Skip to main content

The Ultimate Oktoberfest Sausage Guide

With 1,200 different varieties, sausage is serious business in Germany. A great time to experience this German culinary tradition is during Oktoberfest. Centered in the German state of Bavaria, Oktoberfest originally started as a wedding celebration for King Ludwig the 1st in 1810. Since then, Oktoberfest have evolved into a celebration centered on the feeling of gemutlich – defined as “happiness in companionship with others.” Oktoberfest is a celebration with food as the highlight. German dishes like schweinshaxe (crispy pork shank) and steckerlfisch (whole grilled fish) are popular during Oktoberfest, all washed down with plenty of beer. However, Oktoberfest sausages, a pride of German cuisine, also plays a major role in the food.

Intimidated by the variety of German sausages? Looking for expert guidance? Schaller & Weber in Manhattan is here to help. A specialty German butcher shop in the Upper East Side, Schaller & Weber has nearly one hundred years of history and an expert on Oktoberfest sausages.

Related Guides

The Sausages

Traditionally, sausages were created as a way to use leftover meat trimmings. The goal was to minimize waste and utilize as much of the animal as possible. In Germany, sausages can be made from a variety of animals and cuts, although pork is the most common sausage meat. According to Jesse Denes, Vice President at Schaller & Weber, their preferred cut is pork shoulder and jowl due to its balance of moisture and flavor.

The following list includes just a few of the most popular German sausages for Oktoberfest. This is just an introduction — the variety is endless.


Bratwurst being grilled.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Perhaps the best known of German sausages, bratwursts can be made with veal, beef, or pork (generally pork) and is either fresh or smoked. The texture of this sausage is coarse and juicy. With over 40 varieties, bratwurst recipes can also differ by region.

The best way to enjoy bratwurst is to cook it in a hot pan or grill. This method of direct heat gives the bratwurst a charred and satisfying snap. To serve, enjoy this sausage with a pretzel or alongside potatoes and cabbage. Bratwursts can also be wedged in a roll and eaten as a sandwich.


Knackwurst sausage on a plate with cabbage and bread.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

These short, fat, and smoky sausages are made with a combination of veal and pork. Besides being very garlicky, knackwursts are also known for their intense snap. The name of the sausage comes from the German word “knacken” (to crack). One bite into a knackwurst and one will treated to the loud snap of its natural casing.

Knackwursts can be grilled or heated in boiling water until ready. Be sure to eat this sausage with plenty of sauerkraut and mustard.

Frankfurter Würstchen

Frankfurter on potato salad.

Originating in Frankfurt, Germany, the frankfurter is better known in America as the humble hot dog. This long, smoothly textured sausage is blessed with a light smoky flavor. The German frankfurter is usually made with pork (whereas most American hot dogs are made from beef). Generally, German frankfurters have natural casings, giving the sausage a great snap.

Since frankfurters are smoked and cooked, they don’t need much cooking time. Crisp them up in a pan or grill and serve in bun with plenty of mustard and horseradish for a taste of the original frankfurter.

Weisswurst (Bockwurst)

Weisswurst sausage with pretzel on cutting board.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This white-colored sausage is perhaps the king of Oktoberfest sausages. “Oktoberfest is very specifically Bavarian, and while other parts of Germany do celebrate it, they tend to stick to the weisswurst,” said Denes. These white-colored sausages are smooth and mild-flavored, made with a combination of veal and pork back bacon. Weisswurst owes its flavoring to a combination of leeks, chives and green onions. In Germany, weisswursts are eaten before noon, even producing a saying that “weisswursts should not be allowed to hear the noon chime of the church bells.”

The proper way to cook weisswursts is to heat them in simmering hot water. Do not overcook the weisswurt to the point where the sausage skin splits. According to Denes, weisswurst is also commonly served in a bowl of warm water and the skin is also sometimes removed before eating. Weisswursts are delicious with a pretzel and sweet Bavarian mustard.

Sausage Condiments

The classic condiments to eat with German sausages are mustard and sauerkraut. The tart flavors of both condiments helps cut the richness of the meat and fat. For the best mustard, try to source German mustards whenever possible. If German mustards aren’t available, a spicy brown mustard will do the trick.

Regarding side dishes, there are a lot of traditional options. Most German sausages go well with bread and pretzels. But if the sausages are being served as an entrée, try accompanying the sausages with potatoes or delicious red cabbage.

