In Germany there are quite a few different sausages from various regions that are called Knackwurst, most of which are either related to frankfurters or to mettwurst. But there is one type that is unique. Brunswick has always been famous for its sausages, and this particular Knackwurst is a local specialilty.
I have always lived in South Germany, but my father grew up in Brunswick, so I got to know and like the local Knackwurst though familiy visits. It is a very simple sausage made by mixing boiled and ground fat pork with broth, the dominant spice is thyme.
I don’t own a printed recipe for Brunswick Knackwurst, and unfortunatlely there are only very few recipes that can be found online which happen to differ quite a bit. So I decided recreate the sausage not following a specific recipe but guided by my memory of the sausage which still is quite vivid even though some years have passed since I have last eaten it.
I made this sausage to inaugurate the sausage stuffer that I bought recently because using the meat grinder attachment of my food processor was becoming very tedious.
- 2 kg pork belly with skin and bones
- 350 g pork fat
- 30 g smoked salt (regular salt is fine)
- 4 g dried thyme
- Allspice, cloves, bay leaves, black pepper
- Natural beef casings, 43/46 mm diameter.
Special Equipment used:
- Meat grinder
- Sausage stuffer
Soak the sausage casings in tepid water. Simmer the pork belly for 90 minutes in lightly salted water with a few bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns. After 60 minutes add the pork fat.
Let the meat cool down a bit until you can handle it. Remove bones and skin from the pork belly. I saved the skin for my next batch of weisswurst. I ended up with roughtly 1200 grams of meat in addition to the fat. Cut meat and fat into cubes and grind with the 3.5 of 4 mm disc. Add salt and spices and mix.
Knackwurst comes in plain and smoked varieties. I prefer the smoked one but currently I don’t have a possibility for home-smoking. I used the excellent Danish smoked salt for a slightly smoky aroma, but of course it is perfectly alright to use regular salt.
Gradually add broth from the pot used to cook the meat, mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The amount is variable depending on the texture of your meat. We are looking for a porridge-like texture that is not firm anymore but not yet liquid. I had to use about 700 ml
Then fill the mixture into the beef casing, tying off individual sausages with pieces of string.
Gently simmer the sausage in the remaining broth for 45 minutes. Take care that the temperature is well below the boiling point, around 70 to 80 degrees, otherwise the sausages may burst. Let cool down and refrigerate.
The sausage turned out somwhat different from the proper Brunswick Knackwurst. Even though it was not exactly lean, the fat content seemed lower than in the original, and the texture was a bit too smooth. Knackwurst has a slightly grainy texture, so I wonder if the skins should have been used as well here. Actually this is what I had in mind originally, but since all recipes I saw used skinless pork I decided not to use it. Maybe boiling the meat a bit shorter would have also helped the texture to become as desired.
But on the other hand the sausage was in fact very good. So even if I did not manage to replicate Brunswick Knackwurst exactly, I have successfully created my own House Sausage No. 1.