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Mettwurst is a cured and smoked sausage made from raw pork. Today we will look at the history of Mettwurst, the best way to cook it, and alternatives that you should try.
Mettwurst is a popular German sausage that comes in many forms. It can be consumed as a sausage when cured, like a salami, and even as a spread. Unlike other German sausages, Mettwurst is never cooked. The bacteria are removed by curing and smoking the meat.
History of Mettwurst
The origins of Mettwurst are up for debate. Believed to have been first made in the 16th century, Mettwurst became a popular cold cut salami in the North and a soft, spreadable sausage in the South of Germany. While many renditions of the sausage from region to region, minced pork of the highest quality have always been the central ingredient.
But Mettwurst’s history is not just limited to Germany. In the 19th century, German migrants brought the recipe to South Australia, where the northern German style of making Mettwurst got popular. Today, it is considered a staple lunch for kids and a great snack for parties. Many brands such as Barossa Fine Foods, Linke’s and Butch’s Smallgoods sell Mettwurst.
Mettwurst got famous in the United States around that time as well, especially in the city of Cincinnati. In fact, Mettwurst is the signature dish of Ohio, with the town of Mineola hosting an annual heritage dinner.
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Mettwurst – The Basics
Mettwurst, also known as Metwurst, is a smoked sausage that has a strong flavor. While there are many varieties of the sausage, the two most prominent ones are:
- Northern variety: soft sausage used as a spread
- Southern variety: hard sausage used as a salami
Mettwurst is a type of smoked sausage, also known as Rohwurst, made from ground pork. The meat content, ingredients, and preparation methods vary from region to region. In many popular variations, a combination of ground pork and minced beef is used.
Because of the variety of available preparation methods, this is one of the best sausages to experiment with. While cooking or boiling is not involved, you will need to smoke the meat to give it the signature taste and flavor profile.
What does Mettwurst look like?
Mettwurst has a distinct look that makes it easy to recognize it from other types of wurst. In most cases, Mettwurst is a long and thin sausage encased in pork intestines. It can be hard or soft to the touch, depending on the variety you prepare or buy.
The sausage is typically made from lean pork, so it has little but beautiful marbling of fat, allowing the sausage to have a juicy taste. The color of the sausage may vary depending on the meat (just pork or a combination of pork and beef), cut of meat, and fat content.
What does Mettwurst taste like?
I love preparing smoked sausages at home because they allow me to use my Realcook Vertical Charcoal Smoker. It is one of the best charcoal smokers in the market. It makes it easy for you to make sausages and a variety of meat as well.
Mettwurst has a rich taste, and every bite is full of flavor and juices. The smoking process brings out the flavors in the sausage. The use of garlic, spices, and peppers makes Mettwurst a sausage that will make most other sausages taste bland. In terms of flavor, it is one of the best wursts you can eat!
How much does Mettwurst cost?
The cost of Mettwurst would entirely depend on the type of meat you want to have, the cut of meat, and the average prices of meat per pound in your area. These factors can drastically affect the price. My suggestion for Mettwurst and other types of sausage is to get the neck or shoulder cut, especially when smoking is involved.
The cost of a neck or shoulder cut can range from $2 to $5 per pound. We’re going to prepare both varieties of Mettwurst, and you can try one or both based on your preference. The Northern German style of preparing Mettwurst requires the sausage to be in the smoker at a higher temperature. On the other hand, if you prepare the spreadable variety, you can use a tender cut of pork, such as pork belly, and smoke it for longer at lower temperatures.
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How do you cook Mettwurst?
Once you have purchased the pork, the most important thing to prepare the Mettwurst sausage is the smoker. I use the Realcook Vertical Charcoal Smoker, but if you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option, then MasterBuilt Electric Smoker is a great option.
We’re going to cover the preparation methods for both varieties – the salami and the spread. Here are the instructions to prepare Mettwurst at home:
- Cut about 3 lbs of pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl of ice. Let it chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Ground the pork using a meat grinder through a 4mm plate.
- Add salt, white pepper, garlic powder, allspice, dried marjoram, coriander, mustard powder, and Instacure and mix well with the ground pork for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stuff the ground pork into a pork casing and create thin and long links. Tie the sausage on both ends once done.
- Set the smoker to 120° F and smoke the sausages for 6 hours.
