What Is Knockwurst?

If you've ever been to a German butcher, you'll know that there are lots of different types of German sausages out there, frankfurters and bratwurst being the most popular. But there's another, less popular sausage, that you should make a point of trying at some point: knockwurst.

Knockwurst (or knackwurst) is a plumper sausage than most, and it originated in the Holstein region of Germany. It contains ground pork and veal (or occasionally beef) and a whole lot of garlic, stuffed into natural hog casings before being aged for a few days and smoked over oak wood. The sausage plumps and crisps when cooked properly, and the first bite yields plenty of juice.

The sausage is closely associated with Oktoberfest in Germany, since one of the dishes served at the original Oktoberfest in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese was a stew made with knockwurst, potatoes, caraway seeds, and apples. However, the most popular way to eat knockwurst is simply grilled until it's crispy and cracking, tucked into a bun, topped with some sauerkraut and mustard, and washed down with a malty German beer. Prosit!