Who’s There? It’s Knockwurst

If you live in the U.S. (or anywhere else on the planet), you’re probably familiar with the hot dog, also known as the frankfurter—a nod to the city of Frankfurt, Germany, likely where its prototype was born. But you may not have heard of the hot dog’s delicious cousin: knockwurst.

Allow us to introduce you. Knockwurst is one of more than 1,000 varieties of sausage attributed to Germany, a country famous for its wurst. According to historians, sausage-making emerged as a way to preserve meat—and to get the most out of the animals that provided it.

So, what sets knockwurst apart from hot dogs (and all the other sausages available in grocery stores)? For answers to a few of our more pressing questions about the sausage, we turned to Kurt Gutenbrunner, world-renowned Austrian chef and restaurateur and expert in central European cuisine.

knockwurst with mustard

Q: What makes this sausage so special?

A: Knockwurst is short, stout, and loaded with flavorful seasonings. “Every butcher has a special mix that he’s proud of,” says Chef Gutenbrunner. “Some use more nutmeg, or more coriander, or more caraway seeds.”

Q: How do you eat knockwurst?

A: It can be eaten as finger food at parties, or with a piece of good bread and a condiment or two. Then there are more elaborate preparations. According to Chef Gutenbrunner, “in the summer, you can use it in wurstsalat”—literally “sausage salad.” (Yes, this is a thing.) “Sliced and mixed with red onions, peppers, apples, vinegar, and chives, it’s fantastic.”

Q: Where does this sausage come from?

A: “Like any wurst, knockwurst has a long history,” Chef Gutenbrunner explains. Germans have been making the sausage for centuries. In fact, before it even entered the mainstream in its native country, knockwurst was considered a delicacy among royalty.

Q: Where is it most popular?

A: While knockwurst is most popular in Germany, the sausage is also woven into the cuisines of its neighbors, like Alsace (a region in France) and Austria. “I grew up with knockwurst in Austria. We loved it and ate it all the time,” Chef Gutenbrunner recalls fondly.

Q: How did knockwurst get its name?

A: In German, it’s spelled “knackwurst,” which comes from “knacken” (meaning “to snap or crack”)—a reference to the unbeatable snap of the casing when you take a bite. “The texture alone is wonderful,” says Chef Gutenbrunner. “You can even just warm up the sausage up and enjoy that snap with a spicy or sweet mustard.”

Q: Anything else?

A: Chef Gutenbrunner wants you to know that when it comes to making knockwurst or any sausage, the key is quality meat. “It matters what you put into the casing,” he says. “It matters what we eat, what animal it came from, how that animal was raised.”

Try this tasty sausage at home with our recipe for Beef Knockwurst & Sauerkraut with Potato Salad & Whole Grain Mustard

Beef Knockwurst & Sauerkraut
with Potato Salad & Whole Grain Mustard

Maple & Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Sandwich Recipe

If you love the smell of pumpkin spice in the morning, we’ve got a new way to infuse your breakfast with the spicy flavor of fall. This sweet and savory breakfast sandwich incorporates pumpkin pie spice into the sausage. We topped ours off with a sweet drizzle of maple syrup to enhance the seasonal flavors. Optional: pair with a pumpkin spice latte.

pumpkin spice breakfast sandwich

What is pumpkin pie spice? 

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of the spices commonly found in pumpkin pie. This blend was introduced by Mccormick, and it’s been available for decades, long before the advent of the pumpkin spice latte. The recipe varies slightly, but most pumpkin pie spice includes some combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves.  

pumpkin spice breakfast sandwich ingredients

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Sausage Patties

Serves 4, makes about 12 patties


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp dried rubbed sage 
  • ¼ to ½  tsp crushed red pepper flakes


Mix the sausage:

In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, sage and as much of the crushed red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until just combined.**

Form & cook the sausage:

Using your hands, form the sausage mixture into ¼- to ½-inch thick patties, about 2 inches in diameter. Transfer to a plate. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the patties and cook 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!

How to tell if sausage has enough seasoning

Chef’s tip: cook a tester! This is the best way to taste test sausage (or meatballs) as you’re making them. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Pinch off a small piece of the sausage mixture (about a teaspoon or two) and flatten into a patty. Add to the pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Taste, then adjust the seasonings as desired.

Craving an even easier breakfast? Get everything you need to make breakfast sandwiches delivered to your door.

