Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Matter of Bratwurst



After going from the Corner to reading a lovely article from Calpundit about the joys of grilling bratwurst, I was distressed to realize that they really meant red bratwurst. Johnsonvillewurst. Which is not really truth-in-labeling, as far as I am concerned. Bratwurst is made of good pork...and...stuff. Veal, sometimes. But anyway, it comes _pale_, not pink. In the process of cooking, it changes from white to light gray, but it's never red or pink or dark gray.

So it occurred to me that it was time to consult German sources. I promptly found the German Wikipedia article on "bratwurst". Then I wondered...how does the English Wikipedia article compare?

Well, it has a good picture of properly gray bratwurst, but the rest is somewhat lacking. It doesn't even mention horseradish, which is a must for bratwurst cuisine, and it contradicts the German Wiki.

So we turn to the Germans. Thanks to the Fish, I can translate this puppy for you. If I make any big mistakes (as I probably will), Joy can fix it!

"Bratwurst is usually made of pork and in the nature of a stuffed intestine sausage, which is roasted in the pan or on the grill. The designation "Bratwurst" does not come - as many German speakers believe - from being roasted, but from the sausage's method of manufacture: 'Braet' is small chopped meat.

"...In most areas bratwurst is a rather inferior food for market celebrations and road conditions ("Fast Food"). In German Franconia and in Thuringia, however, the bratwurst was specially developed further as a delicacy. Here it is usually prepared only from pork. The bratwurst is partly made exclusively of ham meat, which results in the special quality of the main part. In Switzerland, veal bratwurst are more popular. In the area of St. Gallen -- in the so-called Bratwurstland -- Olma-Bratwurst are made out of pork, beef, and bacon under Beigabe with milk, and are considered as Swiss delicacies. The recipes are passed on as a nearly centuries-old trade secret of the butcher's shops from generation to generation. Officially these bratwurst, under the guiding principle number 2.221.11, are led and differentiated from the other bratwurst. The bratwurst produced as specialties exceed the official quality requirements by quite a bit anyway.

"Bratwurst are typically eaten with sauerkraut or potato salad. They are usually served in cut open rolls. Adding mustard is common. The sour or blue zipfel are a specialty, which are prepared in an Essig-Zwiebel-Sud.

"'Frankish bratwurst' is a comprehensive term for mostly relatively thick bratwurst of middle length. They are usually ten to twenty centimeters long (dependent on the region) and are about 15 to 20 mm in diameter. Their contents are relatively rough. It is also frequently called Nuernberger bratwurst (no "Rost" in the name). One typically eats three pieces with side orders. Anyone who orders restaurant "two with kraut" or "three with kraut" in a Nuernberger, gets these large Frankish bratwuerste with sauerkraut without further asking. Whoever orders the two or three "with salad" always gets them with (Frankish) potato salad. Frankish bratwurst was invented in 1573.

"The Nuernberger Rostbratwurst (with "Rost" in the name) is finer and smaller. Their length does not normally exceed ten centimeters. They are also thinner than the aforementioned Frankish bratwurst, only about 1 cm in diameter. The reason for the small diameter is said to be that prisoners in Lochgefängnis could be supplied with sausage through the keyhole. They are considered as the best and as special delicacies in Nuernberg, prepared in special Bratwurstbratereien. These special restaurants (e.g. Bratwurst Roeslein, Bratwurst Gloecklein) are particularly popular in Nuernberg and are usually overcrowded at noon. One typically eats six or ten of such Rostbratwurst, with sides or sour zipfel. Anyone who orders "six with salad" (or more, and/or "with kraut") in Nuernberg will always get the small Rostbratwurst with the appropriate side.

"Coburger bratwurst also contains veal.

"Sonneberger Rostbratwurst is a delicate upper-Frankish variant of the Frankish bratwurst.

"Thueringer Rostbratwurst is the largest mentioned so far. It's strong-tasting, and is long and about 15 to 20 cm thick. It is roasted over charcoal. One eats it coated with mustard, in a cut-open roll. The first mention of it was in 1404, but it developed in the course of time.

"Sulzfelder meter-bratwurst are a meter long, like the name says. They are about 10 to 15 mm thick, but very long. One orders a half meter, or for very big appetites, a meter, normally with sauerkraut. The Sulzfelder meter-bratwurst is not as strongly peppered as the other bratwursts.

"Pfaelzer bratwurst differs clearly from the Frankish and Thuringian bratwurst. It is likewise eaten with sauerkraut.

"Olma-Bratwurst is a specialty from the Swiss city of St. Gall. It is made from a mixture of pork and veal as well as bacon. An important addition is milk. The bratwurst of the fair called OLMA (east Swiss land and Milchwirtschaftsaustellung) inherited the name. This sausage is all over Switzerland and is often considered the best Swiss bratwurst. A good number of people export St. Gall bratwurst to their homeland. Using mustard is taboo. Whoever puts mustard on an Olma-Bratwoerscht shows that he is no native."


It looks as though the Nurnburg bratwurst and the Johnsonvillewurst are similar in nature, ie, red. (Like, ew. They must start gray!) It also sounds as though today's Germany knows not the procedure of boiling (okay, simmering) the suckers before you grill 'em. But lo, the Wisconsin folk also know not the importance of horseradish. But their brats look like breakfast sausage instead of Johnsonvillewurst. There are clearly substantial regional differences in the cuisine, just as in Germany.

Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult to get proper bratwurst. There's nothing like grilling the food cart person at a festival as to whether they are serving bratwurst...real bratwurst...and getting handed some Johnsonvillewurst or Wisconsin breakfast sausaga. Ewwwwwwwww.

Note the pale bratwurst on the right. (The red things are mettwurst, etc.)

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