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Those who've seen the current Saveur 100 issue may have noticed item #32, a German-style breakfast sausage called goetta that's popular in Cincinnati and unknown anywhere else in America. I love American regionalism and hadn't heard of this food, so I ordered some from the company that makes it, and *man* is it good! It comes in a log, which you can slice into patties and then skillet-fry. It's pork-based (a beef version is also available), with a light spiciness and -- this is the great part -- lots of oats mixed in with the ground meat.

The oats add a nicely toothsome heartiness that's unlike any sausage I've eaten before -- very, very nice. Has anyone else tried it? Any Cincinnati folks wanna chime in?

Link to the manufacturer provided below.

-- Paul

Link: http://www.goetta.com

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  1. To my way of thinking, goetta is Cincinnati's very best regional food. It's very localized to the greater Cincinnati/N. Kentucky area. Several companies make it, but I like Glier's (the website mentioned) the best. Cincinnati is heavily Germanic, but people from other such areas (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee) seem to have no knowledge of it, although everyone I've served it to LOVES it. There's a lite version available, but IMHO that's like eating reduced calorie creme brulee! If you can find pinhead oats in your market, there's a recipe for homemade goetta on the box. If pinhead oats are a a regional item also, I'll try to get a brandname (I think it's Dorsels's) address, website if anyone wants to get that carried away. But I do second the recommendation...goetta is a wonderful treat!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sudiepav

      According to this website, "pinhead oats" = steel-cut oats.

      Link: http://www.foodsubs.com/GrainOats.html

    2. I never encountered "goetta" while living (and chowing) in Germany. Sounds like a rough equivalent of the Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sharuf

        It is exactly scrapple, except with oatmeal instead of cornmeal. Back when the only "oatmeal" I knew about was those rolled oats, I found the idea of goetta - AND haggis - to be disgusting...but now that I've discovered steel-cut oats (which I like to eat with butter, salt and pepper instead of milk and sugar), it seems to be something I'd really like.

        1. re: Will Owen

          Goetta or german grits as I was raised to know them as are delicious. I am now 49 and live in Florida. I lived in Indy for 29 years. We use to go to Oldenburg IN, a little German town to buy our grits. They use to make them only certain times of the year. Now they make them all year around. I am going home in two weeks and I guarantee I will make a trip to buy some. They are delicious and NO they are not like scrapple at all. I have bought that down here and that is horrible.

          1. re: gjsunshine

            Scrapple can be very good. I've only had homemade.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I only had it once. My ex saw it in the grocery store and bought it for me. I did not like the taste of it. I guess I was expecting the taste of my ole grits. I will have to try it again sometime, but not until I get my grits in 2 weeks!

        2. re: Sharuf

          I never saw goetta either when I lived in Germany. I deliberately kept an eye out for it, too, being from Cincinnati. German cuisine is pretty regional, though. It could easily be a dish that comes from a tiny town tucked away in the Alps. I couldn't figure out how Skyline was Greek until a three way (more or less) was served to us in Corfu.

        3. Goetta is usually served as a side for breakfast with eggs and potatoes. I'm from Cincinnati originally, and at local places, you almost always get a choice of bacon, sausage, or goetta for your meat. (We love our pork in Cincinnati aka Porkopolis!) I've only seen it served in slabs (2" x 6") and not in patties. I'm guessing that's because it's really easy to make yourself. I don't have the recipe handy, but could probably dig one up if anyone's interested.

          I'm not a huge fan of goetta, but I don't like chili on my spaghetti either, so what do I know?!!?


          1. hey glad you discovered goetta. i am a big breakfast fan and i love the stuff. as the other posters said, yes it is extremely limited to the cinci area. evryone there knows it. yet my wife is from dayton nearby and never heard of it, nor had her parents so go figure. i'm from cleveland and i'll tell you nooo-body up there has heard of it. i think it's a germanic heritage inspired local food and that immigration is older and mostly limited to southern & central ohio. i have and do spend time in the cinci area on occasion visiting inlaws of course and i always try to have some goetta and some cinci-style chili. dayton/cleveland have a lot of chowhoundy stuff too so i usually come home to new york after a visit a few pounds heavier.

            1. Am somewhat interested in seeing the response to a post on a 3.5 year-old thread...

              Just came from first trip to Cincinnatti. Went to Sunday breakfast at Echo, in Hyde Park and tried goetta. Not bad, IMO, but not something I'll go out of my way to eat again.

              I'd describe it best as "a cross between corned beef hash and haggis."

              1 Reply
              1. re: dude

                Goetta or german grits as I call them are wonderful. I was raised eating them but it was a treat to get them since they were only made parts of the year. I eat them for any meal I possibly can. I never get tired of them!

              2. There are a ton of recipes online for this stuff. Everyone I've seen says it's got pork and beef in it.
                It's great stuff. I had it for the first time this summer and loved it. I haven't made any yet but the key word is YET.


                1. Several things:

                  1) Goetta consists of pin oats and pork. It was generally made during the winter months using the by-products of the butchering process. I have never seen beef in it.

                  2) It is similar to scrapple or in Northern Ohio, panhaus which combines the pork with CORNMEAL instead of the oats.

