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Apr 14, 2009 06:06 PM

What's the difference between Braunschweiger and Liverwurst?

Up until recently, I had always considered them the same. But at Grocery Outlet for the last month, they have had smalll Farmer John's packages of both. Neither seems to be a West Coast favorite, though it was certainly a standard part of my Midwestern upbringing.

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  1. Traditionally, braunschweiger is either smoked or (more often, I find) has bacon incorporated into it to add a smoky note. However, I've seen things that purport to be braunschweiger that are really just liverwurst, so caveat emptor.

    Personally, I like either of 'em on a nice dark rye with some mustard, pickles and onion.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps


      I have to apologize that I doubted your statement about bacon being incorporated into braunschweiger. I bought some recently, and on the front of the package it said Braunschweiger in large type. In small type beneath it said Liverwurst. The top 3 ingredients were Pork liver, pork, and bacon. Well, who knew? I sure didn't. Of course this was just from the grocery store and not a deli brand, but hit the spot, nonetheless..

    2. In my experience, Braunschweiger is soft and spreadable and commonly sold in tubes, whereas Liverwurst is firmer and sliceable, and generally sold that way.

      My experience, BTW, is limited to watching my late father and an ex-spouse eating the damned smelly stuff. >;P

      9 Replies
      1. re: mcsheridan

        Oh my. Memories, memories: My dad, when I was a kid, watching TV with us, working on his machine diagrams at a rickety old drafting table, all the while snacking on braunschweiger, Zesta saltines, colby longhorn cheese, and really badly made Sanka.

        1. re: jmckee

          Did we have the same Dad? ;) Ok, mine didn't do drafting, he was writing freelance articles, but otherwise, the same. :)

          1. re: jmckee

            "badly made Sanka". Isn't that a redundancy?

            1. re: jmckee

              Recently had mild stroke and in hosp they gave me instant sanka. Brought back so many memories I think everyone in my fathers family used it.
              So now my snack is a slice of braunschweiger and a cup of Sanka. Lol

              1. re: jmckee

                Lol. We definately have a lot of similarities too. Except my dad was working on computers on his drafting table! Bahahahaha

              2. re: mcsheridan

                Alas, I long for the liverwurst of my youth before we found out the evils of organ meats.

                I liked sliced liverwurst on rye with unsalted butter and a glass of cold milk.

                1. re: mcsheridan

                  In Germany, liverwurst (leberwurst) is generally spreadable. It's possible that Braunschweiger is just the type of liverwurst made in the city of Braunschweig (Brunswick in English).

                2. Practically speaking, it is the same difference as between bottled apple cider and bottled apple juice, which is to say, nothing.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: EdwardAdams

                    Apple cider and apple juice are absolutely not the same. Apple jiuce has been filtered and often has sweeteners added. The latest issue of Cooks Illistrated that I just got actually had a blurb on why you should NOT substitute juice in a recipe that calls for cider.

                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      Don't believe everything you read in Cook's Illustrated. ("Although the terms 'apple cider' and 'apple juice' may have different meanings throughout the United States, these terms
                      are used interchangeably" by the FDA).

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        This is our good old FDA that allows factories to call liquefied pink slime "beef."
                        Just saying...

                      2. re: bnemes3343

                        Sometimes you find unfiltered pure apple juice - They should just call it cider, though.....

                        1. re: bnemes3343

                          If any juice says its 100 percent juice there is no sweetener added. If there is sugar added it must by law include the word cocktail or drink. When juice companies began to include the words "no sugar added" to their juice labels, it was only to take advantage of the stupid people who fall for tricks in labeling. 100 percent juice HAS NEVER had sugar added

                          1. re: bnemes3343

                            If its clear and yellow, thats juice there fellow. If its yellow and brown, you're in cider town.

                          2. re: EdwardAdams

                            That depends which apple cider you're speaking about.

                            I've found there's two types being sold.

                            The clear apple cider you find in the juice section in sealed clear or colored transparent plastic bottles. I've found that to be no different than apple juice.

                            The cloudy apple cider in textured translucent 1/2 and 1 gallon milk jugs in the refrigerated or produce sections. It's unfiltered and what I'd consider to be real cider.

                            1. re: EdwardAdams

                              Apple juice is as it says apple juice. Cider is fermented apple juice to make an alcoholic drink you Americans are really quite funny

                              1. re: CiderDrinker

                                Apple juice is indeed apple juice.

                                Apple cider is also apple juice - just unfiltered.

                                HARD apple cider is alcoholic.

                                You...whatever you are...are funny.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  In North America what you say is true, in Europe what CiderDrinker says is true.

                              2. re: EdwardAdams

                                Really the biggest difference is the acidity, because cider is just before vinegar, if you want to drink one or the other, the unpasteurized cider is the best for your system, not apple juice. And I would never interchange them in a recipe, it does not work the same nor does it taste the same, especially if the recipe calls for baking soda.