- Increase the temperature of the smoker to 160° F and let the sausage smoke for another hour or two, or until the internal temperature reaches 150° F.
- Remove the sausage from the smoker, shower, and bloom it for several hours. Serve as is or place it in the refrigerator.
- Hang the sausage at room temperature for 24 hours and lightly spray it from time to time.
- Set the smoker to just 65° F and smoke the sausage for 12 hours.
- Allow the sausage to rest for 12 hours, then repeat the smoking and resting process once more.
- Serve the sausage as spread on sandwiches, subs, and more.
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Mettwurst is a flavorful sausage that many people would love to try. However, if you have something else in mind, here are 3 common alternatives to Mettwurst:
A polar opposite of Mettwurst in appearance, knackwurst is a short, plumpy, yet very flavorful sausage. It’s a little similar in taste to Mettwurst as both are heavily seasoned with garlic. Knackwurst is typically made from pork and veal, and it’s smoked to bring out the flavors.
This is perhaps the most common wurst out there. If you’ve been to a baseball game and had a hot dog, you’ve probably had bratwurst. This German sausage is delicious and can be roasted, grilled, smoked, and fried. It’s also effortless to prepare, so it’s a great sausage to make for beginners.
Perhaps the most famous sausage of them all, frankfurter is a true icon of German wursts. Frankfurter is primarily made from veal, but pork may also be used. Frankfurter can be fried, boiled, and grilled, giving you a tasty option for lunch or to snack on when you desire!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Mettwurst
Question: Are Mettwurst and Knackwurst the Same?
Answer: No. While they do have a similar taste, both are different types of wurst and have distinct appearances. Mettwurst is a thin and long sausage that can be prepared as salami or a spread. On the other hand, Knackwurst is a short and thick sausage that’s always prepared as a sausage.
Question: Which Mettwurst Is Better – Sausage or Spread?
Answer: Honestly, it’s a matter of personal preference. While the meat mixture and seasoning are the same, the preparation methods alter the flavor profile of both varieties of Mettwurst. You get a firm and slightly chewy sausage when you prepare the Northern variety. This goes well with subs and platters.
On the other hand, the Southern variety allows you to spread the sausage on toast, buns, salads, and more. In addition, the Southern variety has a slightly stronger taste as it’s smoked for longer and at a lower temperature. So it’s all about what you like the most.
Question: Is Mettwurst Healthy?
Answer: It depends on how you prepare it. Some people like to cure the ground pork in salt before seasoning and smoking it. However, that’s not the healthiest of choices as the sodium content will be quite high.
Mettwurst is smoked, and the meat is allowed to reach a certain temperature that kills all bacteria. Therefore it’s safe to consume. If you use an adequate amount of salt, then this is a healthy sausage to consume.
Question: Can I Make Raw Mettwurst?
Answer: Yes! When raw pork is used to prepare Mettwurst, it is known as mett. There is no cooking or smoking involved when preparing mett, and the pork should not have more than 35% fat. It is typically stored in a semi-frozen state and is served as a spread on a bread roll.
Question: Can I Eat Mettwurst in a Hot Dog Bun?
Answer: Yes! This is a fantastic sausage to eat like a hot dog. Make sure that the bun you get is long enough as Mettwurst is a long and thin sausage. It tastes great with just ketchup and some sweet mustard.
Question: Can I Buy Mettwurst from the Supermarket?
Answer: Yes! Mettwurst has become a popular sausage across the United States, and you should be able to purchase it from most supermarkets and meat shops. That will be a great way for you to get a taste of the sausage before you embark on preparing it at home. I recommend trying both the sausage and spread varieties if you can to get an idea of what works for you more.
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Conclusion – Should You Try Mettwurst?
If you like German wursts, then Mettwurst is a must-try! This sausage can be prepared with various seasonings and in many ways makes it a versatile choice. You can season it just the way you want to and cook it in a way that allows you to enjoy it with your favorite bread, buns, and other sides.
Mettwurst, like other German wursts, is not that difficult to prepare, but you need to follow the instructions to the tee. Do that, and you have a wurst that adds a nice touch to your lunch, snacks, and more.
Whether you like salami or spread, that’s a matter of your personal preference. One thing you can count on is the awesome flavor of mettwurst that’s unmatched.