Tag Archives: German food

Gelbwurst – Beyond Brats, German Sausage #2

Today we’ll take a look at Gelbwurst, a lemon-flavored sausage that you usually serve cold.

Gelbwurst outside

Gelbwurst package

I started the series on German Sausages when I saw a sign in a nearby butcher shop/deli advertising a dozen or more types of German Sausages.  I only recognized one or two of them.  With all those German Ancestors, I thought it was time for me to learn. You can see the first sausage, Weisswurst, here.

What Goes In To Gelbwurst

My ignorance of sausages showed when I pulled the sausage out of the freezer, ready to cook it for dinner, and discovered you don’t cook Gelbwurst. Instead, this sausage falls into the same category as bologna. Like bologna, you can fry slices if you wish, so we tried it both uncooked and fried. In either case, remove the yellow-colored casing before eating.

The name means yellow (golden) sausage.  Various meats may go into Gelbwurst. The ingredients can include pork and bacon. Mine had Veal with several seasonings, perhaps nutmeg, pepper and ginger but definitely including the most usual flavoring– lemon.


Like the Weisswurst I talked about earlier, Gelbwurst originated in Bavaria–the home of some of my German ancestors. According to this web site, in Bavaria it might be known as Kalbskäse or Weser Fleishkäse or Breganwurst in Northern Germany. If you saw the alternate name, Hirnwurst, it would mean made the old way with up to 25% pig brains, but brains are no longer considered a safe ingredient for making sausage. Yet, according to Wikipedia, the name Hirnwurst survives.


Gelbwurst ingredients

Do you want to make your own Gelbwurst? Follow the link.

A Short Life

The traditional casing was pig’s intestine died yellow, but nowadays it comes in an artificial casing–also yellow.  The sausage itself is a pale gray instead of pink because it has no nitrites. That makes it healthier than some sausages and cold cuts, however it also means it will not stay edible as long.  One website recommends eating it within two days of purchase.

In fact, my Gelbwurst began to smell a little “off” after two days out of the freezer.  Since we bought an uncut, frozen package rather than having a butcher slice some off a fresh loaf, we had more than we needed for one meal.  We ate it for dinner one night, breakfast and  lunch the next day and still had a bit to discard.

Gelbwurst for dinner

Gelbwurst for dinner with rye bread, hash brown potatoes and salad.

Sheerly a matter of taste, of course, but we preferred it fried on rye bread with a bit of old fashioned, seed-filled German mustard. In the picture above, we were eating it cold on rye bread–also good.

Beyond Brats: Weisswurst, A German Sausage from Bavaria

One day I was browsing through the neighborhood butcher shop and noticed a list of German sausages taped to the meat case. It included weisswurst. The list piqued my curiosity.  I have been looking at German recipes as I research my German ancestors, (even when I go astray) and realized that I know very little about German sausages. I’ll begin with Weisswurst.

I certainly was unaware of the huge variety and the butcher’s list of a dozen or so kinds, prompted me to resolve to try out and write about them–link by link.

Of course we know brats. Bratwurst are the long skinny sausage that probably inspired what we think of as the all-American hot dog. Surprise, surprise–although the term bratwurst has become a blanket for grilled skinny sausages made of various meats, there are other names for some types of bratwurst.  So I will be returning to bratwurst.  But now–beyond brats.


weisswurst ingredients

Weisswurst label with ingredients

I have found memories of eating a white sausage when we visited Switzerland way back in the early 80’s.  It was my first experience with a white sausage, and I didn’t explore what it actually was made of, I just doused it with mustard, folded it in a piece of bread and enjoyed.

Turns out it is a traditional veal sausage from Bavaria and Austria.  That fits my research, since some of my ancestors come from Bavaria.

Weisswurst (the w’s are pronounced like v’s) gives you a pale, veal sausage (weiss=white)  that gets its color from what is omitted–namely nitrates.  That means although the sausages have been cooked, they will not hold up as long as sausages with preservatives, so buy only what you are going to eat.

Seasonings may include mace, ginger, lemon peel and pepper, but parsley is standard.


Since weisswurst is already cooked, all you have to do is drop it in boiling water to warm it up.  This is not a grilling sausage.  It has a rather thick casing, so the way it is eaten is to peel off the covering before eating.


Weisswurst boiled and peeled


Bavarians eat these weisswurst sausages as a mid-morning snack rather than for a meal. To be traditional, combine them with a puddle of sweet German mustard and some pretzels and beer. I’m not sure I’m German enough to be drinking beer in mid-morning! So, I had my weisswurst for dinner instead.

Weisswurst dinner

Dinner Weisswurst with mustard and green beans, bread and applesauce and noodles.

For my weisswurst dinner, I happened to have some wide noodles on hand, so I cooked those with a tomato sauce (not traditionally German, but not unheard of.  Applesauce on dark bread always goes well with a German meal, and fresh green beans fit anywhere.

If you decide to make your own sausage, there are several websites with recipes.  Let me know how it turns out.

My weisswurst sausages are purchased at the local family-owned Dickman’s Meat & Deli in Tucson.  Although they make their own sausage,  Dickman’s buys the German specialty sausages from an Illinois Company, Stiglmeier Sausage Company.