A Brief Primer on Our Sausages

We do not carry all those 1,500+ different kinds of Wurstwaren (sausage products) available in butcher stores across Germany. Just 15+ different flavors and sizes. Which one is right for you this week? Here's a brief primer on what we offer, of the differences between the sausages and what meals you want to make with them.

Where does the word “Wurst”come from?

Sausages are among the oldest known processed foods in humanity. Already the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, and Romans consumed cut up, meshed, seasoned meat parts stuffed into intestines. And that's where the German word "wurst" originates. It means "something churned, meshed, mixed."

Why are sausages so crucial to German cuisine?

We can only speculate. For most of her history, Germany was divided into many principalities and city-states. Butchers in each state invented and perfected their own local sausage varieties, using different meat cuts, cutting techniques and seasonings. Germany's central location in Europe made it a trade hub for cultures all around the world and locals adopted the culinary habits of foreign visitors. Finally, sausages don't spoil as quickly as other meat varieties. They are inexpensive to make and easy to store. As wars raged across Europe throughout the centuries, sausage became more sustainable sources of protein.

Sausage dinner, snacks, toppers, and spreads

The versatility of sausages seems boundless. Check our sister site germanfoods.org for recipes and lists of available sausages in Germany. Here's what's available on The Taste of Germany and our recommendations for culinary uses:

Bratwurst: Coarsely ground, seasoned with celery, lemon and leeks. Made from a hormone-free, locally-sourced mix of pork and beef, pre-cooked and ready to eat. Fry or grill. Eat with curry ketchup, hot mustard, inside a bun or along with spaetzle pasta.

Bockwurst (Real German Sausages): Finely ground, premium-quality meat from pork. Made in - and imported - from Germany. This type of sausage is called Brühwurst in German. They are pre-cooked, and you just have to blanch them in simmering, not boiling water.Or eat them cold straight out of the jar. Ass hot and extra hot mustard, and eat them with crusty German bread and potato salad. Or cut up and add to vegetable soups. In the US, we can't officially call these sausages Bockwurst, because the USDA defines a Bockwurst as a sausage that contains milk (don't ask us why).

Bauernwurst (Farmer's Sausage): a traditional German favorite made from coarsely ground, smoked pork and beef meat, seasoned with onion, garlic, marjoram, and mustard seeds. Excellent for grilling and frying, the Bauernwurst is a spicier, stronger flavored cousin to Bratwurst. Use with a medium hot mustard or mild curry ketchup and sauerkraut or green cabbage (kale)

Cocktail Sausages: Bite-size sausages made from premium pork meat, pre-cooked and ready-to-eat cold, right out of the jar.A "must have" on all appetizer platters.Dip into ketchup, medium hot mustard, or horseradish sauce. Great with small gherkins or cocktail onions. Another opportunity: meat fondue. Simply stick the cocktail wieners on the fork, saute' in the oil and enjoy.

Curry Wurst: We offer a pre-curried sausage made by master butcher Binkerts in Baltimore. A very original flavor.Just add regular ketchup and enjoy with a piece of crusty German bread or french fries. In Germany, most Curry Wurst vendors use regular Bratwurst, served with french fries and curry ketchup. This very popular German fast food was invented in Berlin by Herta Heuser in 1948, when she added curry to ketchup to maker her sausages taste just a little more different.

Deutschländer: A premium Brühwurst (pre-cooked, blanched sausage) made with over 80% prime cut pork meat inside a crunchy casing. Just heat in hot water for a few minutes and serve in a bun. A luxury hot dog experience. Eat with potato salad and medium hot mustard or curry ketchup.

Debreziner: These fine-textured sausages with a red-orange color originated in the Hungarian city of Debrecen. Spiced with paprika, garlic, pepper, and marjoram and a light smokey aroma. Laced with tiny pieces of pork fat, which makes this sausage perfect for frying or grilling. Sold in pairs joined at the tip. Eat with gravy, red cabbageand German dumplings

Frankfurter/Hot Dog:A smaller, thinner version of the Bockwurst. Originated in Frankfurt in the mid-1800s. Still today, the term "Frankfurter Würstchen" can only be used by butchers in the Frankfurt area. This trademark is protected by German law. Outsider Germany, "frankfurters" became a generic standard.During World War I, Americans switched the names to "hot dog," reflecting the anti/German sentiment of that time. Eat inside a bun with a hot mustard or hot curry ketchup and fried potatoes, pickles and

Käse Krainer (Krainer Cheese Bratwurst): A coarsely-ground sausage made from hormone-free, locally-sourced pork and beef, naturally smoked, and stuffed with chunks of Emmenthaler cheese cubes. The Krainer Cheese sausages originated in Northern Austria, alongside the German border. We recommend to fry or grill these sausages and eat them with whole grain bread and whole grain mustard, or with spaetzle noodles, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli,and/or red cabbage.

Knockwurst:This finely ground dinner sausage is made from a hormone-free, locally-sourced mix of pork and beef, smoked with real beech wood and expertly seasoned with garlic, marjoram, and other spices. The name Knockwurst (or Knackwurst as they are known in Germany) comes from the crackling sound the hog casing makes when you take a bite. They originated in Northern Germany in the 16th century. We recommend hot Duesseldorf mustard or hot curry ketchup as the condiment of choice. Eat with french fries, fried potatoes, and green asparagus.

Landjäger: This is a smoked, air-cured and semi-dried salami-type sausage, part of Southern Germany, Austrian, and Swiss culinary heritage. Great snack food for hikers and outdoor huntsmen (hence the name). Landjaeger sausage snacks keep without refrigeration but can also be boiled and served with potatoes, spaetzle, and fresh green vegetables.

Leberwurst (Coarsely and Finely Ground): A cold cut spread made from pork meat and pork liver, finely seasoned with onions and a proprietary spice mix. You can get finely ground and coarsely ground liver sausage. Perfect with toasted whole grain bread, topped with slices of pickles, radish or cold sauerkraut. A healthy alternative to high-calorie dinners. Just add a mixed salad.

Salami Snacks (Original and Hot Chili): Very popular German protein snacks, made from premium pork meat, smoked and seasoned. Great for busy folks on the run, students and children to still the hunger pang in-between. These salami sticks are tin enough to fit into every pocket or briefcase and long enough to satisfy your appetite.

Wiener: Wholesome, meaty and authentic German sausages, pre-cooked in the glass jars, no artificial ingredients. Wieners are the same sausages as Frankfurters, except with a crunchy casing.Historians track the name to a native butcher of Frankfurt who moved in the 1810s to Vienna and offered his Frankfurter sausages there. But since he couldn't call themFrankfurters outside that city, he called this Brühwurst Wiener. Eat solo inside a bun with medium mustard or curry ketchup, or add to potato soup, goulash, and shashlik.

Weisswurst (fresh and in jar): This finely ground sausage does not contain nitrite salt and hence the meat retains a whitish color.It's made from hormone-free, locally-sourced veal and pork,seasoned with parsley, lemon, onion, ginger and other spices. Weisswurst (or White Sausage) is a Bavarian specialty. The mild taste of the meat, accented by parsley note, perfectly matches the famous Bavarian sweet mustard.Consume with a cold Weissbier (wheat beer) before noon, like the Bavarians, who eat this combination as a second breakfast. We also recommend an original Bavarian pretzel as a side dish.