Medieval Venison Sausage from 1533

Source: Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin (c. 1553)

(Apparently one of the first cookbooks published by a woman. )

Weltt jr gútt prattwirst machen

So nempt 4 pfúnd schweinis vnnd 4 pfúnd rinderis, das last klainhacken, nempt darnach 2 pfúnd speck darúnder vnnd hackts anainander vnnd vngeferlich 3 seidlen wasser giest daran, thiet aúch saltz, pfeffer daran, wie jrs geren est, oder wan jr geren kreúter darin megt haben/ múgt jr nemen ain wenig ain salua vnnd ain wenig maseron, so habt jr gút brattwirst/.

“If you would make good bratwurst”If you would make good bratwurst

Take four pounds of pork and four pounds of beef and chop it finely. After that mix with it two pounds of bacon and chop it together and pour approximately one quart of water on it. Also add salt and pepper thereto, however you like to eat it, or if you would like to have some good herbs, you could take some sage and some marjoram, then you have good bratwurst.”

10OCT23 – Here are my notes and addendums:

So she basically says 8 parts meat, equal pork and beef, and 2 parts fat. Which is in the traditional 20-30% fat range needed for good sausage. So that checks out. Then she adds a little water which is normal to help the bind of the sausage, so that checks. Salt, pepper, yep, that is all normal. Sage and marjoram, that checks but she doesn’t give the ratio on any of this. Going off of my experience 1.5%-2.5% is appropriate for salt content for modern taste pallets. 1.8-2.0% is more my preference. However, I suspect it was made with much higher salt content. In history, I’ve seen roman recipe as high at 10%! This is quite salty and unpalatable, but it would preserve and would likely be shelf stable and hung all year at room temp. However, it would have to be soaked to be used, or added to a large pot of stew and the salt would diffuse.

But I ran with 2% salt and no curing salt #1 (Prague powder #1/Sodium nitrate) to stay true as possible. This prevented me from smoking it due to food safety. I split it 50/50 pork and venison and added in pork fat to balance out the venison. She doesn’t mention the requirement to kneed the mince to make it tacky for a good bind, but you must do that. Kneed until it is sticky that a small ball of mince in your hand clings to your glove.

Substitute Venison for beef. Use a 25% fat ratio, 2.0% salt, 0.25% pepper, 0.25% Sage, 0.25% marjoram. Optional- You must use 0.25% Cure #1 if you are going to smoke it because of anaerobic conditions induces risk of botulism.

I’ve made 9 types of sausage, and I have to say this is a good sausage! I will recommend it. Simple – just salt, pepper, marjoram, sage. It has passed the test of time, 5 centuries!