Why settle for a standard supermarket-bought hot dog on your grill this summer when there’s a whole world (or country, at least) of German sausages out there? German sausages not only tend to be artisan-made from old family recipes, they’re also a big part of German culture and come in dozens (if not hundreds) of varieties. Even the traditional frankfurter, wiener, and bratwurst you’ll find at a German butcher shop are better than the ones you get at the supermarket. And if there’s no German butcher near you, there are some great ones that ship, like Stiglmeier, Bavaria Sausage, and Koenemann’s. Here are five German wurstel that every hot dog lover should know about.
This sausage is made from seasoned ground pork and is lightly smoky. It’s best heated in hot water for about five minutes and served with mustard and brown bread.
Knackwurst (sometimes seen in America as knockwurst) is super garlicky and is made from veal and ground pork. It’s aged for a couple days before being smoked, and is thick, plump, and great either boiled or grilled.
Weisswurst is a white, uncured sausage made with veal and pork back bacon, and flavored with parsley, lemon, onions, and other spices. It’s very light and lean, and you’ll see it as a popular breakfast dish in Bavaria, where it’s simply boiled and served with sweet mustard and a soft pretzel. If you’re looking to eat sausages for breakfast, this is the way to go (and be sure not to eat them after noon in Germany, or you'll look like an amateur!).
There are dozens of varieties of bratwurst in Germany, but the ones traditionally found in America are thick, plump, coarse-ground, and super flavorful, usually made with pork (or pork and veal). Try a few different varieties and find one you like; they’re all intended to be grilled and served with mustard.
A German cultural icon and its most popular fast food, currywurst should be far more popular in the United States than it is. The secret is in the sauce: Bratwurst is simply grilled and then doused in a curry-spiced ketchup. Serve this sauce along with the usual condiments at your next cookout and your guests will love it. You can find several varieties here.