Goetta is a coarsely-textured, cooked mixture of oats and ground meat popular in Northern Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio. It is somewhat similar to scrapple.
Described by some as a boiled version of meatloaf, it is jokingly called “Cincinnati Caviar.”
You can buy it at stores, or make it at home.
The meat used is usually pork shoulder, but that can be mixed with some beef. Commercially, some meat scraps and offal will likely be used as well. All the meats used are ground, and mixed.
The oats can be pin head or steel cut oats. Some say the best Goetta is made with pinhead oats — that rolled oats make it too mushy. Dorsel’s brand pin-head oats, sold in the area, has a recipe for Goetta on the package.
You cook the oats a bit first, then add the ground meats and seasoning, then simmer to cook the meat. Seasoning includes bay leaves, onions, pepper, rosemary, sage, salt and thyme, etc. The ingredients are simmered until the mixture is thick, then it is put into a loaf pan (several small loaf pans if being made commercially), and refrigerated until firm. If done properly, the oats should retain a bit of bite to them.
There are home slow cooker recipes for making Goetta.
Goetta is usually served sliced and fried, usually for breakfast, with jelly, ketchup or syrup.
Goetta is also available now in “sausage” shape for eating on hotdog rolls (“Goettadogs”), and in round patty shape for burgers (“Goettaburgers”.) It is also being used now as a pizza topping, as a meat on nachos and in omelets, etc.
Goetta is sold in grocery stores in Northern Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio. The largest maker of it is “Glier’s Goetta”, who are actually in Covington, North Kentucky. The Glier’s company was founded by Robert Glier after the Second World War. They make 1,000,000 lb (450 metric tons) of Goetta a year, 99% of which is purchased and eaten in the Cincinnati area.
Other brands include Finke’s, Hoffman’s, and Kroeger’s.
Fry slices for about 10 to 15 minutes per side, until golden-brown. Bacon grease is a good fat to fry it in.
Goetta freezes well.
Goetta originated with settlers from northwestern Germany. It was a way both of using cheap cuts of meat, and stretching them out with filler, to boot.
Literature & Lore
A Goettafest is held yearly in Covington, Kentucky. Another one is held each August at Newport, Kentucky by Glier’s Goetta.
“Goetta” is pronounced “get – a.”
It is occasionally referred to as “hafer grits” by old-time locals (“hafer” being German for “oats.”)