What is a bratwurst?
Bratwurst is a type of German sausage that contains pork, beef, or veal with spices. The name is German, derived from Old High German as in “brat” meaning frying and “wurst” referring to sausage.
There are several types of bratwurst sausages available. Although, most North Americans refer to a bratwurst as a specific kind of sausage. In Germany and throughout Europe, the bratwurst just means the style of preparation.
History of the bratwurst
Tracing the history of bratwurst is difficult as there are so many different varieties of the sausage. However, one of the oldest known recipes dates back as far as 1432 from the region of Thuringia where it is traditionally known as Thüringer Rostbratwurst. Documents discovered recently in 2000 in the Weimar city archives by Hubert Erzmann, an amateur historian, reveal the law regarding production of Thuringian Rostbratwurst. These laws made bratwurst one of the world’s first regulated foods.
How to cook and prepare bratwurst
Bratwurst can be cooked in many different ways including grilled, pan-fried, smoked, or even baked. It is often simmered in beer to give it more flavor and a crisper texture. Bratwurst can be served with a side of sauerkraut, potato salad, or on a freshly baked brötchen (bread roll).
Below are a few interesting recipes to try. As well, you can always try my personal recipe for cooking bratwurst called “Beer Simmered Bratwurst” under German Foods and Beverages. Guten Appetit!
Beer-Simmered Bratwurst with Onions and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut – Food Network
Grilled Bratwurst – Germany Travel
Smoked Bratwurst – Smoker Cooking.com
Bratwurst in the United States
Due to a large population of German immigrants and descents, bratwurst has become highly popular throughout the United States. In Sheboygan, Wisconsin it is informally known as the “Bratwurst Capital of America”. The city celebrates “Sheboygan Bratwurst Days”, a community festival held on the first Thursday through Saturday of August each year. For more information about Sheboygan Bratwurst Days, you can visit the Brat Days website.
The state of Wisconsin is also home to the famous Johnsonville Sausage company which was founded in 1945 by Ralph F. & Alice Stayer. It produces a variety of bratwurst including beef bratwurst, beer brat, and Oktoberfest bratwurst as well as many other types of sausages.
Just for fun!
If you think museums are only for works of art and ancient artifacts, wait to you see this unique exhibition! In Holzhausen, Germany there’s a museum dedicated just to the Thuringian Bratwurst. The museum is run by the Friends of Thuringian Bratwurst. Who say’s making real bratwurst isn’t a work of art?!
The people of Wisconsin sure love their brats. You can visit their website called Bratwurst Pages which is dedicated to eating and enjoying bratwurst sausages (of course in Wisconsin style!).
The Bratwurst Pages
Category: Facts & Information
About the Author (Author Profile)
Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.