Mystery Meat: Sausages From Around The World

Around the World, Featured — By Victoria Gutierrez on April 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

There are certain foods that exist in some form or another in just about every culture world-wide. Bread, stews, moonshine, McDonald’s…but one rises above the rest: The Sausage. This universally loved hunk-o-meat appeals to almost every demographic and can be dressed up or down, adding to it’s overarching appeal. Here’s a look at some of the great encased meats around the globe.

United States

Once the epitome of ‘mystery meat’, hot dogs have become somewhat of a culinary darling in the states. While yuppies swear by their nitrite-free, bacon-wrapped, organic grass-fed free-range beef hot dog, good ‘ole fashioned Americans are willing to fight tooth and nail to prove the hot dog from their neck-of-the-woods reigns supreme as the defining dog for the USA.

The classic Chicago hot dog is a Vienna beef dog in a steamed poppy seed bun with the venerable garden patch loaded on top: mustard, onions, tomato wedges, green relish, sport peppers, a pickle spear, and a healthy sprinkling of celery salt. The combo of juicy and crunchy lends to its ridiculous popularity.

Image: photine/ Flickr

The Coney Island hot dog is a New York institution and Nathan’s Famous has been serving them up since 1916. Started by polish immigrant, Nathan Handwerker, Nathan’s Famous has set the standard for New York hot dogs for almost a century. At Nathan’s they have pretty strict rules on hot dog attire: spicy brown mustard, grilled onions, and sauerkraut. NO KETCHUP ALLOWED. Although other condiments are available, if you use them be prepared to be judged by the purists.

Image: LarimdaME/ Flickr

The Cincinnati Cheese Coney is not for the faint of heart. According to local folklore, chili was first made in 1922 by Macedonian immigrant brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff who were having a hard time selling their Greek lamb stew. Instead of lamb, they switched to beef and served it over hot dogs because they were so popular in the 20s. Today chili dogs are made with beef and pork hot dogs dressed first with mustard, then smothered in beef chili and onions, and finally covered with a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of cheddar cheese.

Image: nespodzany/ Flickr


As per usual, Canada‘s answer to America’s hot dog obsession is a perfect marriage of two foody cultures. Canadian’s cult-status dog is called Japadog, and for years the only way to get it was to stand in line at their Japadog stand in Vancouver (although they are opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in April).

Image: happy d/ Flickr

They serve Japanese-style dogs dressed in all manner of condiments, from bonito flakes to plum sauce to edamame. Their most popular dog is the “Spicy Cheese Terimayo” which has teriyake sauce, Japanese mustard, seaweed, jalapenos, and smoked cheese. Other menu options include the Ume which has special plum sauce, raw onion, and a bratwurst. And the Oroshi (most popular with Japanese patrons), made with grated radish, soy sauce and green onions.

Image: joseph lo/ Flickr


The French are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to wine, fashion, art, etc. So of course they have their own amazing array of high-end sausages…each region even has its own patron sausage. Boudin, or blood sausage, rules Eastern France and andouillettes, sausages filled with only the most sophisticated of unmentionable animal by-products, are popular in the Loire region.

In Savoie, try the pork sausage diots or the Poumonier filled with pork lung, other leftover bits, and spinach. To get the full effect, make sure you’re drinking the local wine with all these oblong, mystery-filled treasures.

Image: nathalie.derain/ Flickr

The UK

The delightful version of blood sausage often served in the UK is affectionately called blood pudding. This sausage takes center stage at breakfasts throughout the UK along with eggs, tomato, baked beans and fried bread.

Image: angel/ Flickr

Blood pudding is made with the blood of a cow, pig or goat cooked with a filler like meat, fat or bread, and boiled until the blood is thick enough to congeal. Then the sausage is cut into slices, and fried up for breakfast. Bloody pudding is also sold battered and fried at chip shops all over England.

