Goetta is a meat-and-grain sausage or mush of German inspiration that is popular in the greater Cincinnati area. It is primarily composed of ground meat (pork, or pork and beef), pin-head oats and spices. Pronounced gétt-aa, ged-da or get-uh in Americanized pronunciation, and gutta in the Low German pronunciation, this dish probably originated with German settlers from the northwestern regions of Oldenburg, Hannover, and Westphalia who emigrated to the Cincinnati and Dayton area in the 19th century. The word “Goetta” comes from the Low German word grötte. North of Cincinnati, specifically in the region surrounding Darke, Mercer, Shelby, and Auglaize counties, goetta is often known by the term “grits”, not to be confused with hominy grits. This usage of the word “grits” stems from the High German word “grütze,” which is an equivalent of the Low German grötte.
Goetta was originally a peasant dish, meant to stretch out servings of meat over several meals to conserve money.
Glier’s Goetta, the largest commercial producer of goetta, produces more than 1,000,000 lb (450 metric tons) annually, around 99 percent of which is consumed locally in Greater Cincinnati.
Goetta - Cincinnati German-American Breakfast Sausage
- 450 g beef mince
- 450 g pork mince or pork sausage
- 8 cups water
- 3 cups pinhead or steel cut oats
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 - 4 bay leaves, optional
- 3 teaspoons salt
- pinch of pepper
- In a large pot bring to boil the oats, salt and pepper, and the water. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- Add the meat, onions and spices, cover and cook for another hour, stirring every so often.
- Take about ¼ cup and place it in a dish in the fridge to cool to see if it sets firm. If not then cook another 30 minutes and check again.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and let it cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, turn out the loaf and slice. Fry until browned in a bit of butter or oil.
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Glier’s markets goetta as the “German Breakfast Sausage,” which may create the impression that it is something commonly eaten for breakfast in Germany. In fact, the vast majority of Germans have never heard of goetta. However, a similar product known as Knipp can be found in the present day in Bremen and surrounding areas. This can be spread onto bread or pan fried like goetta. It is also often served with apple sauce, paralleling the apple butter which is served alongside goetta. Although in modern times in most parts of Germany, eating warm sausage for breakfast or a hot breakfast in general is not common, historically Knipp was eaten for breakfast, often in the winter.