Thüringer Bratwurst

Doesn’t look like much, does it? But it’s reaaallly good.

This blog sometimes documents my efforts to re-create Philippine/American cuisine in a foreign country.

I also sometimes think about what if I were back in the Philippines? What German dishes would I try to re-create? My answers to that question are a) Rotkraut, or stewed red cabbage, b) Klose, or potato dumplings, c) Braten, or pot roast, and the only one I haven’t made from scratch is d) Thüringer Bratwurst.

brat3Thüringer Bratwurst (although the literal translation is fried sausage, Bratwurst is actually grilled over hot coals) is a way of life in Thuringia. It is a geographically-protected product, so any bratwurst made outside of Thuringia would be Thuringian-style. It is normally eaten in a bun, smothered with tart mustard. Ketchup is fine, but purists will wrinkle their noses at the sight.

Thuringians literally eat that stuff up, especially in the summer, when everybody and their mom goes on a picnic outdoors. I estimate I eat one or two a week between May and September.

brat1There is a museum dedicated to the Bratwurst, and today we braved the cold (-4°C in the sun!) to go to the annual Thuringian Bratwurst festival. It is a hokey, small-town festival not unlike the fairs in the US, with the “Bratwurst King and Queen” opening the ceremonies. My friend Tanya was there as a chef with the “Friends of the Thüringer Bratwurst Club,” and she committed sacrilege by not putting casing over the Bratwurst, and adding plums soaked in Thuringian Aromatique bitter and bacon. Only a foreigner would be adventurous enough to toy with tradition, and it was surprisingly good! The sweet plum contrasted nicely with the salty bacon and smoke-flavored Bratwurst.

If there is one thing that is a must-eat here in Thuringia, it would be the Bratwurst.

2 thoughts on “Thüringer Bratwurst

  1. Thüringer Bratwurst (although the literal translation is fried sausage, Bratwurst is actually grilled over hot coals)

    This vexed me too, for a while. I learned that the origin of the term Bratwurst comes from Brät — see for the details on that. Thus, the “brat” in Bratwurst refers to the raw material / meat prep method, not the cooking method.

    Ever tried stuffing your own? It’s surprisingly fun, if a bit daunting at first (for us, at least). We’ve done English-style bangers and Italian-style fennel sausages I miss from the U.S., but have yet to tackle a more-or-less authentic bratwurst recipe on our own yet.

    Guten Appetit!

  2. Wow, thanks for the entymology lesson!

    I follow a German-Philippine forum. In it, a member from Thuringia in the Philippines made a photo essay, a step-by-step guide to making Thüringer Bratwurst from scratch, with casings sent from Germany. It really looks like fun! I have to find a) a reliable supplier of casings, and b) my own Fleischwolf. I want to make Klose from scratch (potatoes) too! I have made them from scratch, but with pre-packaged Klosmasse.

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