I lived in Germany for 6 months, I ate a lot of bratwurst during that time. It was very very good.

Here in the U.S. the bratwurst does not taste the same. I want a bratwurst like the ones in I had in Germany (from the little stands in downtown Wiesbaden).

What is the difference? is it a way it is prepared, prepped, or a different meat all together? I am pretty sure they were cooking them on flat grills.

How can I make bratwursts like this at home?

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    The U.S. brats you have tried, were they a brand name? If you want quality; try to find a german deli that makes their own. I think that's the only way US brats are going to compete.
    – Tremmors
    Jul 19, 2011 at 0:02
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    Can you describe the texture / flavor differences? There's a lot of regional variations of wursts, and it's been a few years since I've been to the Wiesbaden / Frankfurt area, and I can't remember specifically how those were compared to others.
    – Joe
    Jul 19, 2011 at 17:00
  • @Joe sorry no -- I was there in second half of 2005, I can't really describe how they tasted -- Just that I enjoyed them very much.
    – JD Isaacks
    Jul 19, 2011 at 17:37
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    Is brat an American word for sausage? It's an English word for badly behaved child. :-)
    – RedSonja
    Jul 14, 2020 at 10:00
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    @RedSonja They're shortening the German word "bratwurst", I think.
    – nick012000
    Dec 1, 2021 at 7:26

6 Answers 6


The lack of veal is one. But..... those who have had them in Germany (I also lived in Wiesbaden) know that the bratwurst is "gently" grilled on a flat grill, not thrown on a fiery gas grill with flames and smoke and grease splatters. Why does it matter? Well.... the American way of grilling is so intense (flames touching meat) that the casing breaks almost every time. When the casing breaks, the juices (fat) flow out, causing more flames and more smoke. The you have a burnt sausage that is actually dried out. The European flat top method is slowly heating up the sausage without the fireworks. Juicier. Not scorched.

Of course the style of mustard (Senf) also adds something as well as a nice bun (Brötchen)....


I'm sure it's down to how the meat is ground (if the issue is texture), and what spices are used (if the issue is flavor). It's less likely that the meat is totally different--though you never know.

There are about as many variations on any given type of sausage as there are people that make them.

Your best bet is to either keep trying to find a place that makes them the way you like them, or learn to make your own (fun and easy). There are a lot of books out there on sausage making, and it's not hard to do.

You will still need to learn to identify the characteristics of the wurst you liked so that you can, over time, learn to tell which sausage recipe will get you close, and so that you can adjust or combine recipes until you get the taste you're looking for.

  • It's possible the meat is different, too ... either a different breed or feed to them, or a different mix of animals, all of which could affect both texture and flavor.
    – Joe
    Jul 19, 2011 at 16:58
  • @joe this is certainly possible, but whenever I have had American food worse than its European counterpart, it wasn't the ingredients, but the preparation (it usually involved overprocessing and overloading on the simplest flavors). And American meat is usually good quality, tends to be fatter than in Europe, but that's OK for charcuterie. So I'd really point to preparation here.
    – rumtscho
    Jul 19, 2011 at 18:02
  • @rumtscho : I'll agree that overprocessing can be a problem with American food (and additives & fake flavorings), but the 'good quality' meat doesn't always mean 'good flavor' ... American pork has been bred leaner if anything , which doesn't make for good sausage; they have to add fat back in from fattier sections rather than just using one primal. Veal and lamb tend to be harder to find, and thus more expensive (although maybe not for large processors), and so might've been removed or reduced in meat mixes like you find in sausage.
    – Joe
    Jul 19, 2011 at 19:06

What are billed as "brats" here in the US are only similar to German "bratwurst" by their shape! The meat is not the same, the grind is not the same, even the casing is not the same. And as others have noted, the cooking techniques (US grilling) leave much to be desired. There are commercial alternatives in the US to get those nice German style brats, with pale meat, fine texture, complex flavors, and overall close to genuine taste. A great bet is the Uncured Bavarian Bratwurst sold at Trader Joe's. Actually made in Germany. Sports the colors of Bavaria (blue and white diamonds). Really, quite good. If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, try the internet. A favorite of mine is GermanDeli.com. Good selections, and you can even get brotchen and senf!

  • From your description and from the picture I found online, it seems that what you have in mind is a Weißwurst, which is far from the standard Bratwurst here in Germany.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 21, 2019 at 19:22

Bratwurst is a sausage made up of Beef, Pork and Veal. There are significant differences in the flavors of meat around the world. Breeds of pork and beef especially have developed regional flavors based on breeding and feeding practices. For veal the young beef is still young enough and feeding practices standardized such that the veal portion of bratwurst should not create a difference. The combinations of the various meats, the additional seasoning and the use of marinade or even poaching the meat (in beer) can create notable differences in the final flavor.


I find most U.S. brats, at least the white ones, to be similar, in both taste and texture, to the Bayern Weisswurst. However, my personal favorite German wurst has always been the Nürnberger.

Whenever I visit Germany, I always return home to Cincinnati craving authentic wurst. The best American version I have found of the Nürnberger is from a native German butcher who immigrated to the United States and opened a shop called Bavaria Sausage in Wisconsin. He uses the same seasoning as in Germany and it is often the spices that make German wurst so unique and wonderful.

There are many other german favorites on his website which can be visited using this link:



I am willing to bet you are speaking about currywurst. Them tasty sliced brat/sausage made with a tomato/ketchup curry sauce. Served with pomme frits. Yum

  • 3
    How would they have ordered currywurst, over and over, while thinking they were ordering bratwurst?
    – Sneftel
    Nov 28, 2021 at 8:21

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