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May 15th, 2013 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Headout
 

Headout: Know Your Sausage

Jawohl! Maifest, Germany’s oldest sausage party, is here.

headout_3928(sausage)IMAGE: Kurt Armstrong

Oktoberfest gets a lot of column inches—the legislated purity of Bavarian beer, the goofy hats, the giant urinal troughs—while Maifest always gets short shrift.

And who does not excite himself over a Maibaum in the willage? Certainly not the folks at Zeitgeist Northwest, who are hosting a Maifest at Oaks Amusement Park on May 18, with a beribboned Maypole for the kids and some yodeling and some, you know, beer.

But there’s one Maifest tradition they won’t be observing: The hanging of the sausage. Back in olden times, the Germans hung sausage from the Maypole as a symbol of pride and industry vis-à-vis the stuffing of spiced meat into digestive parts.

Here’s a short guide to the types of German sausage you can hang at home, from your home Maypole, for Maifest. Because if there’s one thing Portland loves, it’s old-school meat. Let your meat flag fly, Portland.

  1. Bratwurst (Old Country Sausage Co., 4839 NE 106th Ave.): Bratwurst is the pizza of sausage, as seemingly every German region has its own version. It’s also the most standard: chopped veal, pork or beef and mild spicing in a fat casing. It’s good. Just ask the entire state of Wisconsin.
  2. Bierwurst (Old Country): Pepper-garlic beer sausage, for eating with beer. Because black pepper is so spicy for the German palate. A smoked sausage made with pre-cured meat. 
  3. Currywurst (Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen, 3119 SE 12th Ave.): This sausage from Edelweiss is a beautifully trashy German street food (pork sausage seasoned with curry ketchup), all wrapped up one package: curried pork in a sausage. You want to eat like a fat Berliner? Just add ketchup.
  4. Weisswurst (Edelweiss): Bavarian breakfast; you eat it after noon, you lose your hair, the superstition goes. It’s white because no nitrites are added, which means you should always eat it fresh. Also, don’t grill: cook it in hot water just shy of boiling.
  5. Blutwurst (Edelweiss): The least kosher food, maybe ever: pig’s blood, pork fat, seasoning. But awesome. As with weisswurst, you cook this in hot, sub-boiling water. Or you can fry up thin slices and crisp it into little scabs. Yum.
  6. Liverwurst (Edelweiss): Liver sausage, man. Pig liver, some veal, some allspice. This one’s a mini-version, which kind of makes organ meat seem cute.
  7. Braunschweiger (Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, 4138 SE Woodstock Blvd.): Liverwurst on crack. Or, at least, on hickory. Smoked liverwurst, often with extra pork or beef trimmings, usually used as a spread.
  8. Mettwurst (Otto’s): Minced, cured pork sausage, often heavily spiced with mustard seed or onion. Germans don’t do pepper spice, but they will knock your sinuses the fuck out.
  9. Frankfurter (Olympic Provisions, 1632 NW Thurman St.): Do you need this explained? Spiced sausage, Frankfurt style. Very popular among Americans
And of course no sausage is complete without its mustard. A taste test of Oregon mustards here.
  1. Sausage Party
    Kurt Armstrong

     


GO: Maifest, a German-themed celebration of spring, is at Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, on Saturday, May 18. 10 am-7 pm. zeitgeistnorthwest.org.

 
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