Why Is Bratwurst White?


Sitting down to the wonderful combination of steaming sausages with soft rolls and spicy mustard is about as nice as it gets when you have a hankering to just stuff some food into your mouth. Wash it down with some cool frothy beer and your senses will be satisfied. But what happens when you try a new place and they bring out a white sausage? Learn about white bratwurst so you can enjoy it better.


Eating sausages every day is very common in parts of Europe, especially in Bavaria and Germany where most of the meat they eat is in the form of sausages. While there are other meats available, they were never as demanded as the sausages and the result is a myriad of different types of sausages. White bratwurst sausage was created in Munich by a young butcher, Sepp Moser in the late 1800s. As the story goes, he was finishing up his sausage making while patrons were sitting in the little cafe next to his shop, getting impatient for the morning meal. He had used up all his normal sausage casings, and instead used a thin variety to hold the freshly ground meat. Knowing they would probably break apart if he fried them as usual, he threw them into a pot of just boiled water to cook them. His disgruntled guests were pleasantly surprised at the new sausage and thus the white bratwurst was born.


Weisswurst is a traditional tourist attraction now in the streets of Munich. Outside cafes and markets offer the steaming sausage with a pretzel or sometimes rye bread and sweet mustard at any hour of the day. It is a fresh sausage in that it is not smoked and was always meant to be eaten within a few hours of being made. It is not a spicy sausage, but rather a delicate mix of finely chopped veal, bacon, cream and eggs with parsley and lemon juice. The Bavarians have claimed it as their own and there are political wars throughout Gernany where butchers are trying to decide who has the right to make this sausage. Others are scrambling to patent the original recipe so that cheap substitutes do not flood the market and ruin the reputation of the well favoured wurst.


White sausage, or white bratwurst, is by definition white, finely chopped meat in a sausage. It is known in Germany as Weisswurst which translated just means white sausage. Typically, it is about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long in a white skin. It is always heated in boiling water off the heat for about 10 to 15 minutes and then served hot. It is not fried or grilled, as the skin will burst. The traditonal way to eat it is to slice the sausage from end to end and then eat the meat with a fork and knife from the inside, leaving the skin behind. The filling consists of a select blend of ingredients consisting of finely ground veal, cream, eggs, salt, parsley and lemon juice. It is mild and soft with a very bland flavour.


The popular confusion about bratwursts is because there is not one kind of bratwurst in Europe. When you go to a restaurant, you will not see a simple entrée called bratwurst, but rather a specific kind of bratwurst such as white, red, black, turkey or chicken--each a different recipe. They all know that bratwurst only describes the characteristic of the sausage as being finely chopped meat resulting in the fine and almost mealy texture. Since they are formed in thin skinned casings, they are always cooked in a moist environment, such as water, beer or steam and served many times in a bowl of hot water. High heat splits the skins so they cannot be boiled or grilled or fried. In the United States, many think of a bratwurst as being basically one kind of sausage made with pork and some German-style seasonings, unless you happen to live in an area that has more of a German population and therefore you might see more types of bratwurst, including the white bratwurst.


If you have the opportunity to order bratwurst and there are a variety to choose from, you should know what you are ordering. White bratwurst or Weisswurst is the finely ground veal with the light flavouring of lemon and parsley. Red bratwurst is popular in Stuttgart and is a spicier version of ground pork, usually with criss-cross cuts on the end forming a mushroom cap. As you travel from town to town across Germany, you will find bratwurst that are specific to the town and basically it is their recipe prepared in the style of a bratwurst. So while most Americans will refer to a bratwurst as a specific kind of sausage, in Europe, the bratwurst just means the style of preparation. Sometimes they are small and served by the half dozen, but usually they are the standard size. They are not always mild, but they are always finely textured in the thin skin.

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