Cook the Book: Currywurst

Cook the Book: Currywurst

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

There's something so weird and wonderful about the combination of grilled sausages and curry-spiked ketchup that is German Currywurst. It's one of those dishes that has intrigued me since I first heard about it. Since I have no plans to travel to Berlin anytime soon, I decided it was time to experience currywurst for myself, with the help of this recipe from Planet Barbecue! by Steven Raichlen.

The wurst part of this dish is really up to you—any mild beef, pork or veal links will do. The sausage is really just a vehicle for the curry sauce, which lived up to all the hopes I had for it. The sauce begins with sauteed onions and mustard seeds, followed by a full cup of ketchup and a healthy dose of curry powder, nutmeg, anise seeds, and black pepper. By cooking the ketchup down, the tomatoey flavors caramelize and deepen, leaving you with a sauce that could almost be served as a chutney.

After grilling and slicing the bratwurst, you just slather the sauce on the sausage coins. The currywurst was a hearty plate of food best enjoyed after a few beers. It was the kind of plate I found myself going back to again and again, and enjoying way more than I'd care to admit. If the currywursts served at authentic German takeaways are as good as Raichlen's recipe then I am officially a fan.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Planet Barbecue! to give away this week.

  • Yield:4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup very finely minced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz
  • 4 weisswurst or other cooked or uncooked white veal sausages (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Toothpicks, for serving


  1. 1.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seeds and cook until the onion just begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, pepper, nutmeg, and aniseed and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and let the sauce simmer gently until thick and richly flavored, 3 to 5 minutes. The curried tomato sauce can be made several days ahead of time but it should be rewarmed before serving.

  2. 2.

    Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. If you are using uncooked sausage, leave one-third of the grill bare for a safety zone.

  3. 3.

    When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the sausages on the hot grate about 1 inch apart. Grill the sausages until they are crusty and brown on all sides, and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side for cooked sausage; 8 to 10 minutes per side for uncooked sausage. In the event of a flare-up, move the sausage to the safety zone.

  4. 4.

    Transfer the grilled sausages to a cutting board. Cut each sausage crosswise into  -inch-thick slices. Mound the sausage slices in shallow bowls, one sausage per person, and spoon the curried tomato sauce on top. Serve with toothpicks.