German Sausage Guide #4: Gelbwurst

Slices of Gelbwurst on a wooden board

What is Gelbwurst?

Gelbwurst (“yellow sausage”) is a mild flavoured, very pale grey sausage from Bavaria that’s served as a lunchmeat, in soft, floppy slices.  It’s produced using finely ground pork, bacon and sometimes veal plus a mix of spices that varies between regions but typically includes nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and lemon.  Its name comes its traditional casing, pig’s intestine dyed with saffron, but these days, a bright orange artificial casing usually does the job instead.

Gelbwurst is also known as Hirnwurst (“brain sausage”) because it originally comprised up to 25% pig brains.  And like most other German sausages, its name varies between regions, too: Gelbwurst is known as Bregen– or Brägenwurst in some parts of northern Germany (both also translating to “brain sausage”); and Kalbskäse or Weißer Fleischkäse in Bavaria, where it’s often prepared in baked loaf form, like Leberkäse.

How do you eat Gelbwurst?

Buy it ready-sliced from the butcher, peel off the casing and serve your Gelbwurst as part of a selection of cold meats, with some good German bread, as part of your breakfast or dinner spread.  Be aware that Gelbwurst goes off quickly though, so it’s best to eat it within a couple of days of purchase.

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