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Just Askin': Cincinnatians eat a lot of goetta. Are we really the only ones?

By Erin Couch, Cincinnati Enquirer,


The Enquirer's Just Askin' series aims to answer the questions that no one seems to have an answer for, not even Google.

Love it or hate it, a certain sausage-and-oat delicacy arguably clocks in at No. 2 for Cincinnati's most popular foods.

German immigrants who settled in Southwest Ohio in the 19th century are credited with the creation of goetta. Peasants living in northwest Germany were subject to a feudal system and only had scrap meat options. Couple that with whatever grains and spices were laying around, and our regionally famous meat patty was born.

The birthplace of goetta? This 146-year-old butcher shop has quite the case

Those of us who live in the goetta mecca also know it's an acquired taste. Not everyone around here likes it, and most nonlocals have never even heard of it.

Question: Is goetta only eaten in Cincinnati?

Answer: Yes and no.

Goetta as Cincinnatians know it – a mixture of beef and pork, onion, bayleaf, pinhead oats and spices – is specific to our region, according to Dann Woellert , author of "Cincinnati Goetta: A Delectable History." Germans brought over a recipe for grün wurst, which contained ground meat and grains like barley or buckwheat.

There are forms of goetta in Ohio's heavily concentrated German towns: Toledo, Dayton and Minster all have versions with varying ingredients. Minster's grist omits onions, for example. Pennsylvanians ate a sausage called scrapple which contains organ meat.

Though in Cincinnati, a robust meatpacking industry at the time meant high quality cuts of pork and beef were available. With over 100 meatpackers housed in Camp Washington at the time, Porkopolis also cemented its place as the goetta mecca.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and Camp Washington has one company hanging on to the neighborhood's meatpacking history. Queen City Sausage , who offers sausage made in authentic German style.

Have questions about Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky? Send them to .

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Just Askin': Cincinnatians eat a lot of goetta. Are we really the only ones?

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