Did you know that there are over 1,500 different kinds of wurst in Germany? Some well-recognized wurst are available in America include bratwurst and salami. The Germans actually use the word wurst to describe both cold cuts (aufschnitt) and sausages. Wurst is consumed at every meal and at holiday tables. Breakfast and dinner are lighter meals; therefore sausages are accompanied by butter, rolls and cheese. Lunch, or the mid-day meal, is the heartiest meal and usually is joined by a side of sauerkraut, potato salad, horseradish, etc.
So then, what is wurst? German wurst is made up of various types of meat: pork, beef, chicken, liver, blood, tongue, and the list go on. To enhance its favors and aroma, other ingredients such as peppers, eggs, and milk may be added. There are four categories of wurst based on the cooking preparation.
The first one is fresh or raw wurst called rohwurst. It comes in both sliceable and spreadable textures. Both types of sausages start with seasoned ground meat and then cased into artificial or natural skin. Natural skin casing uses intestines as a holding and shaping membrane. The texture changes depend on the ripening period. Firmer sausages have a much longer ripening time.
The second category of wurst is kochwurst, or cooked wurst. All the ingredients are cooked or smoked. Unlike robwurst, the cooked meat mixture is combined with gelatin, blood, grits, and bread. The sausages then go through the second cooking process. The third category of wurst is boiled and scalded, or as known as bruhwurst. The scalding process cooks the meat mixture and makes it crispy. Lastly, the most famous type of wurst is bratwurst. It comes in both raw and scalded. Many American families enjoy bratwurst by grilling it. Each version of bratwurst is unique based on the different regions of Germany.
On Christmas Eve, a traditional meal is served with sausages and potato salad. During Oktoberfest, the celebration cannot be completed without wurst, beer and delicious desserts. Even though there might be different ways of preparing these sausages, there is only one way to consume them: at a big family table along with some authentic German beer.
To try some great authentic sausages, come to German Culture Day at the Hjemkomst Center, September 28 from 10 am – 4pm. The event is free and open to the public. Check out our website for more information. www.hcscconline.org.
“Wurst”. German Food Guide, 2013.
“Wurst Categories”. German Food Guide, 2013.
“German Wurs”. German Food Guide, 2013.
“Oktoberfest”. German Food Guide, 2013.