Depending on how much you know about bratwurst and sausages, you might be coming into this blind!
Are they the same thing with different names, or are there distinct differences between them? If they are different, which one is the better of the two?
There are so many questions, and you’re probably dying to know the answer!
Thankfully, we’re going to go through everything you need to know on the matter right here.
After reading this article, there won’t be any room for confusion, and you will even know exactly how to use both of these delicious products.
So, if you’re ready to jump into the frying pan, let’s get into it!
Bratwurst Vs Sausage
There are a number of important things to consider when comparing bratwurst (see also our favorite bratwurst recipes) to sausage – we’re going to explore what you need to know below!
Understanding What Bratwurst Is
To start off, let’s take a look at the mighty bratwurst.
Often simply referred to as “brats”, these come from Germany and can be made from a combination of different meats.
These meats include veal, and beef, but pork is the one that is typically used. Distinct herbs and spices are used to create the distinct flavor of bratwurst.
Fresh marjoram is the primary seasoning ingredient in most bratwurst.
However, other ingredients like nutmeg, mace (see also ‘The 5 Best Mace Seasoning Substitutes‘), sage, paprika, coriander, cumin, caraway, cardamom and ginger can all be used, too!
These all provide additional flavors, and may vary depending on the meat used to create the brat in the first place.
Bratwurst are smooth, made from finely ground meat and stuffed into a natural casing – usually cow, pig, or sheep intestines that have been cleaned.
This, in combination with the meat inside them, means that you always need to cook your brats before eating them.
Cooking can be done by grilling, boiling, or searing them in a pan!
Are There Different Kinds Of Bratwurst?
Yes! There are actually 42 types of bratwurst to try – each with their own unique flavors.
These different bratwursts come from a number of regions, and even have different textures, sizes, and c cooking methods to explore.
Some popular types of bratwurst include the Blutwurst, Zervenatwurst, Gelbwurst, and Plockwurst.
However, if you find yourself in Germany, two of the most popular varieties to try are the Rindwurst and Thüringen Bratwurst.
The first is made from beef and is famous for its red color and appealing appearance, while the latter is made from pork (see also ‘How To Tell If Pork Chops Are Done‘), thinner and pale.
Whichever you prefer, both kinds of bratwurst are delicious!
With so many types of bratwurst available to try, there will definitely be options out there that will suit everyone.
Many bratwursts are made from a mix of meats, such as pork and beef, or pork and veal.
However, some are often made using a single type of meat for a different flavor.
Similarly, the flavors can vary a lot depending on the bratwurst you choose. Some have complex flavors, and others are seasoned with simple salt and pepper.
All of this comes into play when considering the various types of bratwurst!
Are Bratwurst Healthy?
There are several factors that make bratwurst food that is not especially healthy.
The first issue is that they contain meat – most meats are high in nutrients, but also iron.
While this isn’t an issue on it’s own, overconsumption can cause health problems. Not only that, but bratwurst have a high fat content.
The fat is cis-fats rather than trans-fats, however, so it isn’t the worst in that regard, either.
This is good news, as cis-fats are able to quickly travel through cell membranes to the mitochondrial furnaces when they are needed.
The fat in trans-fats often get “stuck” in cell lining, causing them to oxidize and attract bad cholesterol, which is dangerous.
Speaking of cholesterol, there is plenty of cholesterol present in brats.
However, when compared to “healthy” foods – like eggs – brats actually have about ¼ (or less) less than a serving of eggs!
It’s also worth noting that the majority of cholesterol is actually made in your liver, rather than being extracted from the food you eat.
As such – eating bratwurst in moderation is unlikely to have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels.
Overall, bratwurst aren’t actually the unhealthiest food you can get your hands on.
They aren’t perfect by any means, but when eaten in moderation, they are no cause for concern at all.
Even if you had them with carbs, the presence of the fat and meat would result in the carbs being digested at a slower rate.
This can help with your glycemic index – so that’s something to consider! As with anything, moderation is key!
What Can You Use Bratwurst For?
Believe it or not, you can use bratwurst in a wide variety of recipes!
Below are some things you can use your delicious brats for if you want to try some different meals:
- Brats on a barbecue!
- Stick them on your favorite bun
- Use them in a stew
- Make a Midwest Mary
- Beer and Brats nachos!
- Brat soup
- Oktoberfest strudels (see also ‘25 Authentic Oktoberfest Recipe Ideas‘)
- Beer brat chili
- Heartwarming bratwurst hash
- Juicy brat sliders
- Bratwurst and chicken kabobs
- Add brats to a pizza!
- Make a breakfast bake
- Creamy bratwurst pasta
Did You Know…?
- The bratwurst dates back to 1313 – that’s over 450 years older than the United States!
- The term “bratwurst” might have originated from the Old High German words “brat” and “wurst”, which respectively means “without waste” and “sausage”! This name makes perfect sense, as the bratwurst was made from scraps to avoid food waste.
- Some etymologists believe that that term “brat” refers to “finely chopped meat” – this would also make sense, since the bratwurst is typically made from finely ground meat.
- Bratwurst are thought to have originally been created to help citizens survive the winter. This was when they could not afford to waste any part of an animal, so they put it to use and cut it all up to create a delicious bratwurst! Now look at how popular they are!
- No one is certain where the bratwurst actually originated from, as debate is still hot. Many argue that they came from Franconia, others argue for Thüringen. Some even state that the bratwurst was invented by the Celts, who later passed the dish onto Thüringen and Franconia later on.
