Introducing the 4 Best Types of German Sausages (White German Sausage & More)
Overwhelmed by the broad display of options at your favorite charcuterie? Take a while to read on before heading on to the shop for your next German sausage. In this post, I will introduce the 4 main types of German sausages and how to cook them.
There are about 1,500 available varieties in sausages, understanding them, or perhaps their culinary use may seem rather overwhelmed. To complicate further, replicating any authentically-replicate sausage cooking recipe can be hard as it’s a closely-guarded secret amongst local deli owners.
However, an understanding of these varieties for consumption or cooking should be helpful in increasing your culinary knowledge. And perhaps, understanding the type of sausages better can also help you pick up your next favorite which you have long been hesitant to try.
German Sausages Varieties
Let’s start by breaking down these types of German sausages into four primary categories.
#1. The Rohwurst
Roh is the German term for raw, hence the name Rohwurst. These sausages are made from fresh ingredients with some intended to be eaten in this raw state. To make these sausages safe for consumption, they should only be prepared with fresh meat of the highest quality.
Also, Rohwursts are cured with the addition of salt in more than usual quantities, and sodium nitrite, then allowed to ferment. These raw fermented sausages are usually cold-smoked. Some examples would be the Teewurst, and the Mettwurst.
#2. The Bratwurst
In German, brat means fried, and wurst means sausage. The term bratwurst then straightforwardly translates to a sausage that is intended to be fried. Though not limited to frying, this only implies that these sausages are never to be eaten raw.
Bratwursts are fresh sausages, meaning they are made with raw ingredients which end up stuffed into a casing or a mold. They are not cured nor smoked and thus need refrigeration for proper storage and must properly cook before consumption.
Some bratwursts though are parboiled to extend their shelf-life considerably but still require further cooking before they can be safe to eat. These sausages are usually baked, grilled, or of course pan-fried.
These types of German sausages are typically regarded for snacking and usually served in a white bread roll eaten with a condiment of mustard. It is very popular among street vendors in German-speaking countries.
Some examples would be:
- Frankische Bratwurst. A type of German sausage characteristic to the Franconian region, with very slight variations between the city of origin. Marjoram leads off the flavor distinct to this kind of sausage. These are traditionally served with sauerkraut or potato salad.
- Coburger Bratwurst. This type of German sausage originated in the city of Coburg. It is seasoned exclusively with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon zest and made with a fifteen percent minimum component of beef or veal. These are traditionally grilled over pinecones and served in a bread roll.
- Kulmbacher Bratwurst. This bratwurst is substantially a fine-grained veal and pork Rohwurst from the city of Kulmbach. Typically seasoned with salt, white pepper, nutmeg, lemon zest, marjoram, garlic, and caraway seeds, each butcher’s recipe varies and is a well-guarded trade secret. Whether it’s grilled or pan-fried, vendors mostly sell these sausages in pairs, or in crusty rolls sprinkled with anise.
- Nurnberger Rostbratwurst. These pork-based bratwursts originate from the city of Nuremberg. Also characteristic of marjoram flavor, this type of German sausage can be served both in a meal, accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad and horseradish, or in a bun with mustard as a snack. Usually grilled, some preparations do call for boiling them in a stock spiced with vinegar and onions.
- Wurzburger Bratwurst. Coming from the city of Wurzburg, these are also known as the Winzerbratwurst. Characteristic to these sausages is the addition of white Franken-wine to its ingredients. It is traditionally grilled and eaten with mustard and bread.
#3. The Bruhwurst
Bruhwurst sausages do not represent any specific type of German sausage. This terms instead represents sausages that are fully cooked in hot water before sale.
Bruhen in German means to scald with hot water. Bruhwursts then, like most other sausages from around the world are boiled to a fully cooked internal temperature of 170 Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius).
Any meat may be used for this category – pork, veal, beef, poultry, or a combination of such. The meat usually starts as raw, cured, then mostly smoked.
This category of German sausages can be further classified into:
- Cooked sausages – i.e. Frankfurter, Debrecen Sausage
- Boiled sausages – i.e. Lyon, Weisswurst, Burenwurst
- Coarse cooked sausages – i.e. Krainer, Bierwurst
- Cooked sausages with inserts – i.e. Kasekrainer, Ham Sausage
#4. The Kochwurst
“To cook,” in German, translates Kochen. Kochwursts, therefore are sausages with ingredients that are cooked prior to the preparation of the sausage meat. Then filled into casings, and cooked once more, usually in hot water.
This type of German sausage can safe be eaten right away, even cold, but may also be heated if desired. Some varieties that will fall under this category would be Leberwurst, Kochmettwurst, and Blutwurst.
Tips in Cooking Sausages
A knowledge of this basic classification of German sausages would certainly get you all set with confidence in serving them or incorporating them into your next recipe.
Here would be some kitchen tips based on the given characteristics for each category:
- Fresh sausages or Rohwursts must be cooked before they can be eaten. They may be boiled, poached, grilled, roasted, or pan-fried. A succession of multiple cooking methods is also widely done.
- It is best to parboil fresh sausages before grilling or frying.- When boiling the sausages, you may add any flavoring ingredient like beer, onions, celery, juniper berries to name some.
