Normally, I save my Q and A for the Ask A Pastry Chef blog however, since this question has more to do with meat than pastry, I'll post it here.
A question from Ankeny, Iowa via Google search: How do you make Gritwurst?
Unless you are of German heritage and have a background of farm living, you're probably not familiar with Gritwurst. I am lucky to be of German heritage and to have family that grew up in the country where they used every part of an animal and learned to enjoy such delicacies. Despite some descriptions, Gritwurst (sometimes known as Gritzwurst or Grutzwurst) is not head cheese, though both are made with meat from the hog's head.
I will admit I have never tried Gritwurst though in my defense, it has been quite a number of years since I have been around when my family has made it. After re-reading the recipe I think it actually sounds kind of tasty. I would have to make alterations of course unless I can create a list of reasons to invest in a meat grinder.
Here is my Great Grandmother's recipe with some clarifications,
9 to 10 pounds hog's head meat (pork shoulder or roast may be used instead of head)
4 to 5 pounds steel cut oats
1 heaping tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons allspice
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 to 4 tablespoons salt
In a large cooking pot, cover meat with water and cook about 2 hours. Add some salt while cooking. Remove meat from the pot and strain stock. Cool slightly and remove meat from the bones and grind meat. Return the strained stock to a boil and add oats. Steam until soft and thick. Mix in spices and ground meat. Form the mixture into patties or place in a large cake pan or roaster and allow to cool overnight then cut into squares. Fry patties or squares in a bit of oil.
Gritwurst is often eaten for breakfast and according to my mother and aunties it's best when crispy.
I have a cookbook with recipes from the Depression Era which contains a recipe for Venison Gritwurst. It is basically the same with half of the pork replaced with venison. Additionally, marjoram, thyme, and allspice are added in place of the cinnamon, etc. This recipe says the they can be served with jelly, honey or pancake syrup, as a sandwich filling or side dish at any meal.
Patties or squares can be wrapped tightly and frozen before frying.
I called my mother before posting this and she excitedly asked if I was going to make Gritwurst! I may... and I may let her help.
Update: In an email from one of my aunties, "Thanks for sending me to your blog. Yup. I had not looked for a while so it was fun to catch up. I just have a couple of comments on the gritwurst. The last times I made it I had the butcher grind up the pork for me and justcooked it like ground beef for sloppy joes. It made the whole thing very simple and also made it easy to drain off much of the fat. When I cook itfor eating, I just throw it in a pan loose and brown it good. I, too, like it crispy but it is greasy. It is really important to use steelcut oats.They can be found in health food stores if nowhere else. Makes me think I need to whip up a batch."
Technorati tags German cooking+pork+venison+scrapple+food+Depression Era