Where to Buy German Sausages

Although many supermarkets will sell German sausages, try visiting your local butcher shop for the best products. Specialty butchers will either make their own sausages or source the highest quality products in the area. Another great option is to order it online.

The good news is that Schaller & Weber delivers their German products around the country. For a taste of Oktoberfest, order their Oktoberfest Pack for $52 (available year round for delivery). This gift pack includes cooked bratwurst, knackwurst, Nuernberger bratswurst, weisswurst brockwurst, Dusseldorf-style horseradish mustard, sweet & spicy Bavarian style mustard, and sauerkraut. This pack is a guaranteed hit for anyone looking to reproduce a taste of Oktoberfest at home.

Editors' Recommendations

Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, NYU graduate, and Iraq veteran. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
What to eat before a run or race to optimize performance: A complete guide
Here's what you should (and shouldn't) eat before your next race to keep you at your best
Man eating a banana before a run

Runners know that in order to have your best workout, you have to be properly fueled. Running is a metabolically demanding form of exercise, particularly if you're doing a long run or a hard interval workout. 
Failing to eat the right foods before your run can make or break how you feel on the run and how your body performs. If you don’t eat enough, or if you eat the wrong types of food, you may not have enough energy to push your body. You might “hit the wall” or “run out of gas.” If you eat too much (or, again, the wrong types of foods), you may find yourself running for the nearest bathroom, bloated, nauseated, doubling over with side stitches, or feeling sluggish.
Not sure what to eat before a run or before your race? Keep reading for a list of the best pre-race foods and pre-workout meals and snacks to fuel a good run.

Should you ever run on an empty stomach?
Fasted cardio has commonly been associated with improved endurance and weight loss, although more research needs to be done on the benefits. However, if you are going for a shorter run, such as a couple of miles or less, then you will likely be fine with running on an empty stomach.

Read more
Your ultimate guide to summer produce — the delicious fruits and veggies that are in season
Seasonal produce: Get to know what you should be eating this summer
Asian pears on tree

Summer cuisine is known for an abundance of seasonal produce, weekend farmers' markets, and setting the rich, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals aside for a few months. It's a time for pitchers of sweet fruity cocktails and dinners that focus on tasty ingredients fresh from the garden. And while we understand that the comprehensive lists of fruits in season or vegetables in season are too immense to name them all, these are a few of the stars, the widespread highlights, the ones you're most likely to find at your local outdoor market, no matter where you are in the country. These are the stars of the summer produce section, when you should look for them, and why you should be eating them more often.

Peak months: May, June, July

Read more
DASH diet 101: A meal plan and beginner’s guide
Your complete guide to the DASH diet
Boiled eggs on toast.

Although there are almost too many popular diets to count, the best diets for men share the same general principles -- eat whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and limit sugar, refined grains, trans fats, fried foods, excessive salt, and alcohol. With these commonalities aside, it’s the specifics and differences in the "rules" or focus of a diet that tend to differentiate one popular diet from another. For example, the Paleo Diet and the Whole30 Diet are nearly identical, except that the Paleo Diet permits certain natural sugars like honey and agave, whereas the Whole30 Diet does not.
Some diets are also defined by specific goals that go above and beyond weight loss or overall health. One of the most notable examples is the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has become increasingly prevalent over the past few decades, a phenomenon believed to be at least partially attributable to our culture's heavy reliance on processed foods, which are often laden with salt. Given the extensive body of research demonstrating the correlation between sodium intake and high blood pressure, the DASH diet was designed to address hypertension by limiting sodium intake.
So, if you’re one of the millions of men who have been diagnosed with hypertension or pre-hypertension or who want to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, keep reading to find out why you should consider following the DASH diet, what foods you can eat on the DASH diet, and how the DASH diet can help you keep your blood pressure in check.

What is the DASH diet?
As mentioned, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, is a diet designed and recommended for those who want to prevent or treat hypertension and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. The defining feature of the DASH diet is its established sodium limit, which is 2,300 mg or one teaspoon per day for the standard iteration of the diet and only 1,500 mg or 3/4 of a teaspoon on the lower-salt version.
Besides limiting sodium, the DASH diet restricts red meat, added sugars, and excessive fats. Instead, it focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and legumes. Like all the best diets, the DASH diet emphasizes the importance of eating foods in their most natural state and eliminating processed foods.

Read more