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Brewed Knackwurst as typically served as a snack in Hamburg, Germany, on classic dishware

Knackwurst (German pronunciation: [ˈknakˌvʊʁst]) (in North America spelled knockwurst (<phonos file="GT knockwurst.ogg">listen</phonos>)) refers to a sausage type of northern German origin from the mid-16th century. The manifold available varieties depend on the geographical region of their production.

Knockwurst in the US

Knockwurst on a Sailor sandwich

In North America, a Knockwurst refers to a short, plump sausage originating from northern Germany. They contain ground veal, ground pork, and fresh garlic stuffed into hog casings.[1]

As part of the production process, the sausages are aged for two to five days, then smoked over oak wood. Knockwurst is often prepared highly seasoned.[2]

Knockwurst is sometimes cut in half lengthwise for preparation[3] for example, when served on a Sailor sandwich.[4]

Knackwurst in Germany

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Hamburger Knacker as sold in German supermarkets (2016)

In Germany, there are numerous variations of Knackwurst. Moreover, they all differ from Knackwurst in Austria.

As a specialty in Hamburg, brewed Knackwurst served with mustard and half a slice of unroasted toast bread is a popular snack for lunch. It is also sold at the Hamburger Dom, the largest Volksfest in northern Germany, under various names like Domknacker, Hamburger Knacker, or Hafenlümmel (literally: harbour tyke).[5]

Etymology and pronunciation

The German noun Knackwurst—which, in English, is sometimes corrupted as knockwurst—comes from the German verb knacken (<phonos file="GT knacken.ogg">listen</phonos>) ("to crack") or the adjective knackig (<phonos file="GT knackig.ogg">listen</phonos>) ("crisp"). This refers to the swelling of the sausage during the process of cooking, so that the skin becomes pressurized and balloon-like, and tends to "pop," often exploding the juices, when bitten into (authentic example: <phonos file="GT Biss in Knackwurst.ogg">listen</phonos>). The term ″Knackwurst″ came up in Germany the middle of the 16th century.[6] In Germany, all different kinds of Knackwürste are abbreviated Knacker (<phonos file="GT Knacker.ogg">listen</phonos>).[7]

See also


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  2. Koch, Hermann; Fuchs, Martin: Die Fabrikation feiner Fleisch- und Wurstwaren. Ed. 22. Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt/Main, 2009. ISBN 978-3-86641-187-6.
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  5. Product description on the website of Salzbrenner Hamburg, retrieved on March 17th, 2016.
  6. Friedrich Kluge (Ed.): Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 24., durchgesehene und erweiterte Auflage. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-11-017473-1, P. 501.
  7. Ulrich Ammon, Rhea Kyvelos, Regula Nyffenegger (Ed.): Variantenwörterbuch des Deutschen, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, ISBN 3110165740, P. 417 - section „Knackwurst“