The Power of Goetta (2024)

The Power of Goetta (1)Browse any Cincinnati breakfast menu, and chances are your sides will include choices of bacon, sausage, or goetta. But what is “goetta?” To the uninitiated, it may seem like scrapple or mush. But to a Cincinnati native, it may be a reminder of breakfast at Grandma’s or it may be a crucial element in a favorite omelet.

Goetta gets its origin from the German immigrants who settled in what is now the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. In order to stretch their food dollar, they used the scraps from local butchers and hog slaughterhouses to make a satisfying, inexpensive dish. It reminded some of Knipp or Gruetzwurtz, both poor man’s food common in northern Germany. But our 19th century Cincinnati settlers gave it a name of their own, the very German-sounding “göetta” or “gut-tah” that evolved to the present-day pronunciation “get-tah.”

The Power of Goetta (2)Because goetta is still a very localized dish, we feature it on several of our Cincinnati Food Tours. At Eckerlin Meats at Findlay Market, the butcher explains how he combines pork shoulder and beef chuck with steel-cut oats and the family’s secret seasonings to make some of the best goetta in town. Across the street at Goose & Elder, you can dig into a slice of goetta as we explain the German heritage surrounding Over-the-Rhine. A few blocks away, B&A Street Kitchen serves a Goetta-Up-and-Go wrap.

It recently occurred to me how powerful this one food can be. Sure, goetta with its high fiber and combination of pork and beef is a high-energy dish that can help you start your day. But goetta is powerful in another way, too. It’s the best conversation starter around a table or on a food tour. Serve a slice of goetta and suddenly you start an exchange of stories regarding history, family traditions, and favorite recipes. “My grandma used to make it…” “Have you ever tried…?” “I like mine with a fried egg…” When Cincinnati Food Tours hosts national journalists or bloggers on our tours, it is inevitable that goetta is mentioned in the resulting story. We have discovered that goetta has the power to connect Cincinnati to people and places near and far. A “poor man’s food” is building bridges and shining a spotlight on the Queen City. You can’t get much more powerful than that.The Power of Goetta (3)

For more on the outsiders’ perspective of Cincinnati, we recommend you check out the articles below. For the insider’s perspective, we suggest you join us on The Original Findlay Market Tour or our Signature Over-the-Rhine Tour.

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The Power of Goetta (2024)


What does goetta mean in German? ›

The word goetta comes from the Low German word Götte, meaning groats or coarse grains (or a food made from them).

Why is goetta only in Cincinnati? ›

Goetta gets its origin from the German immigrants who settled in what is now the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. In order to stretch their food dollar, they used the scraps from local butchers and hog slaughterhouses to make a satisfying, inexpensive dish.

What is another name for goetta? ›

The ingredient that really makes it unique, though, is steel-cut oats. “Goetta is a peasant food from Germany. It was not known as goetta in Germany. It's known as grutzwurst over there, or grits, grain, wurst, sausage, grain sausage,” Glier said.

Is goetta good for you? ›

What Is the Nutritional Value of Goetta? It's hard to believe that Glier's Goetta could possibly be good for anything other than your taste buds. But, the fact is that what makes Gliers Goetta savory and unique - whole grain pinhead oats - is what makes it heart-healthy, cholesterol-friendly, and fiber-rich.

Is goetta like scrapple? ›

Scrapple. Technically goetta is a type of scrapple, though scrapple has become associated with Germans who settled in Pennsylvania, while goetta is associated with Germans who settled in Cincinnati. Both dishes were created as a way to use up scraps of meat, especially the offal, and are traditionally pan fried.

What do Germans say when they eat? ›

Etiquette Rules when Dining Out in Germany

You'll find that most Germans begin the meal with a hearty Guten Appetit! Similar to Bon Appetit, it is an elegant way to phrase "Let's eat!". More informally, especially at lunch, you can expect an exclamation of "Mahlzeit!".

Is haggis like goetta? ›

It is traditionally served at Burn's Night Suppers on January 25th because Robert Burns, the bard of Scotland and a fan of the dish, wrote the poem 'Address to a Haggis' calling it 'great chieftan o' the pudding-race! ' It is fairly similar to the Cincinnati speciality goetta but with more liver flavor.

What is scrapple called in Kentucky? ›

"Yeah, goetta. It's kind of like scrapple."

When was goetta invented? ›

1946 in COVINGTON, KENTUCKY. This is a story of generations of meat cutters and sausage makers; a story rooted in the 19th century and still going strong into the 21st.

Does goetta have pork? ›

For the uninitiated, goetta is a usually a mixture of pork shoulder and sometimes beef, which is ground together with onions, spices, and, most notably, pinhead oats. It is formed into a loaf, chilled, sliced, and fried in a skillet.

Why does goetta fall apart? ›

Pro Tips for Cooking Goetta

The first key to helping them keep shape is slicing them thickly (at least 1/2 inch thick). The second key is to avoid using any oil whatsoever. Oil will only make it soggier and fall apart more. Just use a dry non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

What is scrapple called in Germany? ›

As a rural tradition during hog-butchering time, scrapple dates to the sixteenth century in Germany, where it was called panhas, pawnhos, or pan haas, meaning “pan rabbit.” While parts of the pig became sausages or bacon, the rest, “everything but the oink,” was collected for scrapple and for black or blood puddings, ...

Is goetta fully cooked? ›

Traditionally, goetta was eaten for breakfast. Get a hot skillet or pan and fry a piece of goetta. It's a fully cooked product. When cooking it at home, you just want to get it golden brown and crispy on each side.

How to eat goetta? ›

Goetta is a German-inspired sausage-and-grain mixture that—when cooked just right—is crispy, flavorful, and spiced to perfection. In Cincinnati, it's considered part of a great breakfast; fry it up, serve it with eggs and toast, and you'll have a great meal to enjoy.

Is goetta high in carbs? ›

Glier's Goetta Patties (1 patty) contains 16g total carbs, 14g net carbs, 25g fat, 15g protein, and 340 calories.

What does the German word Braunschweiger mean? ›

Braunschweiger (/ˈbɹɑʊ̯nˌʃwɑɪgɚ/, named after Braunschweig, Germany) is a type of sausage. The type of sausage the term refers to varies by region. In the German language, Braunschweiger is the demonym for people from Brunswick (German name Braunschweig), but under German food law refers to a variety of mettwurst.

Does Germany have goetta? ›

Germans back in Germany didn't make goetta. The sausage derivative is an American specialty, specifically out of Cincinnati, Ohio.

How do you say tasty in German slang? ›

The simple word “lecker” is used by most Germans to say that something is delicious, often in response to the question, “Schmeckt's?” … “Ja, lecker!”

What is pork belly called in Germany? ›

Schweinebauch m

Pork belly is eaten smoked in several countries. Schweinebauch wird in einigen Ländern geräuchert verzehrt.

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