A Guide to Grocery Store Sausage

Hot Italian sausage and cavatelli
Hot Italian sausage and orecchiette

Sausage is a magical food. It exists in dozens of forms, across cultures, and is filled with a variety of spices. There are so many types and flavors that it becomes hard to define what exactly qualifies as sausage. It can be a link or a patty, smoked or dried, pork, beef, or even seafood. 

With all of these available options, it’s easy to descend into panic in the meat aisle when faced with a recipe that just calls for sausage. Consider this guide your helpful grocery store companion. It will teach you the difference between kielbasa and salami, and help you figure out what to toss on top of a pizza. 


Plump in appearance and pale in color, these sausages are made of uncooked seasoned ground meat and spices. They’re packaged in casings, sometimes all linked together like cartoon sausages. There are usually several varieties of fresh sausage available at a supermarket, including hot Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage, and breakfast sausage. These three types are all pork sausage, and are distinguished primarily by their spices. Generally, hot and sweet Italian sausage can be substituted for one another, but breakfast sausage is an entirely different flavor profile. It’s important to remember that these sausages are raw, so they require a longer cooking time than their pre-cooked counterparts (more on that below). Grill them whole and slice them up, or remove them from the casing while still raw, sauté the meat, and toss into soups or on a pizza.

browning loose sausage
Browning meat


These often have a smooth, more uniform texture than fresh whole sausages. This texture comes from the meat itself, which has been finely processed or pureed before cooking. Examples include the beloved hot dog, bologna, and mortadella. Precooked sausages will be more opaque and firmer to the touch; if you can’t tell if a sausage has been precooked, read the label closely or ask a store employee, preferably someone working at the meat counter. Pre-cooked sausages are technically safe to eat right out of the package, but heating them will bring out their best flavors. They can be grilled, pan-fried, or boiled. The larger versions, like bologna, are a staple in deli and lunch meat counters, while the smaller options are popular with home cooks. Their short preparation time makes them an easy way to bulk up a weeknight dinner.  


Cured sausages are salted and dried in cool conditions. Over time, the salt draws out the moisture and effectively “cooks” the meat, although heat is never applied. Salami, saucisson, sopressata, and pepperoni are all cured sausages. They’re perfect to slice up and serve on a charcuterie board, tuck into sandwiches, or even slice and toss into a hearty salad. Even though they don’t need to be cooked, applying heat to a cured sausage will render the fat, and give them a wonderfully crunchy texture. This transformation is what makes the crispy pepperoni on top of a pizza so delicious. 


For smoked sausages the meat is ground, packed, and hung to dry in a smoker or smokehouse where there is a low, cool fire. The meat is preserved by time, salt, and smoke, but not cooked by the heat of the fire. The smoke not only preserves the meat, but also flavors it; think of rich sweet kielbasa or smoky lap cheong. Smoked sausage also doesn’t need to be cooked, but warming it to room temperature or above will bring out its best flavors. Grilling it can add another dimension of charred flavor. Smoked sausages can be served on their own or sliced and added to other foods like soups or stews. These sausages are commonly found at deli counters.

smoked sausage
Mmm, smoky


Just because it’s not in a casing, doesn’t mean it’s not a sausage. Basically, any flavored and ground meat qualifies. Loose sausage can be formed into patties and fried, or broken up and sautéed. This top-rated Blue Apron recipe uses loose hot Italian sausage to spice up a pasta dish for a satisfying weeknight dinner. 

Ground pork 

Ok, ground pork is technically not a sausage…yet. That being said, if you’re in a grocery store on the hunt for fresh sausage, ground pork would be a better substitution than something smoked or pre-cooked. Once you have the ground meat at home, you can spice it up yourself. Empty the meat into a large bowl, and assemble some spices. For a classic sweet Italian sausage try cracked black pepper, minced garlic, whole fennel seed, salt, and chopped parsley. Before you cook up the whole batch, place a quarter-sized amount in a frying pan. Flip once, make sure it’s cooked through, and then give it a taste. Not only is that the best way to check the seasoning of homemade sausage, it’s also a fun little treat for the chef.

1 Ingredient, 5 Ways: Spotlight on Apples


Fall’s favorite fruit is currently the apple of our eye! Discover how to prepare this bright (and versatile) seasonal ingredient five delicious ways.  

