Weißwurst/Weisswurst – Homemade Sausage Attempt #1

The time has come to try my hand at making sausage from scratch.  Since this is my first attempt at sausage making I am not making any promises to family or friends about the shape, texture, taste, smell, and overall quality of said sausage.  As with most of my first attempts, this will most likely turn out to be less than perfect, but perhaps with some diligence and research I will be able to pull of a masterpiece.

So what do I want to make?  I know it needs to be German, it can’t be smoked, and must be a fairly simple recipe.  After pouring over dozens of recipes I decided I would try the southern German favorite, Weisßwurst (pronounced: vice-vurst).  A staple at Oktoberfest, Weißwurst is a mild sausage made with veal and pork and usually served with a sweet mustard and some bread.

I found the following recipe on a blog called recipesbycindy:

5 lbs. veal(I used shoulder)
1 oz. ground mustard seed
5 lbs. lean pork butt
1 Tbsp. ground white pepper
3 1/2 ozs. non-fat dry milk
1 tsp. ground celery seeds
3 1/2 ozs. salt
1 tsp. mace
3 1/2 ozs. soy protein concentrate
1 oz. powdered dextrose
1 tsp. American Spice onion powder
1 qt. ice water
1 tsp. dry parsley

Step 1: Grind the meat.  I put the partially frozen chunks of veal and pork through the fine grinding plate.
Step 2: Mix in the herbs and seasonings.
Step 3: Emulsify in the food processor.
Step 4: Rinse the salt off the hog casings (hog intestines, boo-yeah!) and soak in water.  After a bit, rinse the inside of the casings and then soak in water again with a touch of white vinegar.
Step 5: Put back through the grinder with the sausage stuffer attachment.
Step 6: Load the casings on to the stuffer.
Step 7: Get your stuff on.
Step 8: Twist off links (my links varied in size)
Step 9: Cook in 160F water until internal temp of the meat reaches 150.
Step 10: Cool in ice bath.
Step 11: Look around the kitchen at the huge mess you just made and wish you had maid service.

Here are a few pictures:

By the end of the process I was not even in the mood to try them.  Go figure!  However, the next day I sampled a link and was happily surprised.  It actually tasted like bratwurst you could get in Germany!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  With that said, it didn’t remind me of Weißwurst as much as it did the regular style of Bratwurst you would get at any local Imbiß.  I froze a few pounds and will take them out to the Poconos to grill sometime in February.

Lack of German Schnapps and Wurst in the United States

When we moved to New York City I was expecting to find some authentic German wurst and schnapps.  Unfortunately, the options have been surprisingly limited.  The only beacon of hope is Schaller & Weber on the Upper East Side, but their prices are prohibitive.  This has leads me down the dangerous path of: “Well if I can’t find it, let me try to make it myself!”  Unfortunately, this also means I start to obsess and become a bit of a Mr. Toad with my new found hobbies.

Example #1:

Schnapps.  Eau de Vie.  Fruit Brandy.  Do not confuse this with the sickly sweet US version of schnapps.  European fruit schnapps that is clear, lacks sweetness, is about 80 proof, and has a delicate smell/taste of fruit.  My favorites would have to include Williams Birne (Pear), Mirabelle (a type of plum), Himbeergeist (raspberry), and Obst (mixed fruit).  Of all the places to buy liquor in NYC, I have only found a few spots that carry this type of alcohol and what they do have is over $50 a bottle.  How does this happen?  In Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium, these 750mL bottles usually run between 6€ and 15€ a bottle.  So what did this road block make me do?  “Well if I can’t find it, let me try to make it myself!”  I found some lovely hand-made copper stills from Portugal and had looked up some recipes and tips on making this type of liquor at home.  My dream quickly shattered when I found out that distilling your own alcohol in the United States is still very illegal.  Damn.  With that said, I have looked up the laws in a few European countries and if you are distilling for your own personal consumption, it is completely legal and easy to get set up.  *reason #50 to move back to Europe*

Example #2:

Wurst: Leoner, Schinkenwurst, Bierwurst, Leberwurst.
Bratwurst: Thuringer, Nurnberger, Weißwurst, Knackwurst, Knoblauchwurst.

These things just don’t exist here in the U.S., and when you do find something that shares the same name, the quality is not even close to what you find in Deutschland.  What does this make me do?  “Well if I can’t find it, let me try to make it myself!”  And away I go…

The first thing I do is go out and buy a meat grinder attachment for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  I get books on how to make sausage at home, I search for recipes in German, and I do research on the various steps involved in the sausage-making process.    The hardest part was finding the natural casings I wanted to use, but I ultimately get a batch sent to me and I now possess nearly 60 feet of hog intestine.  I’m so proud.

My first attempt at making Weißwurst will be my next post, so stay tuned.