The 7 Most Popular Types of German Sausage, Explained
When people think of Germany, they usually think of beer, pretzels, and sausage. While beer is what Germany is mainly known for worldwide, no pint is complete without a German sausage to complement it. But German sausages extend beyond the basic backyard barbecue bratwurst that so many people know and love.
Before I visited the Bavarian region of Germany last summer, I only knew of brats and American hot dogs. But what I learned on my trip is that German sausages vary by region and locality. Germany as a whole boasts hundreds of different kinds of sausages! These seven common types of German sausage are eaten in different ways and each boasts unique ingredients and flavors.
Bratwurst are what most people envision when it comes to German sausage. Made from finely minced pork and beef, bratwurst are usually grilled and served with sweet German mustard and a hard roll. While in Bavaria, I learned about the currywurst adaptation of bratwurst, which involves slicing a bratwurst and seasoning it with a curry ketchup. Currywursts are sold as a fast food dish in Germany and are popular across the country, though mainly in Berlin. According to the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, 70 million currywursts are eaten every year in Berlin!
While this sausage translates literally to "liver cheese," it doesn't actually contain any liver or cheese. Leberkäse is made by grinding up corned beef, pork, and bacon and then baking it all in a loaf pan until it has a crunchy crust. Similar to a pink meatloaf, it is served in 1/2-inch slices and usually enjoyed cold.
While similar in appearance to American hot dogs, bockwursts are made from ground veal and pork. Seasoned with salt, white pepper, and paprika, bockwursts are eaten with Bock beer and mustard after being boiled.
Weißwurst was the German food that I had the most questions about once I arrived in Munich. Translating directly to "white sausage," Weißwurst is a traditional Bavarian sausage that was invented at Marienplatz in Munich. It's made from veal, bacon, parsley, lemon, cardamom, and lemon. Since preservatives aren't used in their preparation, they're traditionally only available until noon and as a result are sometimes known as "morning sausages." Weißwurst are made fresh daily and are generally eaten with beer, sweet mustard, and soft pretzels.
These smaller, pinkie-sized sausages originate from the historic German town of Nürnberg. They make a great breakfast sausage and are typically served six at a time, grilled, with potatoes, sauerkraut, and horseradish cream.
Knackwurst originated in northern Germany in the mid-16th century, and now numerous regional varieties exist throughout the country. This short and stubby sausage is usually all-beef and flavored with garlic, traditionally being served with sauerkraut and potato salad.
Invented in 1874 and meant to be eaten at tea-time on open-faced sandwiches, teewurst is an air-dried sausage made from pork, bacon, and beef. The sausage is smoked over beechwood before maturing for 7-10 days to develop its iconic flavor, which is mild and slightly sour. Since it contains 30-40% fat, it's relatively easy to spread.
With its unrivaled variety of sausages, Germany continues to reign as the sausage kingdom of the world. Don't be afraid to try out some of these unique sausages at your next summer BBQ, or better yet as your next breakfast.