Knackwurst (German pronunciation: [ˈknakˌvʊʁst] (listen)) (in North America sometimes spelled knockwurst (listen ) refers to a type of sausage of northern German origin from the mid-16th century. The many available varieties depend on the geographical region of their production.

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

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 ). (Cf. the British term "banger".) The term ″Knackwurst″ came up in Germany the middle of the 16th century.[1] In Germany, all different kinds of Knackwürste are abbreviated Knacker (listen ).[2]

Knockwurst in the US

Knockwurst on a Sailor sandwich

In North America, a knockwurst refers to a short, plump sausage originating from northern Germany. It contains ground veal, ground pork, and fresh garlic stuffed into hog casings.[3]

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.[4]

Knockwurst is sometimes cut in half lengthwise before serving,[5] for example when served on a sailor sandwich.[6]

Knackwurst in Germany

Numerous regional varieties of knackwurst exist in Germany. They all differ from knackwurst varieties sold in Austria. There, a knackwurst always refers to a sausage containing bacon and added potato starch. In addition to the term "knackwurst", common names are "Salzburger" or "Schübling".[7]

As a specialty in Hamburg, scalded Knackwurst served with mustard and half a slice of white bread is a popular snack for lunch. It is also sold at the Hamburger Dom, the largest Volksfest in northern Germany, under various, sometimes poetic, names like Domknacker, Hamburger Knacker, or Hafenlümmel (literally: harbour tyke).[8]

Knake in Sweden

A knake refers to a short, plump and dark sausage which is produced by Holmgrens in the City of Lund, Lund. It is a Lund speciality and dates back to the 1910s. Today's recipe is dated to the 1960s.

See also


  1. 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.
  2. Ulrich Ammon, Rhea Kyvelos, Regula Nyffenegger (Ed.): Variantenwörterbuch des Deutschen, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, ISBN 3110165740, P. 417 - section "Knackwurst"
  3. "Knackwurst Recipe". 20 November 2007. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  4. Koch, Hermann; Fuchs, Martin: Die Fabrikation feiner Fleisch- und Wurstwaren. Ed. 22. Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt/Main, 2009. ISBN 978-3-86641-187-6.
  5. "German Potato Salad with Knockwurst". Rachael Ray Show. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  6. "knockwurst". Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  7. Ulrich Ammon, Rhea Kyvelos, Regula Nyffenegger (Ed.): Variantenwörterbuch des Deutschen. Walter de Gruyter, 2004, ISBN 3-11-016574-0, P. 417 – "Knackwurst"
  8. Product description on the website of Salzbrenner Hamburg, retrieved on 17 March 2016.
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