What is Knockwurst?
Knockwurst, or knackwurst, is a thick sausage that originated in the Holstein (northern) region of Germany. Knockwurst contains ground pork, veal, occasionally beef, and garlic. These ingredients are then put into a casing, aged for a few days, and smoked over oak wood. When cooked, knockwurst becomes very crisp, plump, and juicy.
Bratwurst vs Knockwurst
Bratwurst is made out of both finely minced pork and beef and wrapped up in a sausage casing. Knockwurst sausage is made out of mainly pork, veal, and flavored with garlic, unlike bratwurst. The color of knockwurst also tends to be a more reddish or orange tint, rather than the pinkish color that bratwurst displays. Additionally, knockwurst are shorter than bratwurst. Both knockwurst and bratwurst pair well with fermented foods like sauerkraut.
How to Cook Knockwurst
Knockwurst is primarily cooked on the stove, either in a pan or in boiling water. You can also cook knockwurst in the oven or on the grill. We break each cooking style down with step-by-step instructions to make perfect knockwurst.
How to Cook Knockwurst in a Pan
- Add a tablespoon or two of canola oil to a medium or large pan to evenly coat the bottom.
- Once the pan is warm, add your knockwurst, which can be either whole or cut into pieces, and cook over medium heat.
- Continue cooking knockwurst in the pan for 10 to15 minutes until sausages have cook marks on both sides.
How to Boil Knockwurst
- Fill a medium to large pot ¾ of the way with water, and bring to a boil for about a minute.
- Turn the heat down slightly to allow the boil to settle. If you add the knockwurst to boiling water, they will become overcooked.
- Once the water has settled, place the knockwurst into the pot, cover with a lid, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Knockwurst are pre-cooked, so they only need to be in the water long enough to heat up.
- Remove from water and serve.
How to Cook Knockwurst in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place knockwurst in a baking dish or sheet tray and put in oven.
- Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve once knockwurst cool down.
How to Grill Knockwurst
- Heat up grill as normal.
- Place knockwurst on the grill.
- Rotate the knockwurst until grill marks are present or for about 5 minutes.
Making knockwurst with potatoes and sauerkraut is a traditional German or Pennsylvania Dutch dish.
Ingredients and Equipment
- 1 package of knockwurst
- 16 ounces of sauerkraut
- 3 medium sized potatoes (peeled and quartered)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil
- 2 cups of beer, stock, or water
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pan sear the knockwurst for 5 minutes and as directed in our earlier instructions.
- Once seared, add sauerkraut and potatoes in and around the knockwurst.
- Season sauerkraut and potatoes with salt, pepper, caraway seeds, and other spices to your preference.
- Add your choice of liquid (either beer, water, or stock) to the pan until it covers the sauerkraut, potatoes, and knockwurst.
- Bring liquid to a low boil and reduce the heat.
- Cover the pan with the knockwurst, sauerkraut, and potatoes with a lid and allow everything to cook for about 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Remove the pan from the burner and serve.
You can also pair your knockwurst and sauerkraut with spaetzle to create an even more German dish to celebrate Oktoberfest or make an easy meal for a crowd. If you are a traveling foodie who loves German food, consider taking a trip to Germany over Oktoberfest to experience this dish for yourself.
Knockwurst is a staple of Germany, which can be prepared in many different ways. Pair with sauerkraut, spaetzle, or both to make a wonderful meal. Experiment with the different ways to cook knockwurst and find which method you like the most. Enjoy making knockwurst and experience the unique garlic taste and juiciness that knockwurst provide.