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

Knackwurst (German pronunciation: [ˈknakˌvʊʁst]) (in North America spelled knockwurst ( listen )) 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

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 Knackwurstwhich, in English, is sometimes corrupted as knockwurstcomes from the German verb knacken ( listen ) ("to crack") or the adjective knackig ( listen ) ("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:  listen ). The term ″Knackwurst″ came up in Germany the middle of the 16th century.[6] In Germany, all different kinds of Knackwürste are abbreviated Knacker ( listen ).[7]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Knackwurst.


  1. "Knackwurst Recipe". 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  2. Koch, Hermann; Fuchs, Martin: Die Fabrikation feiner Fleisch- und Wurstwaren. Ed. 22. Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt/Main, 2009. ISBN 978-3-86641-187-6.
  3. "German Potato Salad with Knockwurst". Rachael Ray Show. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  4. "knockwurst". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  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“
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