In times of scarcity, meat becomes a rarity. Like the creative cooks behind Mississippi’s slugburger, the German immigrants who fashioned goetta (“get-uh”) were making the most of precious resources.
Germans back in Germany didn’t make goetta. The sausage derivative is an American specialty, specifically out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Families stretched their limited supply of meat by supplementing leftover animal scraps with steel-cut oats, which yielded a crispy exterior and a mushy middle to a well-cooked slice. Home cooks spiced the beef and/or pork batter, then molded it into a loaf. By the time the family sat down to sliced, fried, and plated goetta, the breakfast food was an unrecognizable version of whatever parts it was fashioned from.
Beginning in the late 1940s, families no longer had to fashion their own goetta—a factory opened that brought tubes to the masses. Today, Cincinnati locals use goetta in place of sausage, served with eggs and toast, or as a pizza topping. They also put it between bread, or use it in place of bread, topped with eggs. Goetta goes out much the way it comes into the world: made using whatever, then used to make whatever. To experience a full spread of goetta’s edible potential, check out Cincinnati’s annual summertime festival that honors the city staple.
Where to Try It
This Neapolitan pizza joint serves pies topped with goetta.