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Liverwurst at a Glance


Germany, west-central Europe

Type of Charcuterie

Smoked, Cooked Sausage

Main Ingredient

Pork, Duck, Liver

Typical Ingredients

Liver, pork shoulder, pork fat, salt, pepper, onions, curing powder and other spices

Other Names

Liver sausage, liver pudding, leberwurst, Braunschweiger, liverwurst sausage, leverworst, leverkorv, maksamakarra , Thuringer leberwurst, Lebar, Pasztetowa

Liverwurst Description

Liverwurst is a type of German sausage that has become popular outside of Germany. The name is an anglicized version coming from the German term leberwurst, which was first recorded around 1852. It comes from the German words leber meaning liver and wurst meaning sausage. There is little history as to the origin of this sausage, but much of its making can be attributed to the use of less popular animal parts such as the offal, snout and others.

Traditionally made from meat and liver, this sausage usually contains only 10 to 30% liver in it and the rest is made from meat and offal. Despite this small amount, the strong taste of the liver gives the sausage the flavor it needs. In many cases, when more than 35% of liver is used in the mixture, it results in a bitter taste.

Liverwurst is commonly made with pork and pork liver, and hardly any beef. While it is normal for this to also contain offal and other giblets, those of higher quality may be made only of liver and muscle protein. The liver, meat, fat and offal are then cured and seasoned with the salt, pepper, onions and spices then pureed. The paste mixture is stuffed into casings and smoked until it firms. The liverwurst is then cooled and allowed to bloom. Alternatively, the mixture may also be poured into a pan instead of into casings and steamed to firm.

The result of this process is a ready to eat sausage which may come in links, slices or loaves. It often has a smooth, creamy and spreadable texture and a pink to brown color. Liverwurst has a unique and distinct flavor. It is usually eaten cold but may also be used for hot dishes. These may be sliced and used in a sandwich or spread directly onto bread or crackers.

It is also not unusual for it to be used in open faced sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres. In Germany liverwurst is pan fried and served with onions, mashed potatoes and apples. This sausage goes well with mustard, pickled gherkins, red onions, cheese and sauerkraut among many things.

Photo Credit: artizone
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