Bratwurst

25 Weltt jr gútt prattwirst machen
So nempt 4 pfúnd schweinis vnnd 4 pfúnd rinderis, das last klainhacken, nempt darnach 2 pfúnd speck darúnder vnnd hackts anainander vnnd vngeferlich 3 seidlen wasser giest daran, thiet aúch saltz, pfeffer daran, wie jrs geren est, oder wan jr geren kreúter darin megt haben/ múgt jr nemen ain wenig ain salua vnnd ain wenig maseron, so habt jr gút brattwirst.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

25 If you would make good bratwurst
Take four pounds of pork and four pounds of beef and chop it finely. After that mix with it two pounds of bacon and chop it together and pour approximately one quart of water on it. Also add salt and pepper thereto, however you like to eat it, or if you would like to have some good herbs , you could take some sage and some marjoram, then you have good bratwurst.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Bratwurst translates as “best meat.” They had become an important gourmet food by the sixteenth century

These bratwurst were made using an electric mincer with attached sausage stuffing tubes. In period, the meat was probably minced with a cleaver, as demonstrated in this YouTube video. The sausages could have been stuffed by spooning the mixture into the casing; however, you can also use a cowhorn with the tip removed. This creates a stiff tube onto which the sausage casing can be pushed, and makes the stuffing easier to stuff into the casing. This idea came from An Early Meal (pp 96-97).


Demonstration of cow horn to stuff sausages. The ideal length is 2/3 the length of your index finger.

The recipe below has been quartered.

Ingredients

450g pork (see notes) 500mL water 2 tbs marjoram
450g beef (see notes) 20g salt 1 tbs sage
225g streaky bacon 1.5 tsp pepper Sausage casing (see notes)

Method

  1. Using either an electric mincer, hand mincer or cleaver, mince the meat very finely. If using a mincer, you may find passing the meat through the mincer twice will get the desired texture.
  2. Finely mince the herbs, then add the herbs, water, salt and pepper to the minced meat. Then mash it all together. You can really only do this step with your hands, unless you have commercial sausage making equipment (and hands are more fun). You can’t overmix here – in fact the aim is to make the meat texture as fine as possible. You will find the water helps greatly with this; it will be absorbed into the meat and keep it moist while the bratwurst are cooking.
  3. Keep mix-mashing the meat until you can lift a large chunk of mixture from the bowl, and it takes a while to fall from your open hand.

    Sausage mix fully mixed.

  4. Stuff the meat into the sausage skin. It can help to have a bowl underneath to put the sausage into. If using an electric machine, it can help to have two people involved – one to feed the meat into the hopper of the mincer, and one to pull the sausage away. Both people should try to work to a smooth rhythm.

    Sausages1

  5. When you have used all your meat, cut away any unused sausage skin, leaving around 5cm at the end. Measure off the length of your desired sausage, then twist the long sausage at this point around 3 times to form the individual sausages. Measure off the desired length again, and repeat the twist. Hold the sausage below the point where you are twisting to stop the previous sausages from untwisting (it may take you a few goes to get the action right).
  6. To cook the sausages, bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the sausages. Cook until they have completely changed colour. If you have access to a smoker, you can also smoke your sausages.
  7. To serve, slice the sausages thinly, and serve with condiments such as mustard and ricotta cheese. Blackberry jam is also a weird but tasty serving option.

Notes

  • For a good sausage mix, you need around 20% fat. Much of this will come from the bacon. For the pork, I like to use shoulder, which has a good covering of fat and reasonably lean meat. For the beef, I like to use rump for the same reason. You might also be able to get extra fat from a butcher from their trimmings.
  • You can use synthetic casings or natural; the pictures in this recipe all use natural casings, which are the cleaned intestines of (usually) pigs. They can be obtained quite easily (and cheaply) from butchers.

Smoked bratwurst
Smoked Bratwurst

Boiled bratwurst
Simmered Bratwurst

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

Serra, Daniel and Tunberg, Hanna. An Early Meal. Chronocopia Publishing (2013).

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