German Potato Salad

My family has our own secret German potato salad recipe. I’m not sure how far back it goes, but we call it GG’s (great grandma’s) German potato salad. But, for as long as I can remember, it has been my granny who has been in charge of making it. I FINALLY got her to give me the recipe a few Christmases ago when I helped her make it on Christmas Eve. And it’s still a safely guarded secret. I think we are the only two with the recipe! So, sorry guys, I’m not sharing that recipe on the blog quite yet. I do plan on putting it in the Wieligman Family Cookbook that will be given to my aunts, uncles, and cousins. But, unless your name is Wieligman or you’re married to one, you might be out of luck on getting that recipe anytime soon.

My taste buds have also been fiercely loyal my GG’s German potato salad my whole life. I have tried others at restaurants, particularly as a cold side with some bratwurst, in Austin and Milwaukee. I was let down by both of those German potato salads.

Despite this let down, I wanted to try another German potato salad recipe. I saw Bobby Flay’s German potato salad recipe on the Food Network’s instagram page. So, when I had some friends over for some grilling out, I decided to give it a try. Read on to see how it compares to the Wieligman German potato salad.

German potato salad in a blue casserole dish with a small serving to the bottom left side.

Similarities between Bobby’s and GG’s Potato Salads

When I tasted Bobby’s German potato salad, I was happy to get punched in the face with vinegar. My family’s recipe calls for a hefty amount of vinegar and most of the other German potato salads I have tried didn’t give me the familiar vinegar taste. Bobby’s did.

Both versions also had crispy bacon. I think bacon and potatoes are great friends. And then onions sautéed in the bacon grease? Yep! Mmmmmmm. When you add these two components to the potatoes, you have salt and smoke from the bacon and sweetness from the onions. Both Bobby’s and GG’s have this combination of flavors.

Differences between Bobby’s and GG’s Potato Salads

The main difference between the two potato salads doesn’t have to do with taste. It mainly has to do with the event or season I would serve them.Because GG’s German potato salad is baked, it is more of a wintertime side dish in my mind. It might also be because my grandma only makes it at Christmas time. Based on this, GG’s version belongs in the fall and winter.

The preparation of Bobby’s German potato salad is similar to your traditional summertime potato salad. They way it differs from a traditional potato salad is that it is dressed with a vinaigrette instead of a mayo-based dressing.

The dressing, or sauce of GG’s potato salad is even more different. Along with the vinegar, onion, and bacon in the sauce, GG’s has a hearty amount of sugar. It is about half of the amount of vinegar. The sauce also has a roux base. The bacon grease is cooked with a bit of flour to make a thick and bubbly vinegary and sweet sauce for the potatoes to be baked in. Admittedly, I did miss this sweet and sour taste in Bobby’s version. So if/when I make Bobby’s again, I’ll likely add sugar or honey to the vinaigrette.

German potato salad in a blue casserole dish with a plate of potato salad, brat, and cucumbers on the side.

I realize that I could break from family tradition and make GG’s German potato salad in the summertime, but I really think Bobby’s is a good summertime alternative! Although, in the words of my roommate Jennsen, “I liked Bobby Flay’s but the Wieligman’s is better.”

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