
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Great entry!! Must say they were all incredible!! I would love to sit down and have anyone of the entries!
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BTW, I did enter this TD… but mine was nothing compared to your entry….

How you didn’t win anything is beyond me!
Great entry and great post. Never too long winded as long as there are pictures to follow with.

You did good rolling with the punches and thanks for your how to and the bred recipe

Great job

Thanks! It was a learning experience for sure. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what I'm doing because I want it to be perfect that I forget the small things LOL.
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Thanks for sharing, this is one I want to try for sure. That soup will go great with a cold day and college football. Great entry 👍
College football is my favorite sport by a mile. I will definitely do it again and maybe double the recipe for a nice game day with friends and family.
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BTW, I did enter this TD… but mine was nothing compared to your entry….

How you didn’t win anything is beyond me!
I appreciate that, thank you very much! I actually voted for the sausage and pepper soup, but I would eat any and all of them. I wish there was a way to taste the entries before voting (that's obviously impossible, but how cool would that be?). is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.