Bratwurst And Knockwurst – What Is The Difference?

We hear this question on a daily basis: What is the difference between bratwurst and knockwurst?

At our Austin, TX food trailer, Chef Keem’s Bavarian Bistro, we serve authentic German sausages. Although there are several regional recipe varieties within Germany, our brats and Bavarian “hot dogs” represent the great quality and taste of this most popular street food from the Old Country.

In this picture you see a knockwurst on the left, and a veal bratwurst on the right:

Veal Bratwurst and Knockwurst

What Is A Knockwurst?

Made from finely-ground beef and pork, our quarter-pound knockwurst looks like a big hot dog. However, the quality difference is huge. Not only has it about 30% less fat than the puny little supermarket version, the cuts of meat used are of a much higher grade, as well.

The pink color comes from a light smoking after the initial boiling. And the special, natural casing allows for that juicy “snap” when you bite into it. “Knack” is German for “snap”, and the original name “Knackwurst” changed to “knockwurst” on the American market. Before consumption, this wurst is heated in hot water.

What Is A Bratwurst?

We serve two kinds of bratwurst: one is made from ground veal, the other one from ground pork. Both are nicely seasoned – the veal sausage a little milder, and the pork version a bit stronger.

The initial boiling gives the bratwurst filling a white color. For consumption it is then browned on a grill (or griddle). This adds a flavorful caramelization to the outside of the sausage.

The name bratwurst comes from the old German word “brät” (describing the finely-ground filling), and the original spelling was indeed “Brätwurst”. Over the years, the dots above the letter ‘a’ have disappeared. (Don’t mätter – the greät flävor is still the säme!)

We always recommend to eat our bratwurst and knockwurst with sauerkraut, red cabbage, sweet & spicy mustard, and curry ketchup. By addressing all taste buds (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), the synergy of all these varied flavors makes our wurst sandwiches a wonderful eating experience.

Unfortunately, our Bavarian Bistro is now closed. Amazon, however, has the “real thing” ready for shipping to your doorstep. Check out especially the knockwurst and the Nuernberger bratwurst…

Austin Food Trailer

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  1. You know, I’ve always wondered about this. Thanks for clearing it up. 🙂

  2. That trailer looks so inviting. I’ve had favorite restaurants close, but never drive off into the sunset. You heroes always have dramatic endings for your adventures.

  3. Oh, Allan – the drama is all yours; you are the writer, I am the cook. The sunsets are spectacular around here, though. Come soon and I’ll feed you while you’re gazing…

  4. Hi, I’m from Germany. Very nice comparison. The only thing I’d like to point out that we here in Germany call it Knackwurst, not Knockwurst 🙂

  5. Hallo Jasmin,

    wie nett, einen Kommentar aus der Heimat zu sehen! The way Americans pronounce “knockwurst”, it sounds like “nackwurst” (silent ‘k’) to a German listener. That’s as close as it gets here to “Knackwurst”. 🙂

    LG Achim (Chef Keem)

  6. I love the way the bratwurst on the right has been finished on the grill. This is the same way we did our Italian sausage. It adds an extra flavor and crunch that is awesome. However, for right now I am off to the kitchen to try to recreate Chef Keem’s Tres Leches Coconut Macaroons; I just hope I do them justice. Keep up the great work Chef, we hope to see you out on the street in a new location this year.

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