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German Gelbwurst – A Mild & Delicious Cold Cut

In this article I show you how you can make your own Gelbwurst. In Germany almost anyone knows it from their childhood. It is the sausage every kid gets for free as an extra when the parents buy Wurst at a butcher shop.

Gelbwurst is a cold cut, originally from Bavaria and has a comparatively mild taste. 

In former times it was also called brain sausage. There is also an explanation further down in the article (No worries, no brain included).

Gelbwurst literally translates to “yellow sausage” which is why many people wonder why it is called like that. 

Quite simple explanation! 

The Gelbwurst has a very light-colored meat, which is why people used to color the natural casing with saffron to make it look more appetizing.

Thus, the skin became yellow when coloring. 

Nowadays an artificial yellow casing is usually used and the sausage itself remains whitish.

Enough talking, you can find the complete recipe either as video or in written format. 

Have fun and good luck making it!

Making your own Gelbwurst – What do you need?

Gelbwurst-all Ingredients

Ingredients for your Gelbwurst

For 1000 g of Gelbwurst:

  • 20 % pork shoulder (200g)
  • 30 % veal (300g)
  • 35 % pork back fat or cheek (350g)
  • 15 % crushed ice (150g) 

Spices per 1000 g of Gelbwurst:

Equipment for making Gelbwurst

Meat Grinder

You need a meat grinder to “grind” the meat. The meat is chopped into small chunks with it.

Food processor / Thermomix

In a food processor, the minced meat and ingredients are mixed into a very fine mass. If you have a Thermomix, you can also use it for this process.

Artificial casings / Jars

To fill your sausage you need either 45 caliber artificial casing or jars to boil it down.

Making Gelbwurst – Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Cut your meat and back fat into strips. The size varies depending on how big your meat grinder is. The bigger the grinder, the bigger your pieces of meat can be.


2. Grind your spices (except for the cutter phosphate and parsley) to a fine powder.

Gelbwurst-grind spices

3. Add the spices to your meat and massage them in. When the meat is covered with spices everywhere, put the meat in the freezer for 1-2 hours. This will help with the grinding process and the temperature.

Gelbwurst-add spices

4. Now it’s time to grind the meat. Grind the meat and the parsley through the finest perforated disc (2mm). Let the meat through the meat grinder twice.The next step will be easier this way.

Gelbwurst-grind meat

5. Put the meat mixture into a sausage cutter or your food processor. Add the cutter phosphate to the mixture.

Gelbwurst-food processor

6. Mix the meat and add some crushed ice from time to time. The crushed ice is used to make your mixture nice and creamy. Mix until it forms a nice cohesive mass.


7. Measure the temperature in between. The meat should not be warmer than 12 C° (53,6 °F), otherwise your mass will lose its binding and the sausage will crumble later on.

8. When the mass has a nice firm bond, you can fill it into artificial casings. Make sure that not much air gets into the casings. Alternatively, you can fill the mixture in glasses.

9. Twist the end in tightly and knot it with a kitchen thread. My tip: Cut the kitchen yarn in advance.


10. Now poach your Gelbwurst for about 1 – 1,5 hours in 80 C° hot water (176 °F). The core temperature of the sausage should be between 70 – 72 C° (158 – 161 °F). Depending on how thick your casings are, this may take longer. If you boil them in a jar, then cook them at 100 °C /  212 °F  for 120 minutes.


11. There it is, your Gelbwurst. Enjoy!


What is the shelf life of Gelbwurst?

When cut, the sausage can be kept in the refrigerator for about 4 – 5 days. 

In the casing it can be kept refrigerated for about 14 days. 

Does the Gelbwurst really have brain in it?

In former times Gelbwurst was also called brain sausage. 

This was because the original Gelbwurst had brain as an ingredient. 

Don’t worry! 

Nowadays, brain is no longer used. 

Only pork, veal and back fat are left in a Gelbwurst.


Cooked Sausages

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