The term “German Sausage” is really broad. There are about 1,500 types or varieties of sausages in Germany, each with their own ingredient ratios, preparation styles, and spices used. Most of the German Sausage varieties will contain some amount of pork. Most of the popular types of sausages that are currently enjoyed in Texas and the United States have been brought over by German immigrants. The sausages have been slowly integrated into the cuisines of the regions that these immigrants settled.
German Sausage Trivia
- Sausages were given the nickname “Bangers” during the second world war due to their high water content. The water in the sausage would turn to steam and would cause the sausage to explode when cooked.
- The sausage was first made 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians.
- Sausage stuffing machines can fill sausages at a rate of 1 and ½ miles an hour.
- The world’s largest sausage is located in Mundare, Alberta, Canada.
German Sausage Buying Guide
With all of the German sausage types, it can be overwhelming to choose due to their exotic-sounding names. We’ll list the most popular examples of German sausages and their profiles so you can easily pick the one that fits your taste the next time you’re out shopping.
- Bratwurst – This is the sausage that people think about when they hear the term German Sausage. This is a sausage made from a combination of pork and veal and is usually grilled and served on a piece of bread.
- Frankfurter / Bockwurst – This sausage originated in Frankfurt and is made from veal and pork. The flavor is relatively simple with the main seasonings being salt, pepper, and paprika. The hot dog is the more heavily processed version of a frankfurter.
- Knackwurst / Knockwurst – These are usually made with veal, pork, and garlic. The knackwurst is also aged for a few days before being smoked before packed and sold.
- Weisswurst – This is also known as white sausage. This is made from veal and pork back bacon. The spices used for white sausage are mace, onions, ginger, lemon, mace, and cardamom. Weisswurst contains no preservatives whatsoever, so they are highly perishable.
- Landjaeger – The Landjaeger is a cured sausage that’s best known as a beer stick. Beer sticks are cured and smoked and are usually consumed as snacks or as something to go with beer.
German Sausage Production & Farming in Texas
Commercially Produced German Sausage:
There is a lot of German sausage based products that are made in Texas. While their original German formulations may have been tweaked to match the local tastes, they’re still pretty tasty. As with any mass-produced food item using meats, commercially produced German Sausages use a broad range of meats which may include trimmings, MDM, and other types of unwholesome ingredients. This is not to put down the commercial sausage industry, but it is a sad fact of commercialized food. Flavors of the sausage no longer come from the meats and spices but are commonly derived from “Natural Flavors” that are added to the meat mixtures to ensure that the product tastes the same every single time. That is one of the allures of commercially produced food, the affordability and consistency of the product.
Small Batch/Artisanal German Production:
Small batch or artisanal German sausage producers, on the other hand, are not willing to cut any corners when it comes to their sausage production. A producer (or butcher) may specialize in one or more types of sausage, depending on their background. A lot of specialty shops/producers are usually of German descent which makes them passionate about the food they produce and will strive to keep the quality as close to the original as possible.
Preservatives and Chemicals:
Most commercially available German sausages use a lot of preservatives to keep them longer on shelves. There are a lot of marketing words that are being used to make the products more attractive like “All-natural” “Healthy” “Organic” “Reduced Sugar” “Made with…” but the best way to check for chemicals and preservatives is to check the actual ingredients tab and not rely on the marketing label on the front.
The rule of thumb when checking for preservatives and chemicals in your food is to look for ingredients that you don’t know what they do or anything that sounds scientific. We’ve gone over a lot of different preservatives in our other food entries and have explained them in detail.
Commercial German Sausages are usually vacuum packed to extend their shelf life and prevent contamination.
Most artisanal/small-batch German producers also vacuum pack their products to prevent contamination. Some of the more delicate sausages are just wrapped in wax paper, and those are meant to be consumed on the same say (like Weisswurst).
Enjoying German Sausages
German Sausages may come pre-cooked or raw depending on the variety.
For commercially produced German sausages, follow the storage instructions as stated on the packaging. For small-batch or artisanal German sausage, they are best consumed on the day they are purchased, or the next, but they can be stored in the fridge for up to a week depending on the variety. They can also be frozen for up to a month or two, provided that they are correctly stored in air-tight freezer-safe containers.
For the pre-cooked varieties, German sausages can be zapped in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up. They can also be thrown on the grill or heated on the pan to add some grill nice grill marks on them before consuming.
For raw sausages, the cooking method depends entirely on the variety of the German sausage. For more specific cooking instruction, go to the particular German sausage variant here on our Texas Real food Promptuary.