Image: avlxyz/ Flickr


Kielbasa is traditional Polish sausage that is an absolute staple in Polish cuisine. Although usually made out of pork, Kielbasa can also be made from beef, horse, lamp, or bison meat and is served in a multitude of ways including grilled, baked, boiled in soups and stews or in traditional polish casseroles. Image: ghostywingz/ Flickr

Just as in other countries, Kielbasa in Poland comes in all shapes and sizes and each region has its own affinity. Kabanosy is a skinny, air dried sausage that is flavored heavily with caraway seeds. Weseina, also known as “wedding sausage” is a U-shaped, medium-thick smoked sausage that is traditionally served at weddings.  Krakowska is a thick, straight sausage made with pepper and garlic and hot-smoked on the streets of Krakow. Wiejska, who’s name means rural, is a large U-shaped sausage made from pork and veal and flavored with marjoram and garlic.

Image: Eating in Translation/ Flickr


The local form of pork sausage in Greece is loukaniko. Usually dried before selling, this sausage is often chopped and fried when ready to be eaten. Loukaniko comes in a variety of exotic spices. Traditionally it is infused with orange rind and fennel or flavored with leeks and served as part of a mezze plate along side other classic Mediterranean foods like olives and salads.

Image: Nikchick/ Flickr

Spain and Mexico

Chorizo is the word for any pork-based sausage in a Spanish-speaking country. While styles may vary, all have two things in common: a bright red color and a pretty serious spice content. Spanish chorizo is made from pork and pork fat that is finely chopped and mixed with paprika, salt, and wine. Depending on the type of paprika used, Spanish chorizo is usually classified as picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet).

Image: jlastras/ Flickr

Mexican chorizo is made with fattier pork that is ground instead of chopped, giving it a drier flavor perfect for breaking-up and cooking with. Although the European version is often eaten like a traditional sausage, Mexican chorizo is commonly cut open before eating and separated from the casing. The ground mixture is then mashed up, fried, and eaten plain or mixed in with a variety of dishes.

Image: Sachin – A matter of life and death/ Flickr



The German’s really take their bratwurst, or sausage, seriously…and the German Bratwurst Museum in Thuringian, Germany proves it. They even erected a giant wurst-and-bun monument outside the museum, which happens to hold the oldest document in the world that mentions the bratwurst. It was written in 1404! There are reportedly over 1,500 variations of bratwurst in Germany, some enjoyed with mustard, some in a bum, and all with their own unique preparation and cult-like following.

Image: cran304/ Flickr

We tried pretty hard but couldn’t name them all! Leave your favorite sausage in the comments section!

[Image: chad davis/ Flickr]


  • Christina says:

    What a fun post! I have had a fair share of mystery meat around the world and they are all delicious. Scary…

    I would like to add the Danish red sausage (“røde pølser”). It is similar to the German, but comes with a sweet and spicy ketchup-like sauce and strong mustard. I have no idea what is in it, but it snaps when you bite into it. Awesome!

  • Samya says:

    Now I want sausage.

    One of my favorites is Merguez – originally North African I think – typically made of lamb and slightly spicy.

  • Victoria says:

    @Christina and Samya, both of those sound delicious! Another one of my favorites was a wild boar and fig sausage that I bought at a market in France. Yum.

  • I Love Guitar says:

    No Currywurst from Germany? No Rookworst from the Netherlands?

  • Jo Diddy says:

    Wow, thats incredible dude, Well done.


  • toronto massage says:

    yummers!!! blood pudding. you gotta try the trinidadian version. nice and spicey

  • Keith says:

    LOL “some enjoyed with mustard, some in a bum, and all with their own unique preparation and cult-like following.”

    some in a BUM? lol, gay.

  • Dan says:

    “Although usually made out of pork, Kielbasa can also be made from beef, horse, lamp, or bison meat and is served in a multitude of ways including grilled, baked, boiled in soups and stews or in traditional polish casseroles.”

    No idea what lamp tastes like. Looks inedible though.

  • Peter Petrell says:

    well, i’m german … the last picture you showed is a boiled sausage, aka the “wiener”. The problem is that you will get most ot the times a “bratwurst” (roasted sausuage).

    So, not really a sausage which define germany (but yes, wieners are still pretty common).

    And to follow a posting above: you forgot curry-wurst … :-)

  • Edward says:

    South African Boorwoers. Take the cup to me… although I have to admit all sausage is good sausage. You cannot possibly have bad sausage, show it to me. But you will have to buy it for me.

  • LGB says:

    Was italy honestly not mentioned in this article?

