What Is Liverwurst?

Liverwurst is the liver-best! A lot of sausages get a bad rap because they have “wurst” in their name. But that just means they’re German. Wurst means sausage in German. Whether it’s bratwurst, knackwurst, or liverwurst, Germans know sausage. Sausage is what Germany is most famous for, that and nothing else. I should mention I failed history class. So, what is liverwurst? What is in liverwurst? How do you eat liverwurst? What does liverwurst taste like? Let’s get the scoop on some liverwurst!

What is liverwurst?

Liverwurst is a sausage made out of liver. Anyone shocked by that? Liverwurst is most commonly made from pork or beef liver but there can also be some pretty wild combinations (see below). In Germany it’s called leberwurst, or liver sausage. Pretty literal. Liverwurst is not just a German delicacy, though, it’s actually eaten all over Europe as well as in North and South America. Liverwurst is especially popular in Chile, Argentina, and anywhere that appreciates some good offal aka organ meats. 

What is liverwurst made of?

Okay, so we know that liverwurst is liver sausage, but what is in liverwurst? It can’t be all liver, right? No, there’s definitely more in there. The thing is, there’s not really a standard liverwurst recipe. Different German towns have their own versions. Everywhere it’s eaten all over the world makes it slightly different. There’s not even a consistent consistency. Liverwurst can be hard like a summer sausage, soft and spreadable like a paté, or somewhere in between. Liverwurst will usually contain some other offal, like hearts and kidneys. One way that liverwurst can be made is by combining 50 percent beef trimmings with 20 percent beef liver, 15 percent beef heart and 15 percent beef kidney. Grind those ingredients along with water, sea salt, onion powder, white pepper, coriander, marjoram, and allspice. That’s just one beef liverwurst recipe. There’s many more out there with pork, chicken, and duck.

How to eat liverwurst?

As we know, there are many different ways to make liverwurst. So, naturally, there’s many different ways to enjoy it—but most of them involve mustard. A common German way to eat liverwurst is to spread it on some bread and eat it with mustard and a pickle. In the Netherlands, liverwurst is sliced thin and served with mustard. In Poland, liverwurst is eaten on rye bread with horseradish-y mustard. Some places eat it on a sandwich. You can find it in the U.S. pre-sliced. Try it with red onions and a gherkin. 

What does liverwurst taste like?

No matter what style of liverwurst you eat, it has a distinct taste. Liverwurst tastes salty with tons of umami. It’s very similar to a paté, almost like a spreadable bologna. When I go and buy my liverwurst, I always ask for liver-best! But they never know what I’m talking about so I just say liverwurst.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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