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A Brief History of the German Sausage

A Brief History of the German Sausage

(Last Updated On: February 20, 2024)

The German sausage has long been one of the country’s most iconic foods and it’s no surprise why; Germans know how to do sausage right!

The word wurst comes from the German word meaning sausage, and there are more types of sausage in Germany than most other countries have!

The History of Sausages in Germany

Sausages in germany are one of Germany’s most popular dishes and have a history dating back to 500 B.C. The first documented evidence of sausages was found in Homer’s Odyssey, which tells a story about Circe, a sorceress who turns Odysseus’ men into swine with her magical herbs.

The Roman naturalist and poet, Marcus Varro (116-27 BCE), mentions pork sausage in his book on agriculture. In 1066, William the Conqueror introduced fresh meat preservation techniques to England including salting raw meat and smoking hams or lean meat.

German settlers brought their knowledge of preserving meat to America with them in 1709 when they established Germantown, Pennsylvania. This tradition is why Germans are famous for their sausage today – because they love to eat it.

The earliest sausages were made from lean pork, animal intestines, curry powder, and German mustard. Pieces of meat were then stuffed into natural casings made from sheep’s intestines and boiled or smoked for preservation.

The Germans would make their sausages spicy to make them more flavorful. They were also very popular because they could be preserved for long periods if they were smoked or dried.

In 1857, the largest bratwurst was weighed in at 4 kilograms (9 pounds) and eaten by 30 people in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This sausage is often served with mustard and kraut on a bun during Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich.

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Types of German sausages

These days, Germany is home to many different kinds of sausages ranging from liver sausages to blood sausage, dachshund sausages, and Thuringian sausages. German potato salad, often accompanied by white sausage like the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, complements these offerings perfectly. These sausages are typically made from pork belly, finely ground with sweet mustard, mustard seed, and a sprinkle of white pepper to enhance their flavors.

German sausages are an integral part of German culture and cuisine, brought over by German immigrants who’ve added their own touch to local dishes. The fat content varies, but Bavarian sausage, known for its coarse texture, embodies the essence of traditional German food. In the Swabian region, the coarse sausage is a culinary treasure, using ground veal and black pepper for a distinct taste.

All these types of sausages have their own specialties and flavors that make them stand out from each other. For a taste of authenticity, try the roll with mustard, a classic combination often enjoyed in German cities like Stuttgart. German sausages have found their way into various cuisines, even making appearances in places like Milwaukee County Stadium, where a simple yet delightful offering of a crusty roll with German sausage became a beloved concession staple.

The type you should pick depends on your taste buds and what you’re in the mood for. For example, if you want something spicy or hot sausages, then a spicy sausage is perfect for you. If beef sausage is more up your alley, there are several to choose from like Bockwurst and Bratwurst. And if hot dogs are more up your alley, then Frankfurters are the way to go.

Why are Germans famous for sausage?

The Germans are renowned for their sausages not only due to their long history in sausage making, but also because sausages, such as the Bavarian sausage, Thuringian sausages, and coarse sausages, hold significant importance in their traditional cuisine. This culinary heritage often traces its roots back to German immigrants who brought their sausage-making expertise, contributing to the diverse range of flavors and types found in German sausages.

History of the Most Popular German Sausage (Bratwurst sausage)

The most popular sausage in Germany is still the Bratwurst which is made from ground pork and spices like coriander seed, ginger, pepper, mace, or nutmeg.

Bratwurst sausage is a pork sausage that is typically made from ground meat, salt, pepper, and garlic.

This sausage has its origins in Western Europe where it was first made by German butchers who used to create this type of food during winter when there was a lack of meat.

The name Bratwurst comes from the Old High German word brät which translates to roasted and the word wurst which means sausage. Bratwurst has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular types of sausage in Germany. Do you know what is the difference between high and low german?

This type of sausage is often served as part of a traditional breakfast with boiled potatoes, Sauerkraut, hard-boiled eggs, or wheat bread.

In addition to being a common dish on its own, it can also be used as an ingredient in other dishes such as Sauerkraut with Bratwurst or Potato soup with Bratwurst.

These sausages are always smoked after the cooking process to add flavor; this step also makes them dryer than un-smoked sausages.

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History of the Bockwurst sausage

It seems that the first mention of this sausage is in 1884 when a sausage maker from Coblenz named Karl Denschwand patented his sausage under the name Bockwurst which he then sold locally. It was also called a Konigs-Bockwurst.

