Guide to German Sausages & Meat Products
German sausages are famous around the world. There are more than 1500 different varieties of sausage nationwide, including regionally typical specialities. Fresh sausage, scalded sausage, cooked sausage and ham are the four main groups of sausage. Germans eat about 67 lbs of meat and sausage products per person per year.
Summer Sausage – Sommerwurst
A mildly seasoned salami specialty, dried and matured and smoked over beechwood.
A mildly smoked sausage. Serve sliced or added to pasta, soups and salad.
Geflügelwurst – Poultry Sausage
Poultry sausage is low in fat and high in protein.
Germans have been making sausages for centuries using methods passed down through the generations. Each region in Germany developed different sausage-making methods which explains the numerous regional ham and sausage specialities. Such regional specialties as “Thuringian Rotwurst”, “Munich Weisswurst”, “Nürnberger Bratwürstchen” or Black Forest ham are not just only eaten in the regions where they originated. They have also become famous and popular all over Germany and indeed all over the world.
Depending on how they are made, sausages in Germany are called Brühwurst (scalded sausage), Kochwurst (cooked sausage) and Rohwurst (fresh sausage).
Scalded Sausage(Brühwurst )
With almost 800 different varieties, scalded sausage is one of the most common types of sausage in Central Europe. In Germany 60 percent of all sausages manufactured are the scalded type Scalded sausage is made from raw pork or beef, bacon and finely crushed ice. These ingredients are finely minced in the cutter and mixed with salt, pepper and other spices, such as coriander, paprika, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom, depending on the type of sausage to be produced. The name “scalded sausage” (Brühwurst) comes from the fact that these sausages are scalded in hot water or steam. All scalded sausage varieties are fresh sausage products. They should be refrigerated and eaten as soon as possible.The most common types of scalded sausage are: Fleischwurst, Bierwurst, Jagdwurst, Bierschinken, Paprikawurst and Zigeunerwurst (literally: gypsy sausage) and Bierschinken.
The most famous of Germany’s sausages are the “Würstchen”. Würstchen can be eaten any time and anywhere, they are filling, taste great and are good not only as a between-meal snack. One could say they are the original convenience food. Whether hot or cold, singly or in pairs, whether “Bockwurst”, “Frankfurter” or “Vienna” sausage, “Nurnberger” or “Thuringian” sausage for grilling or frying: there’s a huge variety. And what would Munich’s annual Oktoberfest be without the world-famous “Weisswurst”? Real Bavarians eat this scalded sausage variety, which contains lots of fresh parsley, before noon with sweet mustard and fresh pretzels and of course a real Bavarian beer.
Cooked Sausage (Kochwurst)
The best known cooked sausages – liver sausage and blood sausage – used to be luxury foods that would only be eaten on festive occasions in the past. All 350 varieties of cooked sausage have one thing in common: they are normally made from scalded or boiled meat and other raw materials. Many varieties also contain offal. “Blutwurst” (blood sausage) and “Leberwurst” (liver sausage) are the best-known varieties of cooked sausage
Fresh Sausage (Rohwurst) – the most popular sausage
There are around 600 different varieties of fresh sausage in Germany. These sausage products are made from raw meat, specifically from lean beef or pork, firm bacon, salt and spices. Fresh sausages have a very distinctive taste and are be stored hanging in airy, slightly cool rooms. There are two major categories: sliceable fresh sausages and fresh sausage spreads.
Fresh sausage for slicing
The firm, sliceable fresh sausage products include German salami, cervelat sausage, Mettwurst (coarsely minced pork sausage) and garlic sausage. Salami and cervelat sausage are the absolute favorites in their category.
Spreadable fresh sausage
The spreads in this group include “Teewurst” (very fine sausage), “Pfeffersäckchen” (literally: little pepper sacks), minced ham sausage and onion-flavored minced pork sausage. The best known variety is a spread made according to a traditional Brunswick recipe (“Streichmettwurst nach Braunschweiger Art”). These products contain more fat than their firmer counterparts for slicing, which makes them spreadable.
Blood sausage and other specialities
Blood sausage is a sliceable cooked sausage and includes such products as “Rotwurst”, “Grutzwurst”, “Zungenwurst” or “Speckblutwurst”, i.e. blood sausage varieties containing other meats, tongue, bacon or lard in varying proportions, as well as rind and fresh blood. Offal is also frequently used for these products, such as heart and tongue, while cloves, marjoram, thyme and cinnamon give them a spicy flavor. Many varieties of blood sausage additionally contain chunks of lean meat.
“Thuringian Rotwurst” is one of the most popular and most common types of cooked sausage. It originated in the eastern part of Germany and is also known as the “queen of blood sausages”. Other well known examples of this group include “Beutelwurst” (literally: sausage in a bag) from northern Germany and the “Hausmacher Blutwurst” (made according to a traditional family recipe) which is also sold as an air-dried variety.
Liver sausage is available in a whole variety of forms and flavours but all varieties must contain at least 10 percent live – the best varieties contain over 25 percent liver. The large range includes veal liver sausage, traditional Palatinate liver sausage (Pfälzer Hausmacher Leberwurst), “Plunze” (a mixture of liver sausage and blood sausage) and Pomeranian goose liver sausage with walnut-sized chunks of goose liver. Liver sausages flavoured with herbs, anchovies, shallots or tomato are additional specialities.