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?