                  3) When you are making it (usually at the same time that you are rendering the lard from the hog), the meat and pin oat mixture is poured into a loaf pan and refrigerated. After everything congeals (think mush), the loaf is sliced and the goetta is generally grilled.

                  4) Some people like very thin slices grilled until crunchy. Others like a thicker slice.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jlawrence01

                    Don't confuse 'panhaus' with 'scrapple'.
                    In my 1897 German-language cookbook (printed in Germany) the recipe for 'panhaus' has it being made with quality cuts of beef that are first boiled , then combined in a thick mush made from buckwheat and the beef broth. The recipe specifically cautions not to replace the buckwheat with any type of wheat flour. There is no mention whatsoever about replacing the buckwheat with cornmeal. The recipe also notes that good cuts of pork may be used instead of beef.

                    1. re: K. Kellogg

                      The practices of Germany and Northern Ohio are likely to have been even more different in 1897 than they are today. And this would not be the first time that someone finding herself in a different land would use the materials at hand to approximate a remembered food, and call it by the name of the original. For instance, Brunswick stew made here in California will almost certainly have no squirrels in it at all...

                  2. Yes we use to get it during the winter months only. My aunt lived in Cedar Grove, IN and she would go to Oldenburg to get it. NO BEEF in it that I can remember, Pork, spices, and PinOats. I found a recipe online for the crock pot and also another one that takes 3 hours to cook. I am going to try it but I am not going to use beef or sausage, I am going to use only ground pork (if I can find it). Also I am still not sure where to get the Pin Oats. I like it fried like corned beef hash, no slices for me, give me the whole pan. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gjsunshine

                      Oldenburg, IN is a heavily German part of Indiana settled by German Catholics from Bavaria.

                      My great grandparents farm was slightly down the road in Sunman, IN.

                      1. Gliers is good...at least their spicy version is..but I have tasted many homemade versions that were better. The commercial stuff TENDS to be a little bland...but like with Pizza, even when its bad its good. Hoffman's always made the best and had a bigger bread size loaf great for making sandwiches. Sadly I don't think they are around any more. I stick with the homemade stuff for the most part. Goetta for breakfast, Skyline chili for lunch, and a brat and beer for dinner in Zinzinnati. That's a good day.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: irishchappy12

                          Irish, I have to agree with nearly everything you said save all commercial varieties being bland...however, I too, agree that homemade is the way to go whenever possible.

                          I have lived my entire life in Cincinnati and grew up with many a fond memory of both Gliers and of my Austrian grandmother's homemade version and grandma's version won hands down. I've never tasted anything else quite like it...in fact it was nothing short of heavenly.

                          Fortunately, my grandmother was one of a kind. At 15 she immigrated, alone, to America, w/o knowing a word of English, mind you, and lived to be 100. Unfortunately she was old school all the way and cooked from scratch eschewing recipes. I do recall that she occasionally referred to goetta also as "hafer grits" (hafer translates from German as "oats').

                          As a child, for some reason, goetta and mush almost always appeared paired on our menu for breakfast, so much so that it felt strange to have one w/o the other. While goetta is a breakfast mainstay for many families in Cincinnati, these days my family probably enjoys it more often for dinner since it keeps so long and is handy for a quick, uncomplicated meal after a stressful day.

                          As to the 'proper' accompanying condiment in our household? Syrup for breakfast and ketchup for dinner, of course;)

                        2. I am from Iowa originally and my father grew up with German "gritz loaf" My brother and I both love it and when I go back dad has 5 to 10 one pound packs for me to take back to LA. The reciepes may differ in the ingredients and the texture as we have had a dryer loaf that didn't cook as well. What we get and how we prepare it is a little different too. Still fried in pan or electric skillet, as my dad uses, we break it up and try to get it thin and fry it crispy (I tend to flip and press to get nice crispy flat pieces) On the Meat Markets label it reads: Gritz Loaf ingredients: pork, water, beef, beef hearts, oatmeal, salt, spices. I see why my aunt doesn't like it. I had a loaf this morning and thought I would look for it again this time I found this forum and then this recipe seems to be very similar it's on page nine called German Grits in the following link if it posts http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/... or pdf file http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/... thanks CG in LA

                          1. I was able to pull it out of pdf file....
                            GERMAN GRITS
                            1 beef heart
                            1 beef tongue
                            5 pounds neck bones or short ribs
                            1 large onion (chopped)
                            2 cloves garlic (chopped)
                            1 teaspoon salt
                            ½ teaspoon black pepper
                            ¼ teaspoon mustard seed
                            2 cups pearled barley (1 pound)
                            Old-fashioned oatmeal
                            Cook heart and tongue in one kettle. Cook neck
                            bones in another kettle. Add enough water to
                            cover meat and simmer until tender (2 to 3 hours).
                            Skim off any extra fat from broth. Remove meat
                            from broth, remove meat from bones and skin
                            tongue. Grind meat through fine plate. To each
                            kettle of broth add the spices and herbs and
                            simmer for 1 hour. Strain broth and add pearled
                            barley. Simmer until barley becomes plump. Mix in
                            cooked ground meat. Add enough old-fashioned
                            oatmeal to soak up excess broth. Season to taste
                            with salt and pepper. NOTE: If a beefier taste is
                            desired, add beef bouillon cubes to broth, form
                            grits into patties and fry.

                            Thanks CGinLA