In Germany, sausage is serious business. As soon as you walk off your plane, it’s likely you’ll smell some cooking within minutes. And when it comes to variety, there are well over 1,500 to choose from, and many regions have their own special recipes.
However, most Americans may have only tried one or two types of German sausage (or what we like to call German sausage, as many Germans would say).
What are the most popular German sausages?
Here is a list of some of the most popular sausages in Germany.
Bratwurst is widely considered one of the most delicious German sausages, beloved by millions worldwide. They are usually grilled and served in a hard roll with German mustard.
The sausage is usually made using pork meat but rarely uses beef or veal. The word “Bratwurst” is closely linked to the German verb “braten,” which translates in English to “pan fry or roast.”
Germany actually has over 40 unique Bratwurst recipes, which differ by locality and region, with most originating in Franconia.
There’s a good chance you’ve eaten Frankfurter Würstchen before. In America, it’s commonly known as Vienna sausages, franks, or wieners. Or, most commonly, hot dog.
These meats are precooked and can be eaten right out of the package. The best way to cook them is on the grill. However, oven-baked and air fried also produce excellent results as well.
Bierwurst is a type of smoked German sausage first created in Bavaria. It’s known for its garlicky flavor and has a dark red color.
To achieve its unique taste, Bierwurst contains seasonings such as black peppercorns, paprika, and mustard seeds.
The making of Bierwurst consists of first curing the meat and then mixing it with several ingredients before it’s rolled into a sausage. Afterward, it’s cured again, smoked, and finally blanched. Bierwurst is sold as sandwich meat.
An unspoken version of fresh Bierwurst only lasts in a refrigerator for two days, while the precooked version can last between 5-7 days refrigerated.
Thüringer Rostbratwurst is among Germany’s oldest known sausage that’s reverenced in literature dating all the way back to at least 1404. In fact, this recipe is so revered that under European Law, it has a protected geographical indication (or PGI) status (similar to Mortadella).
They only use finely minced beef, pork, and occasionally veal to make this sausage. And at least 51 percent of all ingredients used must come from the German state of Thüringia.
Thüringer Rostbratwurst is best roasted over charcoal on grilled to achieve a nice char. It’s served in a sandwich or open roll with mustard.
Weißwurst is a Bavarian white sausage made using minced bacon, pork back, and veal. In Germany, it’s eaten as breakfast sausage and is flavored with parsley, lemon zest, mace, onions, cardamom, and ginger with a couple of variations.
They then stuff the mixture into a pork casing. Next, it’s split into individual pieces measuring 10-12 centimeters long and 3-4 centimeters thick.
No preservatives or used, making these sausages highly perishable. Traditionally, Germans would eat these sausages during early morning breakfast or just as a snack to tide them over until lunch.
They are cooked by boiling for ten minutes until the sausage turn greyish-white. Then they are served inside a bowl with the boiled water used for cooking to keep them from getting too cooled. This sausage is usually served with either potato salad, soft pretzels, or both.
Wollwurst is made with veal and pork and is one of many sweet German sausages. It’s also called “Geschwollene, “Nackerte,” “Oberländer,” or Geschlagene.”
This sausage is typically longer and thinner than Weißwürste. The recipe is also very similar to Weißwürste but doesn’t have parsley and has less pork rind.
Another feature is that Wollwurst sausages don’t have casings. Instead, they dip them in hot water and boil them for ten minutes before they are chilled. This method gives them the “wooly” surface. They jokingly refer to this sausage as “naked” since it isn’t stuffed inside animal intestines.
Wollwurst can be eaten as is or fried first. To fry, just dip the sausage in some milk and then sautee until it turns brown-yellow or golden.
During the cooking process, Wollwurst swells, giving it the nickname of “G’Schwollne” by locals.
The best way to enjoy Wollwurst is to serve it with Bavarian potato salad made with oil and vinegar or in gravy.
Ahle Wurst means “old sausage.” It is produced in Northern Hesse and is a hard-pork-type sausage.
It’s made with pork meat and bacon, and some chefs like to season it with salt and pepper, while others may add nutmeg, cloves, garlic, sugar, cumin, pepper, and some rum or randy. The sausage can also be smoked or air-dried.
Traditional Ahle Wurst uses only heavy pigs and quality cuts of meat. The sausage’s most distinct feature is the slow maturation process at very high humidity.
Pinkel is another kind of German smoked sausage typically produced in Northwest Germany, especially in the Osnabrück, Olden burg, and Bremen region, as well as Frisia and East Friesland.
It’s made using beef, bacon, groats of oats or barley, pig lard, onions, salt, pepper, and other spices. However, the specific recipe is a closely guarded secret, just like many different types of German sausage.
Traditional Pinkel is made with high meat content plus additional ingredients that are filled into the edible small intestines of pigs. However, the more modern version is made using artificial casings.
This sausage is usually served with pork belly and kale stew in a dish they call Grünkohl mit Pinkel.
Leberwurst is made from the livers of calves or pigs and is a spreadable sausage with a recipe that differs depending on the region. Some may use spices such as marjoram, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, and ground mustard seeds.
However, several experimental butchers have added other ingredients like mushrooms and cowberries over the years.
There’s no cooking required as the meat is spread over bread with a bit of pickle or mustard.
Technically, currywurst isn’t a different type of sausage, but rather a sausage recipe using bratwurst, which is boiled, then fried, before being smothered in Worcestershire and tomato sauce and finally dusted with a spicy curry powder.
As is the case with many popular fast food items, currywurst has a humble origin story. It was first created in 1949 by Herta Heuwer as a cheap fast food snack.
Today, the famous dish even has its own museum dedicated to its rich history, called the Deutsch Currywurst Museum. The museum estimates that almost 800 million currywurst are consumed each year.
Where to find real German sausage?
Suffice to say, most of what you see in the sausage aisle at the supermarket would not pass muster in Germany. These folks are very critical of sausage; most store-bought brands just don’t capture the true essence of German sausage.
Thankfully, there are a lot of online retailers that specialize in shipping true German sausage. Here are just a few.
- Stiglmeier Sausage
- The Taste of Germany
- Koenemann Sausages
- German Deli
- Josef’s Artisan Meats
- Black Forest Bratwurst
- Claus’ German Sausage and Meat Market
- Geiers Sausage
Is sausage popular in Germany?
There’s arguably no country on the planet that loves sausage more than Germany. The number of German meals that use sausage is rather extensive.
Sausages are considered a great point of national pride in Germany that connects the people to their heritage.
Why are sausages popular in Germany?
The history of sausage in Germany dates back to the 16th century, when Frankfurters were served in Frankfurt, Germany, during the coronation ceremonies of Holy Roman Emperors.
They also used to roast an ox stuffed with pork sausages on the main square in celebration of the occasion. Sausages were considered a great luxury since they comprised only the finest mincemeat.
What is the best sausage in Germany?
There is no one answer to this question as there are hundreds of different sausage recipes in Germany. However, if you asked most Americans, they would likely guess bratwurst since it’s the most well-known.
What’s the best German sausage?
Again, there’s no “best” German sausage as they all have unique flavors and characteristics that appeal to different folks.
As you can imagine, with such wide varieties, the “best” sausage in German is probably something people in Germany have debated for centuries.
What are sausages called in Germany?
A few German words for sausage include:
- die Wurst
- das Dummerchen
- das Sträfchen