- Think of their nature for proper storage. Fresh sausages have shorter shelf-lives. Keeping them refrigerated would be the safest way to go.
- Some cured and smoked sausages are ready to eat from the store. They may also be heated by a method convenient to you.
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Picking the Best Types of German Sausages
Picking the best types of German sausage can be tough because all of the are delicious and unique in their own way. This question is no different to being asked of which Swiss cheese you should use. With the wide selection available, it boils down to personal preference.
The Frankfurter is the popular pick, but Wurstchens is the better pick in my opinion. Wurstchens are not a category on its own and may come from one of the four primary ones discussed above.
They are by definition, relatively little sausages named after the German term Wurst, meaning small.
Due to the convenience of practically eating these little sausages anytime, anywhere, Wurstchens are among the most famous types of German sausages. They can be had anywhere from a meal to in-between-meal snacks. Here are the most distinct varieties that fall under this sub-category:
- Fleischwurst (Bologna) – A mildly smoked sausage with a characteristic flavor from the addition of lots of garlic. Usually sliced and added to pasta, soups, and salads.
- Blutwurst (Blood Sausage) – A cooked coarse slicing type of German sausage made from lean meat, bacon, offals, and fresh blood. Typically flavored with cloves, marjoram, cinnamon, and thyme. Examples under this sub-category would be Beutelwurst, Hausmacher Blatwurst.
- Bierwurst (Beer Sausage) – Coarse slicing sausage traditionally flavored with cardamom and juniper berries. Typically served with beer, hence its name.
- Bockwurst (Bockwurst) – Getting its name from its traditional pairing with Bock beer, Bockwursts are fine-textured veal sausages spiced with parsley and chives.
- Frankfurter Wurstchen (Frankfurter) – Originating from Frankfurt, this world-famous type of German sausage is made from finely chopped pork and salted bacon fat then smoked.
- Wiener Wurstchen (Wiener) – Made with a mix of beef, pork, coriander, and garlic. Historically believed to be the origin of the American frankfurter.
- Bratwurst (Bratwurst) – A smoked type of German sausage made from pork, ginger, nutmeg, and other spices. Sold in bread rolls, this is the most famous German street food.
- Leberwurst (Liverwurst) – Liver being an essential component, this type of German sausage is available in many varieties, each differing by the amount and nature of liver used and the mix of spices added in its preparation.
- Teewurst (Tea Sausage) – A fresh sausage made from pork. Its higher fat composition makes this type of German sausage intended to be taken out of its casing and used as a spread.
- Mettwurst (Mettwurst) – Also a fresh sausage made from coarse pork meat and bacon. Depending on the variety, some are made for slicing while some for spreading.
- Geflugelleberwurst (Poultry Liver Sausage) – As the name would suggest, this type of German sausage is a spreading type made substantially with poultry liver.
- Salami (Salami) – Another type of sausage with different varieties. A smoked sausage made from finely minced pork, beef, and bacon.
- Sommerwurst (Summer Sausage) – A specialty type of Salami which is dried, matured, then smoked in beechwood.
Weisswurst – The White Garman Sausage
Here’s one interesting type of sausage worth mentioning on its own. Weisswursts, or white German sausages as the name translates to in English (Weiss means white).
A Weisswurst is typically made out of beef, veal, and pork that is finely minced; then seasoned with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger, and cardamom.
So what makes these sausages worth the extra mention? Well, they are white for one reason, but there’s actually more to this rather extraordinary color.
- It is white due to the absence of sodium nitrates, a preservative which is primarily accountable for the characteristic pink or red tint found in most other types of German sausages.
This lack of preservatives though makes this white German sausage highly perishable. As a result, it has become popular by the term morning sausage as Weisswursts have to be consumed shortly after they are made, which is usually in the morning right after the slaughter of livestock. Even today, most locals eat these specialties before noon.
- These sausages are commonly eaten without the skin. A genuine way of consuming them would be to snip off one end of the casing, then directly sucking the stuffing out. This practice is because these white German sausages use pork intestines, which are relatively tougher to chew, instead of that from a sheep for its casing.
This custom points back to an old tale where it is said that an innkeeper in Munich ran out of sheep casings while preparing Bratwurst for some hungry guests, later ending up with a success that was pretty much by accident.
- These sausages are traditionally served in a bowl of warm liquid in which they were cooked. Again, this is because no preservatives were used in their preparation. Hence they must be kept warm to prolong their freshness. Also, these white German sausages cooking method is boiling because the pork casings are easily burst open if grilled.
Today, these white German sausages are parboiled before their sale, putting them under the category of Bruhwursts. They have to be heated once more to cook thoroughly before eating, and sidelines like a salty pretzel and a dollop of sweet mustard are a good combination to serve together.
And....Oktoberfest is where you are going to get a lot and lot of these white German sausages and many other local delicious delicacies.
I honestly haven’t sampled close to the 1,500 types of German sausages available, but whenever I have a chance I will try out as many types of German sausages as possible since I love sausages.
Let me know if you have any good recommendation, and probably your suggestion might just help me to pick the next best German sausage to serve for my next BBQ round, for which I’ll thank you in advance!
And if you going to Germany soon, watch this short video on what sausages to eat while in Germany.
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June 7, 2017