Munich sausages

A guide to different types of sausages

The universe of Munich sausages is not infinite. Its full extent may, however, appear unfathomable to many visitors to the city. An orientation guide.

 

Weißwurst

The famous sausage

Obviously the most famous type of sausage in Munich is the weisswurst or white sausage. This is short and thick and is sold in small pieces. Each sausage butcher uses its own recipe to make these.

he main ingredients are calf’s meat, pork back fat, beaten egg whites and cooking salt. Parsley, pepper or lemon powder may be added to taste. White sausages are boiled and served with sweet mustard, pretzels and white beer.

Real Munich people love “sucking them up.” They therefore suck them up directly out of the skins, without peeling it off first. You must always remember to remove the skin before taking your first bite though otherwise it is really tough. Classically, this type of sausage is always eaten for breakfast or for lunch. There is an old saying which runs “they must not hear the clock strike twelve.”

According to the particular version of the legend you hear, this goes back to the days when manual labourers enjoyed eating white sausage as a snack but had to clear away their places at the tavern at midday, or it may simply relate to the fact that in times gone by there were insufficient places to keep them cool and so the sausages, which were fresh in the morning, went off very quickly.

In historical terms, sausages made of blood and liver are the great grandparents of all sausages. It is thought that the ancient Greeks used to eat blood sausage before they went off into battle.
Wollwurst

The underestimated sausage

The wollwurst is very closely related to the white sausage. In the family of sausages they occupy the place of the misunderstood brother. They are often jokingly referred to as being “naked” because they are produced without using animal intestines.

Another charming and affectionate Munich term for them is G’schwollne or the swollen ones, perhaps this is because, without any skins, they do look a little swollen. Its manufacturing process is similar to that of the white sausage but wollwurst sausages do not have a tough skin.

Usually they are fried in frying pan until they are brown. Many cooks, however, swear that they taste better if they are dunked in milk first. Classic accompaniments for these sausages are gravy and Bavarian potato salad with vinegar and oil.

Stockwurst

The secret sausage

If wollwurst sausages are the misunderstood brothers of the white sausage, then the stockwurst are the family members who have gone missing. There are only a few butchers on Munich’s Viktualienmarkt or food market which still sell them.

The stockwurst is very similar to the white sausage and it is very difficult to tell them apart at first glance. The main ingredient of the stockwurst is beef which is why its taste is significantly more hearty. This too is boiled and is served with mustard and pretzels. Traditionally, however, this type of sausage is not “sucked up.”

Historians of the sausage regard the white sausage as being a further development of the stockwurst. This in turn is probably descended from the French boudin blanc, an uncured sausage which Napoleon’s troops brought with them to Bavaria at the start of the Nineteenth Century.

Schweinswurst

The versatile sausage

The barbecue sausage or pork sausage is fairly small and thin, which is why there are always so many of them in a portion. It is made principally of pork meat, salt, pepper and a pinch of marjoram. It is grilled, making its pale grey colour turn a crispy brown colour. It is served with sauerkraut and medium to sharp mustard.

All pork sausages belong to the more extensive family of barbecue sausages, which are found all over Germany in a very wide variety of types. The North German currywurst may be considered as its distantly related cousin.

On many of the barbecues in Munich you will also see other types of longer or thicker sausages, usually white or red in colour, which have various names. The red sausages are more richly spiced and sometimes taste sharp or smoky. They are served in a bread roll with mustard or ketchup and make the ideal snack when you are travelling.

Gelbwurst

The mild sausage

Somehow it sounds logical: The gelbwurst or yellow sausage gets its name from the yellow skin into which the filling is put. In earlier times they were made with pigs’ intestines which were dyed yellow in saffron water. Today butchers make them using special artificial intestines which should be peeled off the sausage before it is eaten.

The yellow sausage is a mildly spiced boiled sausage and is white on the inside. It is made from pork, calf meat or beef. After being cut into slices (in the Bavarian dialect these are called Radeln) they are usually eaten with bread rolls or just bread.

