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March Slice of Life No. 7.

Tonight we had beer-ox!
Some people call them bierocks, pronounced /brocks/.
Some people call them piroshki.
My grandkids call them meat pockets.

I have a favorite memory. Really it is an accumulative memory of balmy afternoons that included beer-ox.

It’s a warm, sunny Hawaiian afternoon with gentle, tropical breezes. We can see Diamond Head on the far horizon. The calm blue-green water of Mamala Bay stretches in front of us. We watch the white sail of a sunfish (sailboat) skimming against a very blue sky, navigated by our husbands — submarine sailors. Toddler-made Tonka truck sounds drift to us from the sand. We recline on beach lounge chairs and indulge in lazy chit-chat. Nearby is a small chest of iced beverages and a basket of beer-ox.

There you have it! That is my memory when I close my eyes and take a bite of beer-ox.


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Here is my recipe for beer-ox, a quick and easy version (for recipes with pictures, see links below).

I set my yeast rolls out to rise. No, I do not begin with flour, eggs, etc. I start with Rhodes frozen dinner rolls. I put a pat of butter in my hand so the warmth of my hand will soften it and then rub each frozen roll generously. After a dozen rolls, my hands are frozen.

I put the buttered rolls … oh, buttering the rolls keeps the dough from drying out as it thaws and begins to rise . . . anyway, I put the buttered rolls on waxed paper in a pan with tall sides with plastic wrap stretched over it. I put the pan in the oven and switch on the oven light. I give them a couple hours to thaw (exact directions are on the roll package) and rise, free of drafts and with the slight warmth of the oven light.

I make a filling:  ground beef (sometimes mixed with sausage) browned and drained and then shredded cabbage steamed with it. I add some salt and pepper. Most people also add diced onions to saute with the cabbage, but I leave them out because my husband has onion allergies.

Once the rolls have risen and the filling is ready, I flatten a thawed beginning-to-rise roll, stretching it as much as I can. Holding the flattened dough in my left palm, I spoon some meat-cabbage mixture, as much as it will hold, into the center of it. Then I gently pull on the dough to wrap it around the meat mixture so I can pinch it together, sealing the roll. You want to get a good seal because if you don’t, the beer-ox will burst open and your filling falls out.

I place the filled rolls seam-side down on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. I allow a bit of time for some more dough rising. If I remember, I brush some milk or egg on the rolls. I put them to bake, usually at 350 or 375, for 15 to 20 minutes.

We eat them plain or with ketchup or mustard–spicy is better.
Beer-ox are great for lunches, picnics, game days, … really any time.

Want a recipe with measurements and explicit directions?
With how-to pictures?
Go HERE for German bierocks.
Or HERE for Russian piroshki.
(The difference is in the bread and the fillings.)

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