There are many reasons why I love living in Germany. The beer is good, the incredible cakes are the most delicious I have ever tasted, there is a decadent variety of chocolate, cheese and yogurt available, being so wonderfully central it’s a stone’s throw away from France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, Denmark, making the long vacations people have here (I have 30 days plus all the bank holidays) a real pleasure. But what I really, really love about living in Germany is the sheer abundance of the many different types of sausages one gets here.
Germany boasts of over 1500 different varieties, many of them famous around the world. While I have not actually tried them all myself, as some of the sausages are for acquired taste buds, I do have my favorites.
After living here for a little over 17 years, one of the things I truly enjoy is indulging in a meal that includes one of my few favorite sausages.
Germans eat about 67 lbs of meat and sausage products per person per year. That is a lot of sausage! While in our household we do not consume as much, in the Spring/Summer months we do spend many weekends barbecuing a lot of sausages.
Sausages have been made in Germany for centuries, each generation passing their secret tips and methods down to the next. There are several regional specialties, offered not only in the specific regions but also nationwide and in many cases worldwide. Regional specialties like the famous “Thüringian Bratwurst”, “Münchener Weisswurst”, “Frankfurter” or “Nürnberger Bratwürstchen” all have been developed using specific sausage-making methods over the years, each producer adding his/her touch, offering a culinary fanatic a true indulgence like nothing ever experienced before. One can even take a German sausage tour visiting the cities where the world famous sausages are made
Depending on how they are made, sausages in Germany are called Brühwurst (scalded sausage), Kochwurst (cooked sausage) and Rohwurst (fresh/raw sausage).
The most common types of sausages in Central Europe are the Brühwurst with almost 800 different varieties. In Germany the most famous of these scalded sausage variety are the so called “Würstchen”. Your typical convenience food, which can be eaten anywhere, hot or cold, as a snack in between meals or served with sides of vegetables, salad and potatoes, they also make great main meals.
Imagine Munich’s Oktoberfest without the acclaimed Weisswurst? Debauchery! I hear the Bavarians shout! Weisswurst, which contains lots of fresh parsley, is eaten before noon, when the butchers offer them fresh. Served with lots of sweet mustard, fresh pretzels and of course real Bavarian beer, Weisswurst has become somewhat of a legend!
Weimar lies in Thuringia, a green and beautiful state and the home to my absolute favorite German sausage – the Thüringer Rostbratwurst or Thuringian grilled sausage. Thuringia’s sausage-making techniques has evolved through the centuries into a genuine culinary art. The variety of different steamed, scalded, and cured sausages one can buy here is truly impressive.
The Thüringer Rostbratwurst however is the most famous not only in Germany but also around the world. It goes back to ancient traditions, where some sources date the oldest recipe found back to 1404. The Rostbratwurst is made mainly of pork from either the belly or the shoulder and usually veal or beef is also added to the finely chopped mixture. This is seasoned with a delicious blend of spices and herbs, like garlic, cumin, coriander and marjoram and then packed into hog or sheep casings. The Rostbratwurst is sold fresh at supermarkets and butchers either scalded or raw. The production process of what seems to be simple food is actually quite complex and involved.
Fanatics and connoisseurs often have several tricks when it comes to barbecuing the Rostbratwurst. Everything ranging from basting the sausages in beer or greasing the grill with pork belly fat to soaking in water, is all common practice. Despite the myriad methods to grill these sausages, the most authentic way to eat it is in a fresh white bread roll with a slathering of hot mustard.
During market days I will often head over to the marketplace, in Weimar’s pedestrian area, just a little before lunchtime. Once my bags are packed with fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers I usually make my way to the Bratwurst man, who sells the most amazing bratwurst from his little bratwurst stand, fresh off a hot charcoal grill. I almost always have to stand in line and while I pay his wife the money and take my bread roll, the Bratwurst man is busy grilling several of the rostbratwurst lined and stacked side by side.
Summer evenings are often spent in the company of friends, neighbors and family, in the back yard. The barbecue is lit and as the beers are poured, the unmistakable aroma of the bratwurst fills the air. It truly is my favorite way to enjoy a good barbecue.
When Jeanne was here in July one of the things I made her take back was a vacuumed box packed full of bratwurst. Along with a jar of traditional sauerkraut, I knew Nick, her husband, would be a happy man!
Well this month Jeanne is hosting a grand braai/bbq event, Braai, the Beloved Country and asked us all to share our favorite recipes. South Africa certainly is a great country known for it’s braai culture, and as Germany is known for its sausage culture, I thought we’d make a pretty good pair at the the event. So my beloved sister-from-another mother – I am bringing you a few of these delectable bratwürste. Hope you have room for them on your barbecue!
If bratwurst is not your type of sausage then maybe you’d like a hamburger?
Soeren ponders if they come from Hamburg! Well maybe we can research that in another post.
In the meantime I have several other great ideas for you to serve at your BBQ:
Enjoy the weekend! See you all next week!
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