Question: Please tell me where I might find information on German wursts--sausages, etc. I must do a report on this topic for our upcoming family trip to Europe. We depart Wednesday, so please hurry.
Answer: The following list from "Best of German Cooking" by Edda Meyer-Berkhout (HP Books: $9.95, 1984) includes not only sausages, but also cured meats. Hope it earns you a gold star.
Kasseler-- pork loin, soaked in brine and then smoked.
Knochenschinken-- ham on the bone, dry-salted, air-dried and cold-smoked.
Lachsschinken-- eye of pork loin, milk-cured, warm-smoked and encased in bacon.
Westphalian ham-- boned, skinned, cured with rubbed salt and brine, then smoked over a wood fire to which juniper berries are added. The smoking process can take up to five weeks and produces the dark color and smoky flavor.
Blutwurst-- blood sausage, a category which includes Speckwurst, made of cooked blood with diced fat bacon, and Zungenwurst, a dark sausage containing tongue and pork fat, medium-spiced with black pepper.
Bockwurst-- like Vienna sausages but much larger, made from finely ground beef and pork, smoked until they turn the traditional pink color. Sold in cans. Heat in hot, but not boiling, water.
Bragenwurst-- a delicate smoked sausage made with pork and brains. A specialty of lower Saxony.
Bratwurst or frying sausage--spicy links made from pork or pork and beef.
Frankfurter Wurstchen-- given this name if they come from the Frankfurt area. They look like Vienna sausages and are made from prime, lean pork that is ground to a fine paste and cold-smoked.
Hirnwurst-- made with veal, pork and brains. A Bavarian specialty.
Jadwurst or hunter's sausage--made of finely ground meat flecked with small pieces of pork and fat bacon; firm in texture and eaten cold.
Knockwurst or Knackwurst-- fat and about four inches long. Made of beef or beef and pork and seasoned with coriander, garlic, nutmeg and other seasonings.
Landjager-- small slightly flat sausages that are eaten out of hand rather than sliced.
Leberkase-- a Bavarian specialty made from beef and pork.
Mettwurst or Teewurst-- short, stubby sausage made from smoked pork; sometimes contains beef. Completely cooked. Spread on breads. Hard Mettwurst has been cooked longer and can be sliced. Varying types come mainly from Hamburg, Westphalia, Hanover and Rugenwald.
Pinkelwurst-- a Bremen specialty containing pork, pork fat and cereal. Served with cabbage or kale.
Thuringer-- available fresh, smoked and semi-dry. Mild-flavored fresh Thuringer is made from finely ground pork or pork and veal, dry milk and spices. Cooked, smoked Thuringer is made from coarsely ground beef and pork and seasoned with mustard, garlic and other spices. The semi-dry sausage is the most tangy.
Weisswurst-- small, delicately flavored, white sausages from Bavaria. They must be eaten within 12 hours of purchase since the veal, brains and herbs they are made from deteriorate quickly.