Gotta Get Some Goetta!


If you don’t know what goetta is, you probably haven’t been to Cincinnati. Even a lot of Cincinnatians don’t know exactly. They’ve likely heard of it though, even if they haven’t tried it.

So what is goetta? It’s similar to Pennsylvania Scrapple, if that helps. It probably doesn’t. It’s a Germanic food that seems to be indigenous to the Cincinnati area where the Germans settled. Cincinnati was largely a German population of sausage makers and beer brewers and was even nicknamed Porkopolis at one time. So it should come as no surprise that goetta is a pork product — a delicious pork product that you should experience when you’re in our Queen City.

There are two main goetta producers these days in Cincinnati and they both feature their products at Goetta Festivals in the summer. There you can try all sort of dishes made with this scrumptious mix of sausage, spices and steel-cut oats. It gets fried up and crumbles as you cut it. Trust me — it’s fantastic! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


At this summer’s GoettaFest, I started with the basics: goetta balls. I didn’t need a lot of other flavors right off the bat. I wanted to taste some goetta and I got my goetta fix popping a couple of goetta balls in my mouth. SO GOOD!!!


As the day progressed, I did try goetta ruebens and goetta chili. When you love goetta like I do, it tastes good in any form, though my daughter’s choice of goetta dish wasn’t one that appealed to me. She got a goetta breakfast sandwich:  a goetta patty, bacon, and melted cheese smashed between two Kripsy Kreme donuts. Apparently, it was good, but I like my heart attacks unadorned. I don’t need the glazed donuts. I want the meat!


There are plenty of festivities throughout the day at GoettaFest as well. Live bands, good German beer, log rolling, games, and even a tent set up with the history of goetta. But the truth is, we’re really there for one thing: to eat goetta until we can’t eat any more. And then, we hit the vending machine where you can buy goetta to take home.


Goetta may be mostly a Cincinnati tradition, but if you’re in the area, you’ve gotta try some. You’ll find goetta on many local restaurant menus, whether it’s as a pizza topping, a breakfast dish, or a poutine  ingredient. And then you’ll want more! You probably won’t find a vending machine nearby, but you can find goetta at all the Cincinnati groceries and butchers.

Because in Cincinnati we know — you gotta get some goetta!!

Have you had goetta?


20 responses to “Gotta Get Some Goetta!

  1. I didn’t try goetta until I had been here for several years, haha, but it’s pretty tasty! Mostly I’ve had it on sandwiches or in skillet scrambles.

  2. One food item gets an ENTIRE festival surrounding it? That is so crazy! It does look good though. My roommate just made Spatzel for me and it is now my favorite meal

  3. Goetta sounds a lot better than Skyline Chili. Ed insisted that we had Skyline after visiting Kings Island. We had 7-way (which obviously is better than 5-way and why the heck not after you commit to a 3-way). The beans on top of the Chili Spaghetti with a hint of chocolate made the car ride back to the family farm extra. um. spicy.

  4. We have so much weird local cuisine in the Midwest, don’t we?? I’d never heard of Goetta before, but I’m not surprised it’s from Cincinnati. I went to college in Ohio and we had Cincinnati chili alllll the time! I’d definitely give Goetta a shot.

  5. I have been to Cincinnati, but it was a long time ago and you’re right…I’ve never heard of goetta or Pennsylvania Scrapple either! I also didn’t know that Cincinnati had a large German population, how cool! I would tend to go with your choices of things like goetta balls and chili and not usually so much the breakfast sandwich because I’m not a breakfast person really. But then I saw the Krispy Kreme donuts and the sweet and savory coming together and well, yes please! I’m very intrigued now and must try goetta. Just one question, is that pronounced “get-ta” or “got-ta” or “go-ta”?

    • It’s ‘get-ta.’ Rhymes with feta. If I had a sweet tooth, I’d be all for the sweet & savory combination. That’s probably why my daughter ordered that. I much prefer savory, and nothing but savory. 😉 I eat my goetta plain.

  6. Haha I learned something new today! I haven’t been to that part of USA so I was clueless!! But understanding the region’s history and population, it all makes sense to me now. Goetta balls sound yummy! We might never make it to Oktoberfest, but we certainly can plan a try to GoettaFest!!

  7. I won’t be trying Gotta anytime soon (vegan) BUT I have been wanting to get to Cincinnati for forever. Actually, I’ve been wanting to get to all 3 Big C’s in Ohio – Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. It’s not even that far from me but the list is never-ending, ya know?!

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