Guide to German Sausage: Nuremberg Bratwurst

All about the Wurst:

Nuernberger Rostbratwurst
Erin Porter

Nürnberg Rostbratwurst are finger-like sausages that originate in the charming Bavarian city of Nuremberg (German spelling: Nürnberg). Each diminutive sausage weighs about an ounce (25 grams) and measures in at 3 to 4 inches (7 to 9 cm) in length. Made from coarsely ground pork, it is seasoned with marjoram, salt, pepper, ginger, cardamom and lemon powder and is one of the most popular sausages in Germany. More than 3 million Nürnberg Bratwurst are produced every day. 

Learn about the history of Nuremberg Bratwurst, how to eat them, and where to find them in Germany.

History of Nürnberger Bratwurst

The history of Nuremberg dates back almost 1,000 years and this iconic sausage is almost as legendary. First mention of Nürnberger Bratwurst was around 1313 at the Bratwurstglöcklein restaurant which still exists today. Though many German sausages utilize marjoram, it is a major component of this wurst

By 1462, the sausage had become popular enough that many metzger (butchers) were offering Nürnberger Bratwurst. It quickly became serious business with government oversight into the quality and consistency of the sausage. Only specialized pork butchers were allowed to produce the sausage and had to present their wares daily to a council of butchers. Sub-standard sausages were tossed straight in the River Pegnitz.

Market prices for the snack dropped in the 16th century to such a level that butchers could no longer afford to produce the sausage. As a solution, they made the bratwurst smaller and thinner so they could sell more of these little guys. This creative solution saved many businesses and preserved the legacy of this distinctive Nürnberger Bratwurst.

There are also a few more far-fetched legends linked to the sausages' small size. One reports that Nürnberger Bratwurst were able to be passed through the keyhole by enterprising innkeepers to feed guests locked outside the walls after curfew. Another says they were pushed through special holes in the wall for inmates. Check out this story's validity with a tour of Nuremberg's medieval dungeon.

Standards are still high as the sausage is protected under the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) like the German beer from Cologne, Kölsch, or the Spreewald's famous pickle. They are only produced in the area around Nuremberg and must stick to the basic original recipe.

How Nürnberger Bratwurst are Served

Served everywhere from imbiss stands to biergartens, these tasty sausages are best cooked over a charcoal-grill - perfect for the summer grilling season. They are often eaten three at a time in a roll as a meal to go known as “Drei im Weggla”. Or you can order six to 12 as a plated meal, they can also be pan-fried and served with sauerkraut, potato salad and horseradish and senf (traditional German mustard). A version with onion and vinegar is called blaue Zipfel.

This is a must have at Nuremberg's world-famous Christmas Market to warm your hands and stomach and take the icy edge out of winter. They may also be enjoyed at one of the many established Nürnberg restaurants.

Where to eat Nürnberger Bratwurst in Nürnberg

Address: Waffenhof 5, 90402 Nürnberg
Telephone: 0911 227625

This restaurant has been cooking Nürnberger Bratwurst since 1313 and is the oldest sausage kitchen in Nuremberg. Wurst are cooked traditionally, grilled on a charcoal grill and served on the classic tin plate with sauerkraut, potato salad, horseradish, fresh bread, and - of course - a Franconian beer.

Address: Rathauspl. 1, 90403 Nürnberg
Telephone: 0911 227695

With its own butcher on premise, the quality is high at this historic Nuremberg restaurant. Enjoy a plate of Nürnberger Rostbratwurst just as Albrecht Dürer did in this exact location.

Address: Glöckleinsgasse 2, 90403 Nürnberg
Telephone: 0911 225153

Another haunt of Dürer and Hans Sachs, this is one of Germany's oldest wine bars and a restaurant loved by kings, artists, locals and tourists since 1498. Famous for it Nürnberger plate, everything comes from nearby farms with local butchers supplying the sausage. Never has a fried sausage tasted so fresh.

Address: Rathauspl. 6, 90403 Nürnberg
Telephone: 0911 214860

In the heart of the Old Town, this Franconian restaurant has also been serving delicious Nürnberger Rostbratwurst for hundreds of years since 1431. It prides itself on being the largest Bratwurst restaurant in the world with room for up to 600 guests.

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