This type of sausage is known as a short, plump, skinless, and fine-textured meat product with plenty of pork fat. The casing can be natural or artificial.

They are usually sold in rings and have an average weight between 100g-300g. Bockwurst types are usually used as an appetizer, but they can also be served on other sandwiches or as part of a meal.

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History of the Frankfurter Würstchen sausage 

The frankfurter würstchen sausage was originally created in Frankfurt, Germany. However, no one knows for sure who created it.

According to most historians, a certain Mr. Metzger (a butcher) by that name invented the frankfurter würstchen sausage in 1857 and made it popular throughout Germany and Central Europe.

The original recipe consisted of a combination of pork shoulder meat with beef trimmings and spices such as garlic powder, nutmeg, coriander seed, and pepper.

To add more flavor to this mixture, saltpeter (potassium nitrate), pimento berries, and sugar were also added.

Savoring Germany’s Sausage Delights

The Thüringer Rostbratwurst, a jewel in the crown of German sausage recipes, stands out among various sausage types for its distinctive blend of flavors. This savory sausage, traditionally made from pork liver and pork rind, is generously seasoned with black pepper and other spices, offering a taste that’s both robust and finely balanced. Pairing it with corned beef in a dish creates a hearty meat feast that’s sure to satisfy any carnivore’s appetite. For a complete experience, serving these sausages in a fresh bread roll, perhaps as part of a Beer Brats setup, invites a celebration of German culinary traditions. The beer not only complements the meal but can also be used in the cooking process, infusing the sausages with an additional layer of flavor that perfectly harmonizes with the black pepper and pork components.

Among the common types of German sausages, the Nürnberger Bratwürste and Fränkische Bratwurst stand out for their unique preparation and flavors. These sausages, often accompanied by rye bread, offer a culinary journey through Germany’s rich sausage tradition. The Nürnberger Bratwürste, small in size but big in taste, are traditionally grilled over beech wood, giving them a distinctive hot smoke flavor that is highly prized.

Similarly, the Fränkische Bratwurst is known for its juicy, robust taste, often enhanced by the inclusion of pork skin in its mixture. Another notable variety is the Grobe Mettwurst, a coarse sausage that delivers a hearty eating experience. For those with a taste for liver, the Sardellenleberwurst, or Anchovy Liver Sausage, provides a unique combination of liver sausage enriched with the salty tang of anchovies, creating a flavor profile that is both bold and nuanced.

Exploring Traditional German Sausages

Exploring the world of sausages, we encounter a variety of sausage names that highlight the rich diversity of ingredients and flavors. Among them, sausages made from beef and pork, especially those featuring coarse ground pork or meticulously selected pork shoulder, showcase the depth of flavor that can be achieved. The perfect blend of pork trim adds to the richness, creating a meaty delicacy that pairs wonderfully with bread. Speaking of bread, the “Bread – Au” or perhaps more accurately, “Bread – Auth” with sunflower seed, introduces a delightful crunch and nuttiness that complements the savory sausage.

The “Sunflower Seed Bread Net Wt” specifies the weight, ensuring that each slice is substantial enough to support the hearty sausages laid upon it, creating a meal that is not only satisfying but also a feast for the senses.

The culinary landscape of Thuringia is renowned for its exceptional variety of traditional sausages, including the Thüringer Rotwurst, Thüringer Leberwurst, Thüringer Mettwurst, Thüringer Rostbratwurst PGI, and Thüringer Sülzwurst. Each variety brings its unique flavor and texture to the table, from the hearty Thüringer Rotwurst, rich in its use of blood and spices, to the finely seasoned Thüringer Mettwurst.

The Thüringer Rostbratwurst, with its PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status, is especially celebrated for its distinct taste, achieved through a blend of spices including green pepper. Another notable variety, the Thüringer Sülzwurst, offers a gelatinous texture favored by many. Beyond Thuringia, in Bavarian cities and even the capital city, German-style bologna enjoys popularity, adding to the rich tapestry of German meat delicacies. This array of sausages, including variations like Blutwurst mit Graupen, underscores the depth of German culinary tradition, offering a taste of regional specialties that have been cherished for generations.


What's a German sausage called?

The most common name for German sausage is Bratwurst, which is usually made from pork.

Where did German sausage originate?

German sausage has a long history that dates back to ancient times. The Romans introduced sausages during their conquests in Europe and brought some knowledge of meat preservation methods with them.

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