“Gelbwurst” means “yellow sausage”; it’s called this because the sausage is packed in a yellow casing. Originally, the casing was natural pork intestines, coloured yellow with saffron. Now, artificial (and artificially-coloured) casing is mostly used.
Inside, the sausage is a very pale grey colour, because it’s not cured: instead, it’s pre-cooked by simmering in water at 167 F (75 C), then air-cooled and dried, then sold onto retailers in chilled storage.
Children like the sausage because the meat is quite finely-ground, and has a very mild taste.
The meat mixture inside consists of lean pork, speck, and either veal or beef. Traditionally, the meat mixture included 25% pig brain. This is no longer done, but that’s why in some parts of Germany Gelbwurst is still referred to as “Hirnwurst”, with “Hirn” meaning “brain.”
The meat mixture is flavoured with spices such as lemon, ginger, white pepper, salt, cardamon and nutmeg. Other ingredients are ice and egg white. Some versions add fresh parsley as well.
Gelbwurst Sausage can be used as is, in sandwiches, or cubed on an appetizer tray. You can also slice it, and fry it.
The sausage needs no cooking, as it has already been cooked.
Store chilled and use within a few days.
Gelbwurst Sausage is a relatively modern sausage. It was first recorded in 1905 in the book “Fabrikation feiner Fleisch- und Wurstwaren” (“The manufacture of fine meat and sausage products”) by Hermann Koch.
Aka Hirnwurst, Kalbskäse, Weisser Fleischkäs.