Depending on your taste and how much room there is in the fridge, all of this can be eaten with salad leaves, gherkin slices and butter – and there you have it! A real Bavarian sandwich! In some butcher’s shops it is traditional for the butcher to give children in the shop a slice of yellow sausage.

The wollwurst is very closely related to the white sausage. In the family of sausages they occupy the place of the misunderstood brother. They are often jokingly referred to as being “naked”.
Milzwurst

The organic sausage

Spleen sausage is best understood as being a distant relative of the white sausage. 65% of it is, in fact, white sausage filling. Another quarter of it is composed of pork meat and a tenth is cow spleen. The rest is made up of salt, pepper, ginger and parsley.

The best-known variant is found in the form of a boiled sausage containing little pieces of cow spleen. To make second variant of this, the sweetbread spleen sausage, little pieces of sweetbread are additionally worked in to the mixture. Both varieties are served in a lot of different ways, e.g. fried in slices in a frying pan. Or covered in breadcrumbs. Or roast for two hours in a roasting pan, covering with broth several times during cooking.

The third version is almost completely unknown but consists of beef spleen filled with sweetbread and brain. The meat components are first soaked in salt water. The spleen filled with the sausage mixture is then sewn up and fermented.

Blutwurst

The old sausage

In historical terms, sausages made of blood and liver are the great grandparents of all sausages. It is thought that the ancient Greeks used to eat blood sausage before they went off into battle. It is no wonder then that both these types of sausages have ended up – with boiled pork belly – in the traditional Bavarian dish of Schlachtplatte, which literally means “battle plate.”

Blood sausages stand out because of their blood red colour. They consist mostly of pork rind but are also up to 40% blood. According to the particular recipe, bacon, salt meat, milk or marjoram may be added. Usually they are combined with fresh and similarly warmed liver sausage.

The latter is deemed to be its gentle cousin and is also in great demand as a sausage spread on bread. Here, and according to the recipe, pig’s liver accounts for between ten and 35% of the mass of the sausage. Beware when buying calf’s liver sausages: Despite what the name may lead you to believe, these may contain pork.

If wollwurst sausages are the misunderstood brothers of the white sausage, then the stockwurst are the family members who have gone missing. There are only a few butchers on Munich’s Viktualienmarkt or food market which still sell them.
Presssack

The cold sausage

You must admit: Just because of its name, brawn will not necessarily give you an appetite. It is, however, regarded as a delicacy in cold cuisine. Amongst the ingredients of brawn are lean pork, boiled brawn (pig’s head) , pepper, caraway seeds and broth.

Unlike the white brawn, red brawn also contains pig’s blood. The mixture which is used to fill an intestine must be brewed for about one and half hours and then used. The resulting mass is cut into thick slices, which are ideal for eating on bread or for serving with onions, vinegar and oil which adds sourness to the taste.

Brawn is therefore considered to be the classic sausage for a light meal or snack. A note on the origin of the German word for brawn. Presssack refers to the traditional method of production: To distribute al the components of the mixture evenly, in earlier times the sausage was pressed between two wooden plates after fermenting.

Lyoner

The salad sausage

The Lyon sausage has a special role. It is true that it sometimes ends up in slices on bread rolls. Its true taste is only released, however, when it is used in combination with some other special ingredients. Only the Lyon sausage can make a true Bavarian sausage salad when it is added to a mixture of onions, chives, vinegar and oil – a classic beer garden meal which is highly addictive!

Also known as a “meat sausage”, the Lyon sausage is made up mainly of cured pork meat. The unusual feature of its manufacture is that ice is added to the sausage mixture. In earlier times, the butchers would add saffron to obtain its characteristic pink colour.

Nowadays they use so-called reddening agents. These include both sodium and potassium salts, which are also both used in curing meat.

 

 

How to eat: white sausage A short video-tutorial

How do I eat a white sausage in the most dignified way possible? In this video we show you five ways in which you can eat Munich’s most famous type of sausage.

 

Text & Video: Nansen & Piccard; Fotos: Frank Stolle