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What Is Wurstbrot?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 16, 2024
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A wurstbrot is one of the types of sandwiches found in traditional German cuisine. It typically consists of at least one or two thin slices of lunch meat or pressed sausage placed between flat bread that is often spread with butter. The kinds of sliced cold cuts in one of these sandwiches can vary according to individual preference as well as what different wurstbrot vendors may have available at various times of the year. This popular German take on the sandwich is often available in snack shops, bakeries, and sometimes street fairs. It can also be made at home as a convenient meal or snack to take to work or school.

The lunch meat that is typically used for a wurstbrot can sometimes be simple sliced ham or turkey; it can also come from more traditional German varieties of cured cold cuts and flat sausage. One favorite choice is often jagdwurst, a type of bologna made from a mixture of ground pork and beef that can be sometimes be flavored with seasonings such as garlic. Another is bierschinken, which consists of a ham center surrounded by an outer layer of bologna. German cuisine can also use many variations of pressed and sliced head cheese commonly called zungenwurst for these types of sandwiches. Some people enjoy cold cuts made from blood sausage, liverwurst, or a spreadable pork pate usually called schmierwurst or mettwurst.

An authentic wurstbrot recipe specifically calls for flat and medium- to thin-sliced bread; some German cuisine purists can sometimes claim that a traditional wurstbrot is made only from the bread, butter, and lunch meat without any other condiments or garnishes. A similar sandwich made with a round roll is known as a wurstbrötchen, which is usually made without butter on the roll. It can instead be made with tartar sauce and sliced pickles, tomato, or lettuce. This variation can typically be found at the same kinds of food vendors as a wurstbrot.

One ingredient that is typically not found in a wurstbrot is the popular German sausage known as bratwurst. Although this type of sausage can also be served hot or cold on a roll, it is generally not given the same terminology. A variation on one of these sausage rolls that often contains finely-chopped and pressed bratwurst is called leberkäsbrötchen; it is typically served hot with mustard and can be an especially popular snack at German street festivals.

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