I have never hid the fact that I am from Wisconsin. Having lived out of state for over a decade, I still consider myself 100% Sconnie. If someone asks me where I am from when I travel, the answer is Wisconsin. Being from Wisconsin means that come October, sausage becomes a staple. Let’s not kid ourselves, in Wisconsin Winter, Spring and Summer do not let sausage retreat from the limelight, but Fall is prime-time. There are many community Oktoberfests, but there are many tailgating opportunities, hunting parties, Columbus Day potlucks, Sweetest Day swap meets… The list goes on. In Fall, we make any excuse to grill up encased meats that we can.
With that in mind, I feel it was it finally time to experiment with making weisswurst. The term bratwurst is typically used in Wisconsin to describe any German sausage. This is why you have some people ask why a Miesfield’s bratwurst doesn’t look like a Usinger’s bratwurst. First one may be sold raw and one already cooked, but the other is that they might be completely different sausages.
Weisswurst is the white emulsified Bavarian sausage typically made from veal and pork. Being without veal, I opted for something that I know will be slightly controversial – chicken. The derision of chicken by meat lovers is famous, but I assure you, this is not some imitation diet sausage product. With a substantial amount of pork fat (half fresh duroc back fat and half cured mangalitsa back fat) pureed into the chicken, the sausage would not be considered lean by any means. My thinking was that since the sausage was emulsified that the lack of inter-muscular fat in chicken would not be an issue. And the chicken, oh the chicken, was cold smoked for twelve hours over bourbon barrels and pecan hulls. Just pulling it from its container alerted me how the sausage may turn out. The other bonus of using chicken is that weisswurst (direct translation: white sausage) could be kept pristinely white with the lighted colored flesh of a chicken than darker hued pork or beef.
In weisswurst, you are not just relying on the white-hued fat and chicken for the white color, but also a color (and fat) boost of heavy cream. As mentioned above, this sausage does not lack for richness. Additional flavors include a slate of baking spices along with lemon zest and parsley.
Once the sausage was emulsified and stuffed, I looked at what I had arranged to serve alongside the weisswurst and noted that the traditional pairing was mustard and soft pretzel. With unlinked sausages, I had an idea. Now was the time to introduce a pretzel-shaped sausage. Gingerly, I approximated the knot-like structure of the pretzel with the encased meat and poached the sausages.
There are many things about about weisswurst which are somewhat outside of my comfort zone. First, the use of chicken. Next, the emulsification. Then, the presence of heavy cream and baking spices. Even with these items, it is still one of the easiest and least consuming sausage projects I have undertaken in awhile. For a few pounds of weisswurst, the process from gathering supplies to putting the sausage in the water took about an hour. Finally, the cooking method. I am a griller. I like char. I realize that it isn’t as fancy or old school as a boiled sausage. The texture made it worthwhile. After poaching the sausage, had I grilled it, the softness of the sausage would have been lost, or at very least obscured.
The soft texture of the sausage were a great pair with the rich, heartiness of the sausage. Weisswurst is not typically smoked, but making it with the cold smoked chicken made for a really interesting twist. The savory qualities of the smoke paired really nicely with the sweeter profile of the spices and the brighter notes of the parsley and lemon zest. Paired with the pretzel and some spicy mustard, it made for a delicious Octoberfest lunch at home with the girls.
- 700 grams chicken (I used cold-smoked chicken thighs)
- 250 grams pork fat
- 233 grams ice
- 60 grams heavy cream
- 16 grams salt
- 7 grams shallot
- 14 grams parsley
Step one: Simmer shallot for 15 minutes. Remove from water, chop.
Step two: Combine chicken, spices, salt, shallot and half of the ice. Blend in the food processor until you have a smooth farce. Set aside, refrigerate.
Step three: Puree fat in the food processor until smooth. Blend in lean meat farce.
Step four: Blend in remaining ice and heavy cream until the mixture is smooth and no ice clumps remain.
Step five: With the food processor, mix in parsley.
Step six: Stuff sausages, poach and consume.