Apart from the delightful Christmas Market and the sobering Nuremberg Trials, the city of Nuremberg is known for a very unique specialty – bratwurst, also called the Nuremberg Bratwurst (Nürnberger Rostbratwurst). Every day, more than 3 million sausages are made and exported around the globe. You may be wondering why exactly this sausage is so popular. Read on to find out!

Most Famous Sausage
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 9

Why Are They Small?

These special sausages cannot exceed 4 inches in length or weigh more than 25 grams. This is especially tiny compared to some other servings of bratwursts, and their size is often questioned. There are many theories about this, and we’ve outlined some below for your enjoyment.

Passing Through a Keyhole

Because the Nuremberg innkeepers wanted to keep selling food after the gates were closed at night, it is said that the sausages were made to be small enough to pass through a keyhole. This way, sales could continue at night.

Most Famous Sausage Served in Prison

One story alleges that these sausages were served to prisoners in the Nuremberg dungeons by drilling an extra hole into the cell wall.

Yet another story talks about Hans Stromer, a nobleman who was sentenced to life in prison in 1554. Granted one wish, he asked to be given two Nuremberg sausages a day. This wish was fulfilled, and he was given two sausages each day through the keyhole of his cell. Legend says that Stromer ate 28000 sausages during his 38-year stint.

his 38-year stint
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 10

What’s the Truth?

Alas, the truth isn’t as exciting. The market forces came into play – rising prices meant that the sausages had to be smaller to maintain their quality which the city insisted on. The city was strict about following the recipe and made sure to conduct tests based on water content, structure etc. The citizens of Nuremberg chose quality over quantity, and quality is held high to this day. Flavour, quality of meat, and grain size are all analysed just as weight and size are.

Protected by Law

The Nuremberg Bratwurst’s recipe was first put into law by the city in 1313, and there was strict adherence to instructions and quality. In 2003, it was recognized as a “Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)” by the European Union – this was an acknowledgment that the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst was a locally-produced specialty in the EU and was unique to the location.

Thus, every Nürnberger Rostbratwurst has to be made within the city using the official recipe.

the official recipe
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 11

Modern Service

To be eaten in batches of 6, 8, 10, or 12, these sausages are served with horseradish and with sides such as fresh sauerkraut and potato salad.

and potato salad
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 12

One of the most popular ways it is served is “3 im Weggla” – 3 sausages within a hard roll, with mustard spread on top.

mustard spread on top
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 13

Although the grilled version is renowned, you can also find these sausages boiled. Called “Saure Zipfel”, the sausages are boiled in a broth of onions, vinegar, wine and spices. This results in a grey-blue colour, causing these to be called “Blue tails.”

Most Famous Sausage
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 14

Historical Timeline of the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst and Most Famous Sausage

In 1313, Nuremberg authorities declared that only the finest pork loins should be chopped and used in sausages. These “little sausages” were to be inspected to ensure quality. Special pork butchers were to make the sausages which would then be inspected by master butchers. If the sausages did not meet the requirements in terms of water content, structure etc, they were dumped into the Pegnitz River. This established the high quality of Nuremberg sausages which remains to this day.

In 1419, the famous Zum Gulden Stern restaurant was first mentioned in writing. It has survived through wars and now claims to the oldest sausage restaurant in the world.

By the time 1497 came around, prices were rising, and the quality of sausages around the country was not upheld. Nuremberg was an exception – the butchers were ordered to make smaller sausages so that the quality was maintained.

In 1554, Hans Stromer was sentenced to life in prison and famously asked to be served two Nuremberg sausages a day.

In 1558, a law was passed to ensure that the sausages were made entirely of pork.

In 1806, the Romantic Movement came to Nuremberg. The medieval buildings and the city’s rich culture made it popular. Soon, sausage sales increased even more.

Although the Nuremberg City Council had been adamant about maintaining the quality of their sausages for centuries, in 1998, even measurements regarding the sausages were made official.

In 2003, the Nuremberg Rostbratwurst Sausage was acknowledged and protected by the European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Thus, the Nuremberg Sausage was the first specialty sausage in the world.

In 2009, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market) was awarded the Nuremberg Sausage Prize for inventing the “3 im Weckla” serving style.

Finally, in 2014, there was a special exhibition opened for this famous sausage in the Nuremberg City Museum called “9 cm of Nuremberg”. This exhibition is about the cultural history of the Nuremberg sausage and its connection to the city.

Most Famous Sausage
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 15

Try Most Famous Sausage It Yourself

Is your mouth watering? Try this famous bratwurst yourself. If you’re in Nuremberg, go to Zum Gulden Stern, a traditional bratwurst restaurant that has been in service since 1419. It’s open every day from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Most Famous Sausage
Nürnberger Rostbratwurst – The World’s Most Famous Sausage 16

The Most Famous Sausage Nürnberger Rostbratwurst Today

Today, the Nuremberg Bratwurst remains a critical part of the city’s identity. All the legends surrounding its size emphasize its importance and provide a glimpse into the city’s history. Any celebration in Nuremberg today isn’t complete without the famous sausage.

Not only has it become “a taste of home” for Nuremberg expats, but it is widely produced and exported all over the world for consumers to have their very own taste of Nuremberg history.