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"Bratwurst," in name, is largely available in the US. It's supposedly a German pork sausage, and is generally grilled along with hotdogs and hamburgers. "Brats," as they're called, are a big hit, especially in German-heritage-rich Cincinnati and other Midwestern places.

The American brat bears little resemblance to its namesake. Generally it's too big, and manufactured and spiced to suit American tastes.

The true German bratwurst (the name means "grill sausage") is smaller and spicier than we Americans are used to. Indeed, in the Frankonia region of Germany (the region including and surrounding Nuremberg), the bratwurst is tiny, about the size of American breakfast sausage. Restaurants there sell them by the half dozen with sauerkraut and a basket of bread and rolls (which often includes "Brezel," German pretzels the size of those they sell on the streets of NYC without the salt).

Boar's Head, the high-end deli meat company, sells sausages it calls bratwurst in packs of four. These are large, white sausages, closer to what Germans would call Weisswurst (which is served boiled). Americans would tend to cook these on a grill and eat them in buns. Boar's Head also sells a decent approximation of sauerkraut.

However, to get as German an experience as possible with these goods, do this:

Put the alleged bratwurst (all four pieces) and a bag of sauerkraut (including juice) in a small pot. Toss in two bay leaves, eight whole cloves, and a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Simmer over low heat for at least two hours (the longer the better--if you can, let it cook all day), by which point the aroma of roasting sausage will fill your house and please you if you're into that sort of thing. Eat on a plate (not in a bun!), two sausages and half the kraut per person.

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