                              3. Perhaps I have misunderstood, but I had believed braunschweiger to be a pork liver product (typically smoked) - sort of a subcategory of liverwurst. "Liverwurst" being a term applied to a variety of liver based products, including my personal favorite, coursely-ground calves' liverwurst. (Now, I'm hungry!)

                                36 Replies
                                1. re: MGZ

                                  Both liverwurst and braunschweiger are pork liver sausage, but the braunschweiger is smoked (don't think bacon is added, though.) I never noticed them to be smelly, like mcsheridan said, but my family does! Now my dad snacked on pickled herrings and I thought those smelled terrible!

                                  1. re: danhole

                                    First, here's an older thread:


                                    Second, liverwurst made from calves' liver (veal) is real and delicious. Try it!


                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      I would add that a German deli our lunch crowd frequented in Santa Clara had four or five different liverwursts, including goose liver with pistachios. Oh my oh my...

                                      Oscar Mayer braunschweiger was a staple in our family. When I was about nine I discovered my alltime favorite sandwich, braunschweiger with Swiss cheese and hardboiled egg, plus plenty of mayonnaise. Curled my little toes right up, it did.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        You are the very first person I've ever known who admitted to loving braunschweiger wtih mayonnaise. Thank you. I'm stepping out of the closet now. I'll take your sandwich minus the egg but adding some red onion. With mayo please!

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Well if you substituted the onion for mustard - but the mayo has to stay. And a grind of pepper on top. (Likely pepper + onion = mustard somehow.) It's especially good on toasted rye. Preferably the dark, thin-sliced rye which gets crunchy when toasted.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              I usually eat just the braunschweiger or liverwurst without any condiments on a toasted English Muffin so I can savor the flavor of the meat.

                                              If I put anything on it, it's mustard. I like a nice coarse Dijon or one of imported Polish mustard types I find in the local food stores. I don't do it often.

                                              A lot of the time when I pick up the Schaller & Weber tubes, it never makes it home. I end up popping the top and twisting the other end make the meat extrude out of the tube, I refer to it as a porksicle. ;-)

                                              1. re: Wolfsbane

                                                "A lot of the time when I pick up the Schaller & Weber tubes, it never makes it home. I end up popping the top and twisting the other end make the meat extrude out of the tube, I refer to it as a porksicle. ;-)"

                                                I love it!

                                              2. re: Catskillgirl

                                                I'll jump on this bandwagon! Braunschweiger, mayo, swiss (or muenster/havarti/gouda) on a good hearty bread!

                                                Alas, now that I am in Houston, away from the good jewish and german delis that I knew as a child living up north, the only liverwursts around are the plain old pork. Thanks for jogging the memory. I guess I need to start hunting some of the specialty shops in town. Meanwhile I still have Oscar Mayer!

                                                1. re: danhole

                                                  Try Usingers website from Milwaukee... you will never eat store bought sausage again... shipping can be a little high, so order some brats and other items at the same time for the Holiday season... I use Usingers to send Christmas packages to family every year...

                                                2. re: Catskillgirl

                                                  I bet I still win...

                                                  My brother turned me on to braunschweiger, mayo, and peanut butter. :)

                                                  1. re: Morganna

                                                    OMG! You too? I thought I was the only one....mmmmm...snouts, mayo & peanut butter....[insert more Homer Simpson drooling noises...] Makes me wanna' go out & make a sandwich right now! :D

                                                  2. re: Catskillgirl

                                                    "You are the very first person I've ever known who admitted to loving braunschweiger wtih mayonnaise."

                                                    The mayonnaise is for the sake of the egg. I didn't like plain HB eggs when I was a kid, but egg salad and devilled eggs were fine. The other part is that any meat sandwich in our family was required to have mayonnaise, butter and mustard, the proportions varied according to the contents.

                                                    And I'll now take your red onion AND the egg, thanks. I just didn't like raw onion back then.

                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      Schaller & Weber Gold Medal Liverwurst was my school years lunch nearly every day. After moving to New England, I hadn't had it for decades until I espied it in the gourmet cheese section of the newly-opened Roche Bros. supermarket. I startled the clerk with my shrieking, and grabbed one of each variety. They now call it liver PATE, but it's the same thing. I particularly like the one which also contains goose liver, but I'll gladly take any of them - they freeze well and are so rich that you don't use much per sandwich, which should also contain: chive cream cheese, honey dijon mustard, hard-cooked egg, and raw onion, on marble rye.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        You can also order different kinds from Karl Ehmer Stores. All their liverwursts are delicious.

                                                        1. re: RichK

                                                          When I grew up on Long Island in the 50's, there was a Yankees/Red Sox rivalry between devotees of Karl Ehmer and Schaller&Weber. Once I moved to New England I realized what an embarrassment of riches that was!

                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                          Yeah. If you don't consider using the whole tube very much.

                                                        3. re: Will Owen

                                                          I love Braunschweiger with MAYO (never mustard) and crispy lettuce on any bread.

