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Bratwurst

Bratwurst A Bratwurst is a sausage usually composed of veal, pork or beef. The plural is Bratwürste.

The name is German, derived from Old High German brätwurst, from brät-, which is finely chopped meat and -wurst, or sausage. Though the brat in bratwurst describes the way the sausages are made, it is often misconstrued to be derived from the German verb "braten", which means to pan fry or roast. Bratwurst is usually grilled and sometimes cooked in broth or beer.

History
A grilled sausage is first described in the 8th century B.C. in Ancient Greece by Homer in book XX of the Odyssey as a simile for the tormented Ulysses: but he tossed about as one who turns a paunch full of blood and fat in front of a hot fire, doing it first on one side and then on the other, that he may get it cooked as soon as possible. It is also mentioned in Ancient Rome by the 1st century novelist Petronius and appears in the 4th/5th century in book II of the cookbook De re coquinaria by Apicius.

The first documented evidence of the Bratwurst in Germany dates back to 1313 and can be found in the Franconian city of Nuremberg, which is still an internationally renowned centre for the production of grill sausages.

Germany
Nürnberger Bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard, as served in the Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl in Munich.

Recipes for the sausage vary by region and even localitiy; some sources list over forty different varieties of German bratwurst, many of the best known originating in Franconia (today for the most part situated in Northern Bavaria but still culturally quite distinct), its northern neighbour Thuringia and adjacent areas. How the sausages are served is also locally different but most commonly they are regarded as a snack served with or in a Brötchen (white bread roll made from wheat flour) and eaten with hot German mustard.

As a pub dish it is often accompanied by Sauerkraut or potato salad and sometimes served with dark, crusty country bread made predominantly from rye flour, less commonly with a Brezel. It is a very popular form of fast food in German-speaking countries, often cooked and sold by street vendors from small stands.

United States of America
Bratwurst is a common type of sausage in the United States, especially in the state of Wisconsin, where the largest ancestry group is German.  Originally brought to North America by German immigrants, it is a common sight at summer cookouts, alongside the famous hot dog.  It is also the origin of the "beer brat", a regional favorite where the bratwurst are poached in beer (generally a combination of a pilsner style, with butter and onions) prior to grilling over charcoal.

The bratwurst was popularized in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in the 1920s. In general, each local butcher shop would take orders and hand make bratwurst fresh to be picked up on a particular day.  The fat content of the sausages was substantial, making daily pick up necessary to avoid spoilage.  Much of the fat was removed during the cooking over charcoal. Usually one kept a pan of cold water handy to the grill, so it was easy to dip one's fingers in and fling the water onto the flames caused by the burning of the excess fat.

The bratwurst (or "brat") also became popular as a mainstay of sports stadiums after Bill Sperling introduced bratwurst to Major League Baseball in Milwaukee County Stadium in 1953.  The bratwurst were such a hit, Sperling said, that Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers took a case back to New York.  Currently Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the only baseball stadium that sells more bratwurst than hot dogs.

The town of Bucyrus, Ohio (known as the "Bratwurst Capital of America") has held the three-day Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival annually since 1967.

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