“Germany, a country of sausages.” Have you heard this phrase before?
Well, if you think about it, the stereotype probably fits. After all, it is one of the leading countries at sausage production – and probably consumption, too!
I know I couldn’t resist a Wiener with some potato salad or a spicy Mettwurst that comes with a hearty stew. They are very popular companions for lots of dishes and occasions.
Not only are they enjoyed nationwide within Germany – and worldwide for the most common examples – but Germany also has hundreds of local varieties that are unknown anywhere else.
For this overview, I will introduce to you the 6 most common types and their uses.
What’s important to know?
There are three main groups of sausage types that can be differentiated by scalding, smoking or cooking – which extends the shelf life.
These consist of raw meat (pork, veal or beef) that is shredded, seasoned with spices, and processed into sausage filling with the help of crushed ice.
They are firm and some types can be enjoyed cold. Classic representatives are Weisswurst, Bockwurst and Wieners.
These are long-lasting due to being corned, dried and smoked. After production, they need to age for some time to develop their aroma. German Mettwurst is one example of this type, as well as Spanish Chorizo (which is perfect in our Argentine choripan sandwich!) or Italian Salami.
Pre-cooked meat and bacon rinds are often the ingredients used to make these products. Sometimes, blood and pluck (organ) are involved too. Their name comes from being cooked once more after being filled into casings, or intestines.
There are two groups of people when it comes to this variety: the ones who just love them, and the ones who detest them.
Six German Specialty Sausages
Nuremberger Rib Steak Sausages: The Best All-Rounder
The original Nuremberger is a scalded sausage made of pork. A typical spice used to flavor this variety is marjoram. You can easily distinguish it from other varieties by its size. It is lightweight and up to only 4 inches long.
If you find a product labelled “Original Nürnberger Rostbratwurst,” you can be sure that it was made in the urban area of Nuremberg and was produced following a specific recipe that has been enforced by law.
How to serve: A hearty combination with mashed potatoes and fried cabbage or roasted vegetables works best. These small sausages are real all-rounders – serve at breakfast, dinner, or whenever. So go ahead and see what you like!
Thuringian Rostbratwurst: Regulated By Law & Custom
This is a very old type of sausage in Germany. The oldest known recipe dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The taste is spicy and aromatic.
It’s seasoned with salt, pepper, marjoram, garlic, or caraway seeds.
According to EU regulations (yes, they actually deal with these kinds of things) this type has to be at least 6 inches long. So, if you grab an original Thuringian Bratwurst, you might check it for fulfillment of this legal ordinance.
How to serve: This type is a perfect choice for preparing a typical Currywurst.
To make it like the German original, cut it in slices before serving and dust with curry powder.
One Sausage with Lots of Names: Weenies & Franks
When it comes to Weenies, it’s confusing. While the term Wiener describes lunch meat in Austria, it is a common sort of scalded sausage in Germany that is sometimes called Frankfurter (in America, you’ll find Franks, too).
They consist of beef and pork meat, iced water (for the manufacturing process) and sometimes potato starch.
How to serve: They are popular as snacks at buffets or a part of stews and soups, served with a dollop of potato salad or simply plain with a blob of hot mustard!
How to Eat Weisswurst Correctly in Bavaria
Weisswurst is the classic specialty in Southern Germany. In the past they were made of veal only, but today pork is used too. A range of spices like salt, pepper, parsley, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg is added for additional flavor.
But what makes it so special?
The cooking and eating directions:
Instead of roasting, heat it up in hot water for 10-15 minutes. The water must not boil because the Weisswurst can burst open and lose its flavor.
You can find it – where else? – at Oktoberfest! This festival has made the sausage popular around the globe.
But be sure to not make the biggest mistake of all:
Eating a Weisswurst is not as simple as it seems. Instead of taking a big bite, you have to zuzel it.
This means taking it into your hand and sucking out the meat with your teeth. The casing is usually not eaten.
A second, less traditional method is to cut it longways, scoop out the meat and put the casing aside. However, you can still have it however you like if you don’t mind being identified as a Non-Bavarian.
The Beer Makes the Sausage: Bockwurst
In 1827, a dictionary explained the term “Bockwurst” as a combination of sausage and bock beer. Another story is that they were served in 1889 at an end-of-semester celebration in Berlin – together with the same kind of beer.
As a scalded sausage it is smoked for 30-60 minutes, which gives it its brown color on the outside.
Common spices are pepper, ginger, paprika, coriander and nutmeg.
How to serve: Try it with a soft bun, some mustard, and fried onions for a treat much tastier than your average American-style hot dog.
Mettwurst: An Everyday Variety for Snacking and Cooking
Mettwurst is popular all over the country, although lots of regions have their own way of seasoning it. Different varieties are hot with chili, spicy with garlic or aromatic with cheese.
The meat is cooled down to its freezing point and finely shredded. After being filed into intestines, it is smoked cold or air dried.
How to serve: This food is great for parties, as it can be eaten straight away with some bread or mustard. Perfect for buffets, or packed lunches for day trips or picnics as well. No extra preparation necessary!
Or, jazz up your stews or soups by adding Mettwurst to the pot and simmer for awhile to add flavor to the dish.
Are German sausages available in your neighborhood? Butchers or delis that can order special products for you?
Or is there a German store in your neck of the woods? Share your tips below!
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.