Mettwurst vs. Bratwurst: Differences & Which Is Better

Mettwurst vs. Bratwurst Differences & Which Is Better
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Sausages have a long history and worldwide popularity. Mettwurst and bratwurst, originating from Germany, are some of my favorites. And, just because they’re from Germany, doesn’t mean they’re the same! Still, aside from their origin and somewhat similar ingredients, these two are different. So, what are the differences between mettwurst and bratwurst?

Mettwurst and bratwurst mainly differ in preparation and eating styles as well as in ingredients. However, they are similar in that they both share the same part of the name “wurst” — meaning “sausage” in German.

Understanding these differences will enrich your entire culinary experience. In the following text, I have laid out some facts, common opinions, tips, tricks, and my personal experiences to help you grasp the fine line that separates mettwurst from bratwurst. So, let’s see all the differences.

Ingredients and Preparation   

Mettwurst is a type of uncooked sausage that has a centuries-long tradition. Although there are several regional variations of this sausage in Germany, mettwurst usually contains minced pork meat without bacon — which is exactly what the “mett” in its name means. 

This sausage is known to have a strong flavor, coming from spices such as garlic, white pepper, marjoram or mace, and coriander. In some variations, it can also include alcohol, such as rum.

To make mettwurst, you have to grind both meat and spices, mix them well together, stuff them into smokable casings, and smoke for about 12 hours.

On the other hand, bratwurst is a sausage that can be made easily and consists not only of pork, veal, or beef, but also of fat. Bratwurst used to be made from animal intestines so that nothing would be wasted. That is how this sausage got its name — bratwurst literally translates as “unwasteful sausage.”

For the seasoning, you can use the same spices as for the mettwurst, but you can also add some nutmeg or ginger. They are usually stuffed in natural casings, and there is no need to smoke them. However, you can smoke, poach, or fry them right after stuffing.

Here’s what mettwurst looks like spread over a slice of bread:

Appearance and Taste

There are several differences in the appearance of these two. The most obvious one is that mettwurst is usually darker brown because of the smoking. Aside from that, it’s also usually longer and thinner.

The biggest difference between the two is their flavor. Since mettwurst is raw smoked meat that can be used as a bread spreading, it has a creamier texture and stronger flavor. Since it can contain rum, that will also affect the flavor, making it stronger and more intense.

Bratwurst has a milder taste in comparison. Spices and meat blend together into a well-blanched flavor. This also depends on the meat you use to make the sausage. Pork and veal contribute rich, slightly fatty flavors, while beef lends robustness and depth.

The frying process intensifies the savory and slightly caramelized flavors of the bratwurst. The outer casing becomes crisp, providing a delightful contrast to the tender and flavorful interior. The browning also adds a subtle hint of nuttiness to the overall taste.

Best Uses

mettwurst on plate with bread next to a glass of wine and bratwurst grilled in a hot dog bun with mustard

Although I prefer sausages straight from the grill, there are several uses for these meat products that can turn them into a more creative and savory meal. For instance, mettwurst is best known as a bread spreading, usually served for breakfast with some chopped onions. However, you can also grill, fry or cook it, or use it as a pizza topping, in a sandwich, pasta, charcuterie plate, a stew, or a soup.

Bratwurst is a perfect sausage for grilling, yet it can also be a part of some other meals. For instance, you can use it in breakfast hash, stews, or stir-fry dishes with vegetables. Bratwurst is a popular Oktoberfest food, so it also gets along with a simple pint of beer.


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Best Substitutes

While both of these sausages have their unique flavors, there are good enough substitutes for them. You can replace both of these with meat products such as Polish sausage, Italian sausage, andouille sausage, smoked sausage, chorizo, salami, or tofu sausage. 

Despite their subtle differences in taste and texture, these sausages will each make a mouthwatering alternative to your favorite sausages.

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

The answer to the question of which of these two sausages is better — mettwurst or bratwurst — depends on your flavor. If you are a big fan of grilled stuff like me, you might find bratwurst more appealing. 

However, there is no reason not to toss mettwurst on the grill as well. It might have a stronger smoky flavor, but if you are up for it, you will be in for a treat. 

The same is true if you use it as a bread spreading. Since it is raw, smoked meat, one might consider it to be an acquired taste. However, if you are bored with old-fashioned sausage from a grill or a pan, this might be a perfect match.

If you’ve tried them both — which one did you like better? Excited to hear from you in the comments below!

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