                                                          1. re: BlueHorizon

                                                            I know this thread is old, but as a devotee of both liverwurst and braunschweiger I had to put my two cents in. There is a german deli near me that imports a braunschweiger made with veal. It is so amazing! As usual on brown bread with a little german mustard and thinly sliced red onion. Yummy!!

                                                        4. re: Catskillgirl

                                                          OMG... I have never had braunschwieger without mayo. I just came back from the market with some and thought the same thing... what IS the difference between liverwurst and braunschweiger? My dad always ate braunshweiger (and called it liverwurst) on white bread with mayo. Mmmmm. I just checked out the Farmer John website to see what the difference is and it's minimal but notable. Basically liverwurst has some different spices. But it also has corn syrup and PORK SNOUTS! Both have pork, both have pork liver, both have bacon but liverwurst has PORK SNOUTS! I shouldn't have read it.

                                                          1. re: dbandkitty

                                                            Mmmm, pork snouts. [Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here.]

                                                            1. re: dbandkitty

                                                              Went to a restaurant in Paris last week called Ribouldingue where on the menu was groin de cochon and muette de cochon. The former is pig snout sliced horizontally and the latter is the nose sliced vertically. What would Homer say now. Still remember when a friend who owned a sausage factory advised me not to ask what goes in salami, l still asked and the answer is beef lips. My response was that doesn;t seem to bad until he said there are three kinds of lips. That answer has haunted me for a long, long time.

                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                The numbers of lips lead to various quips about where the meat grind really comes from.

                                                                But then, who's in know'ses, 'bout the number of noses, to know what those schnoz give to grind?

                                                                If there's gristle and crunch, and it's pretty good munch, I'll repurchase that maker's emulsion.. But a lack of good grist means the target was missed, and they need help when making that sausage.

                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                  What poetry! I was in the archives, looking for something to do with a hunk of liverwurst when friends come for wine tomorrow. FoodFuser cracked me up!
                                                                  Now, if someone has an idea how to serve this liverwurst with crackers and make it appealing, let me know. And: Thank you FoodFuser!

                                                                  1. re: MazDee

                                                                    Yes, MazDee, you have just discovered why FoodFuser is a National Treasure here in the Republic of Chowhound. The finest poet, for sure, with sharp observations.

                                                              2. re: dbandkitty

                                                                I loves SNOUT! liverwurst, scrapple, SOUSE!

                                                                1. re: dbandkitty

                                                                  Liverwurst has head cheese that is ground instead of put into a tureen along with the pork liver and some white fat.

                                                                2. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                  I never knew that braunschweiger was a smoked sausage, but love both it and liverwurst. I had liverwurst as a kid, with mayo (that is a no-no?) on wheat bread I think, as close to brown as I got back then.

                                                                  Now, when I dare, I buy a half pound of liverwurst in a local Polish pork store, which has the best of all kinds sausages, and buy their brown bread, and o/d on liverwurst with mayo and red onion on brown bread.


                                                                  Swiss cheese, huh? Can I substitute Beemster Vlaskaas? Yum.

                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                      On Willett Ave. in Portchester, NY. It's called The Pork Store.

                                                                      1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                        Thanks! I am passing this along to my DH who likes nothing better than a good Polish pork store!

                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                    I love it with mayo (extra mayo), mustard, onions or pickles, maybe even both, touch of lettuce too. Oh yummy! Everyone thinks I'm crazy to eat that.

                                                                    1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                      i don't think you're crazy at all. can i come over for lunch? (um, that is...if you have some liverwurst that's not six months old! ;-).

                                                                    2. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                      *raises hand*

                                                                      I agree, mayo is a must.

                                                            2. Any B'weiger/L'wurst sandwich can be improved with steaming the pate before building the sandwich.

                                                              Just take a wet towel or sponge, nuke for 2 minutes to build up steam in the microwave. Slice your sweet onions, and lay the sliced Braunschweiger on the onion. Place on saucer and insert into steamy microwave at low/defrost. The fat becomes softer.

                                                              Construct sandwich, and reinsert into steamy MW and repeat, just to give it a hint of softness. Pre-steaming the wet towel is more important than microwaving the sandwich. Don't overdo it.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                That is a good hint. I have microwaved the B'weiger/L'wurst on a lo power before and went too far. Maybe the wet towel will make a difference. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                  Growing up, "Dad cooks tonight" meant an 8 ounce tube of Oscar Meyer Braunschweiger, flanked by Saltine crackers and canned anchovies rolled around capers. I fondly remember those sodium nights.

                                                                  Then in early adulthood I discovered deli braunschweiger. They would place the sliced pate on a soft roll, then put it into a stainless steel "grill" that had a pump handle to inject several bursts of pressurized steam.

                                                                  The microwave wet steam is just an attempt to recreate that setup.

                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                    When I was a kid in Chicago my dad would bring home the good stuff from the deli and we would go to town! Good bread, lots of cheese, fresh braunschweiger. I remember I always tried to eat as much as he did, but never could. Of course I was only 10, and he could eat like a horse. Oh and he loved his anchovies, sardines and herrings. I never got into those, but thinking I should just to honor his memory!