    I’m not even italian but I take serious offense to this.

    The fact that someone may now know what a “japadog” is and not what soppressata is just ridiculous.

  • Aussie says:

    What about Australia??

    We convicts love our snaggs.

    Good ol aussie BBQ; sausages, onion, potato, eggs, tomato and beer.

    Lots of beer.

  • arctor says:

    What’s w/the currywurst? Tasty, but its the Macdonalds of German wursts.

    Rindswurst – a Frankfurt speciality, all beef.
    Weisswurst – from Bavaria, white veal, boiled witht the skin then peeled off before eating (great when hungover!)

    Like beer, most regions have thier own ‘hotdog’.

    Like the above poster, I’m going to avoid the lampwurst.

  • Foo says:

    Seriously. Not a mention of the Alpha and Omega of sausage countries. The land that all other sausage lands aspire to be. The country which honed the techniques of sausage creation over two thousand years of imperial domination. The country that other sausagemakers send their chefs to learn. Not even a *mention* of Italy?

  • ph says:

    You should have mentioned the sweet Chinese sausage.

  • Nikki says:

    Japadog is good, but totally over-rated. You see 10-20 people lined up for a pretty regular hot dog topped with stereotypical japanese toppings (seaweed, mayo, teriaki, radish…etc)……and they’re trying to charge you $5 bucks for it. Brick and mortar store will kill the novelty.

  • EverythingIKnow says:

    Blood pudding is never called that in the UK. It’s always called ‘Black pudding’. Many people dont even realise it’s made of blood.

  • tempr707 says:

    Publishing Japadog seems like filler.. an honorable mention at most as it’s a recent Canadian spinoff. No longanisa from the Phillipines? American Jimmy Dean? Even the Cajun Boudin would be a better representation of “Canadian”… bah!!!!

  • Anon says:

    Great Article but I have to agree with EverythingIKnow. We only call it ‘black pudding’ in the UK. If you ask for sausage you’ll get the two brown things sitting just in front of the pudding.

  • Thomas says:

    Forgot to the Swedish classic “Halv Special” or the half special. Makes any party a success

  • Ed says:

    Great article! Just thought I’d say though, I’m from the UK and it’s quite rare to hear what you call ‘Blood pudding’ being called as such. More common is the name ‘Black pudding’, which helps distinguish it from ‘White pudding’, which is essentially black pudding but without the blood.

  • Camilo V. says:

    In Colombia and other parts of Latin America, morcilla is served. Morcila is Spanish-style blood sausage differentiated by the inclusion of rice and paprika:

  • Victoria Gutierrez says:

    @ everyone, thanks for all the great suggestions! Of course some great ones were left off since there are SO many different sausages in every country. I’ll be taking notes from your comments for all my future travels!

  • Tube Steak says:

    The Austrian Kaisekriner is the best sausage on earth.

  • timbo says:

    Aah, memories of all the sausages I´ve eaten. One of my favorites is Cumberland sausage which is presented as a coil round the border of the plate, enclosing mashed potatoes, gravy and peas.

    Also three colours of haggis; white (regular, red and black:-)

  • natasha monique kozik says:


  • Noo Yawker says:

    I don’t believe there is a NO KETCHUP ALLOWED rule at Nathan’s Famous. Maybe a few franchisees around the country have such a rule. At the original Coney Island Nathan’s, as well as at corporate-owned locations such as Yonkers, NY patrons have to put on their own mustard and sometimes sauerkraut, kept at condiment stations. Ketchup is also freely available there. While ketchup clashes with the spice mixture of the Nathan’s hot dog, there is nothing to dissuade people from putting ketchup on their frankfurter. Certainly no signs. Since New York is Anonymous City anyway, other patrons will not make ketchup users feel uncomfortable.

  • Jern says:

    “There are reportedly over 1,500 variations of bratwurst in Germany, some enjoyed with mustard, some in a bum”

    Those zany Germans, sausage in a bum.

    Edit – I was beat to this by several minutes, I should probably refresh before posting anything.

  • Mertie Whitchurch says:

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  • elk says:

    Germany: This is NOT a Bratwurst, this is a BOCKWURST. Completely different!

    THAT is a real Bratwurst:


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