- There are three textures that bratwursts come in – fine, medium, and rough.
- Despite being (supposedly) a German invention, bratwurst are incredibly popular in the US, and can be spotted at any barbecue.
- In 1954, German immigrants brought the bratwurst to the US. They quickly became a staple in the country and are now at every sport’s event.
- The “Bratwurst Capital of the World” is Sheboygan. There, they have a special way of preparing their bratwurst – grilling them over charcoal and eating them on semmel. Their brats are seasoned with dill pickles, German mustard (see also ‘Does Mustard Need To Be Refrigerated?‘), occasionally even diced onions.
- If you love bratwurst, mark August 16th on your calendar – it’s National Bratwurst Day! No one will judge you for enjoying a brat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Understanding What Sausage Is
Sausage is an umbrella term that’s used to describe any ground meat product that is encased in a skin.
Some countries may use the term to simply refer to ground meat. This can include chicken, lamb, turkey, veal, beef, pork, or anything else!
Seasoning can vary greatly with sausage, as there are recipes from all over the world.
There are also hundreds of sausage varieties that use ingredients like crocodile, ostrich, bison, buffalo, and so much more!
Many sausages are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and grains or breadcrumbs are added for extra flavor.
Some sausages are made with a few simple ingredients, while others incorporate things like apple, onions, or anything else that tastes great!
In England, for example, there is a wide variety of sausages available at grocery stores including Cumberland sausages, and in the US cheese-stuffed sausages are incredibly popular.
The majority of sausage is cooked by grilling, but cooking methods can vary depending on whether the meat is encased or not.
An encased sausage may be covered in cleaned animal intestines like the bratwurst, or plant cellulose.
In most cases, pan frying is the most popular method for any format the meat comes in.
Types Of Sausage
Sausage can be ground up meat that is encased, or it can be skinless. The term can refer to things like meat patties, so it has a very wide meaning!
The word is mostly used to refer to ground up meat that has been encased – and there and hundreds of sausage types!
It’s thought that sausages were first invented in modern day Iraq at least 5,000 years ago.
History records show that in 900 BC, sausages were already incredibly popular snacks in ancient Greek amphitheaters – talk about old!
Now, there are sausages from just about every country in the world. Each sausage has unique ingredients, preparation, or cooking method.
Some countries are famous for their smoked sausages, while others produce cooked or raw sausages.
There are three main methods of preparing sausages: fresh, smoked, and pre-cooked. There are also dried or cured sausages, though!
Fresh sausages are not preserved in any way and are raw. The ground meat is stuffed into casings to be grilled, fried, baked, or boiled.
There are hundreds of varieties, and they can be used in a number of dishes.
Smoked sausages don’t need to be refrigerated and are full of amazing flavors. The meat is stuffed into casings before being smoked.
Smoke levels can vary, with some only with a slightly smoked flavor.
These types of sausages are usually made from puréed meat that gets stuffed in casings.
The filling is sometimes pre-cooked, but after stuffing, the sausage is always pre-cooked as well.
These sausages should always be cooked at home, too, to get the maximum flavor. They can be seared, fried, or grilled to get delicious results.
These sausages are preserved and “cooked” with salt before being hung outdoors for a number of weeks or even months to dry out.
These are typically not encased to allow them to dry out thoroughly.
Dried or cured sausages do not need to be refrigerated, and they don’t have to be cooked before you can enjoy them!
They are best served in thin slices and kept at room temperature.
Are Sausages Healthy?
Sausages are processed meats with high levels of fat, and often carbs.
Generally, they are not seen to be very healthy options, but eating them in moderation is perfectly fine.
Much like the bratwurst, sausages have both beneficial and negative points.
Their fat and cholesterol levels means that too much of it can have a negative impact on your body.
However, they are also full of protein and a number of other minerals and necessary ingredients.
Health benefits will vary from one type of sausage to another, as this is simply an umbrella term.
The method of cooking used will also play a role in the health of this food type. Overall, they should always be enjoyed in moderation, like most food items.
What Can You Use Sausages For?
Sausage can be used for almost anything you can imagine! Below are a list of some fun ideas to try out:
- Sausage and Panetta ragù
- Sausage casserole
- Meatballs and spaghetti
- Grilled sausages
- Sausage on pizza!
- Sausage and mashed potatoes
- Potato and sausage rosti bake
- Brie-filled sausages
- Sausage hot dogs (see also ‘Top 20+ Tasty Hot Dog Toppings‘)
- Sausage and coleslaw wraps
Did You Know…?
- The longest ever sausage created was a whopping 25.75 miles long!
- “Bangers” is a nickname for sausages that appeared during WWII because the sausages would explode from high water content when cooked!
- Mustard is the condiment most commonly paired with sausages, and even King Henry V stated that “war without fire is like sausages without mustard”
- The British are true sausage lovers, and eat around 175,000 tonnes of sausages annually!
- The official sausage month is October – so you can have as many sausages as you like during the spooky month!
The Key Differences Between Bratwurst And Sausage
Truthfully, there isn’t actually a difference between bratwurst and sausages! The bratwurst is a type of sausage, as “sausage” is just an umbrella term.
So, now that you know that a bratwurst is actually a type of sausage, how do you feel? We don’t blame you if you’re craving one now, we all are!
Just think about the next time you’re cooking up a brat, or any kind of sausage, and think about the history of it!