Oktoberfest time is here, but you don't even know a bockwurst from a brat. We hear you: One source we consulted estimated that there are more than 1,500 types of German sausage. To help you get ready for Oktoberfest, here's a rundown of popular sausages and spots to scarf them.
What is it, anyhow?Generally mild, white sausage and usually a blend of veal and pork, but we've seen everything from turkey to andouille brats.
What it brings to the party: Are you kidding? This is the party! Oktoberfest without a brat is like a brat without a beer!
Where to eat it: Go for a little Old World atmosphere at Mirabell with an all-veal version, pan-fried and served with German mustard and horseradish ($15.95 with sides).
What is it, anyhow? Similar to a brat (pork or pork blend), but it might be sold fresh or smoked for a slightly more intense flavor.
What it brings to the party: German pride. Thuringer sausages are named after a region in Germany, which upholds recipe traditions there.
Where to eat it: At Chicago Brauhaus, you can have a pork-and-veal version ($6.95 for lunch; $7.50 dinner), served fried with red cabbage, sauerkraut and German fries.
What is it, anyhow? You may know it simply as liver sausage, but braunschweiger is a smoky spread made from pork liver.
What it brings to the party: Spreadabililty. This smoky, finely ground smear is the poor man's pate.
Where to eat it: It's hard to find a good braunschweiger sandwich these days, but Laschet's Inn serves a nice liver sausage for $5.95, with coleslaw and a pickle.
What is it, anyhow? Sometimes called teewurst or smearwurst, this ready-to-eat spreadable pork product's popular on crackers or bread.
What it brings to the party: Instant gratification. Like braunschwieger, this soft and lightly smoked paste comes ready to eat.
Where to eat it: Bill Begale, owner of Paulina Market, tells us a German native recently came into the store and was so excited to find hickory-smoked mettwurst ($5) that he ate it right at the bus stop.
What is it, anyhow? A thinner, pale sausage that contains lots of veal, some pork and telltale green flecks of chives and parsley.
What it brings to the party: This unsmoked, smaller link is sometimes served as a breakfast sausage, and it goes great with sweet mustard.
Where to eat it: Hard to find at restaurants, you can always find it at Paulina Market, which also sells a ton of these luscious links.
What is it, anyhow? These stubby plumpers are a hodgepodge of meat, usually beef and/or pork--but you'll know 'em by their garlicky punch.
What it brings to the party: Sound effects. Perfect for frying: When they crack open, you know they're done.
Where to eat it: Head to Resi's Bierstube $11.50 for the knackwurst entree ($6.95), two sausages served with potato salad, sauerkraut and rye bread.
What is it, anyhow? Think sausage without the casing. It's a finely ground loaf of veal, pork and beef that's molded instead of stuffed.
What it brings to the party: It may look like plain-old Spam, but this sliced sausage loaf has quite elegant flavor.
Where to eat it: Just-opened Wrigleyville beer hall Uberstein, serves a delish leberkase on marble rye with sauerkraut, red cabbage and dark mustard.
What is it, anyhow? Pig's blood and back fat (or bacon) stuffed in casing. Yum!
What it brings to the party: For most Americans, thoughts of Fear Factor. Germans, however, love it.
Where to eat it: Resi's serves it boiled and paired with a spreadable beef liver sausage, rye bread and butter ($11.95).
What is it, anyhow? This pork sausage traditionally consists of a lot of odds and ends--blood, fat and neck meat might be found in one.
What it brings to the party: Coarsely ground schlactwurst was traditionally made to celebrate the seasonal slaughter.
Where to eat it: Buy it by the pound ($9.29) at Hans' Delicatessen Meyer.
What is it, anyhow? It can be any white sausage (weiss means white in German), but around these parts, it most likely means a finely chopped, mild-tasting, all-veal brat.
What it brings to the party: The finely ground veal brings a bit of refinement to your average brat.
Where to eat it: Glunz Bavarian Haus offers two links, as well as a hot pretzel ($10.95). Try it with sweet mustard.
What is it, anyhow?The ready-to-eat German answer to salami, made with beef, bacon and brandy.
What it brings to the party: Instead of shootin' some Jager, chew some 'jager with this portable snack stick.
Where to eat it: Get 'em at German-American Fest this weekend!
[ chris lamorte is the metromix dining producer. ] firstname.lastname@example.org Updated Sept. 12, 2006Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times