1. Roasted Pork & Sautéed Apple with Cheesy Broccoli & Garlic Breadcrumbs

A topping of apple, cooked with a bit of apple cider vinegar, completes the dish with a pop of contrasting sweetness in each creamy, comforting bite.
















2. Apple & Dijon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Romaine Salad

Tangy-sweet layers of grainy Dijon mustard and crisp apple slices give tonight’s grilled cheese sandwiches their gourmet flair.
















3. Beet, Goat Cheese & Apple Sliders with Fingerling Potato Salad

Luscious goat cheese, crisp, tart apple slices and fresh mint make these beet sliders a non-traditional and satisfying meal.

2P_010715_2 Beet Steak Sliders















4. Pork Chops & Apple Mostarda with Roasted Sweet Potato, Toasted Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad

Our fall-inspired mostarda features crisp, tart Granny Smith apple, cooked with equal parts Dijon mustard and brown sugar.
















5. Seared Salmon & Apple Mashed Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts & Horseradish Sour Cream

Boiled and mashed right alongside our Yukon Gold potatoes, seasonal apple brightens and balances the classic side with its crisp sweetness.


4 Family Dinners That Double As Kids’ Lunches

FB Crops_0001_round up 1 without text

Transform last night’s dinner into tomorrow’s school lunch with these delicious, double-duty recipes! Find our four favorites below! 

1. Chicken Schnitzel with Creamy Potato Salad & Lingonberry Jam


Nothing beats classic chicken schnitzel. Simply a crunchy, breaded cutlet, it’s a favorite in Germany and many of its neighboring countries.

2. Pesto Meatball & Mozzarella Paninis with Zucchini Slaw


In this exciting take on meatball subs, we’re turning the deliciously saucy sandwiches into warm, crispy paninis.

3. Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese with Parmesan Breadcrumbs









There’s a reason macaroni and cheese has been a family favorite for decades: the combination of wholesome pasta and melty cheese is hard to resist.

4. Meatball Pizza with Bell Pepper, Fresh Mozzarella, & Cherry Tomatoes









In this exciting take on meatball subs, we’re turning the deliciously saucy sandwiches into warm, crispy paninis.


Weekend Entertaining with Five-Ingredient Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Lead

The heat is on its way, chefs! With warmer temperatures comes the allure of outdoor activity with friends and family. How do we balance our need for delicious food with our need for Vitamin D?

In this new series, we’re sharing recipes perfect for those busier weekends when you want to both enjoy the outdoors AND entertain with a delicious meal (with minimal prep.) Stay tuned for monthly recipes perfect for your weekend lifestyle: only 5 ingredients, 20 minutes of active cooking time, and 6 or more servings. Don’t get us wrong – we love spending time in the kitchen. But when the sun is shining, we want to make time for picnics, bike rides, beach days, and lemonade stands.

First up, we’re cooking North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork. North Carolina barbecue is more vinegar-y and less tomato-y than other barbecue styles. This recipe was originally created for families, but we quickly realized the appeal for those without any tots around. There’s just one small adjustment: use your favorite beer in place of the stock if you’re cooking for adults!

Five-Ingredient North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork - Pull

8 to 10 Pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder (also known as Pork Butt)
3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Cup White Vinegar
3 Cups Broth (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable or whatever you’d like!) or 3 Cups Beer of Choice

Dutch Oven (or Slow Cooker)


Salt and pepper the pork shoulder liberally, cover and refrigerate overnight. By seasoning the meat well in advance, you allow the flavor to develop to the fullest. Preheat the oven to 200°F (or the lowest setting on your oven). Place the seasoned pork shoulder and half the broth (or beer) in a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Braise in the oven for 6 to 7 hours, or until the meat is tender, falling apart and a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 190°F.

Remove the pork from the Dutch oven and carefully transfer to a cutting board.  Discard the cooking liquid and wipe out the Dutch oven. Using 2 forks, shred the pork, making sure to discard any large pieces of fat or sinew. Return the shredded pork to the Dutch oven and add the sugar, as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, vinegar and remaining beer. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until well combined and heated through to ensure that the sugar dissolves.

Serve on toasted potato rolls with coleslaw, barbecue sauce, or your topping of preference.  We enjoy apple slices for their bright crunch. Traveling for the weekend? This recipe packs up really well.

Tell us – how do you like to serve pulled pork?