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Alignment for a Vienna sausage (wienerwurst), Vienna

Vienna sausages are a type of sausage traditionally made in the Austrian city of Vienna. They are closely related to Frankfurters, sausages produced in Frankfurt, Germany, and food historians believe that the original Vienna sausage was probably produced by a butcher who had traveled to Frankfurt. Modern Vienna sausages are typically found in canned form in many parts of the world, and they vie with Frankfurters for the claim of being the original hot dog.

Humans have produced sausages for thousands of years. Like all sausages, Vienna sausages are made by grinding up meats and spicing them before stuffing the meat paste into a case. Sausages have traditionally been cured so that they can travel and be stored, although fresh sausages are also available directly from butchers. Various nations have developed their own unique sausage recipes and traditions, ranging from the hot wind-cured sausages of Szechuan Province in China to French blood sausage.

Germany has a long sausage-producing tradition, often with pork, since wild pigs were once abundant in Germany. In the early 1800s, Viennese producers started making Weinerwurst, which translates as “Vienna sausage.” It would appear that these Wieners, as they are affectionately called, were probably inspired by German sausages. They are characterized by a mild flavor and a slender, long shape which makes them ideally suited to use as a street food.

In some European countries pre-cooked and often smoked wieners bought fresh from supermarkets, delicatessens and butcher shops may be called by a name (such as in German or French) which translates in English as vienna sausage. Wieners sold as vienna sausage in Europe have a taste and texture very much like North American hot dogs or frankfurters but are usually longer and somewhat thinner, with a very light, edible casing. European vienna sausage served hot in a long bun with condiments is often called a hot dog, harking not to the wiener itself, but to the long sandwich as a whole.

In North America the term vienna sausage has most often come to mean only smaller and much shorter smoked and canned wieners, rather than hot dogs. North American vienna sausage is made from meat such as chicken, beef, turkey and pork (or blends thereof) finely ground to a paste consistency and mixed with salt and spices, notably mustard, then stuffed into a long casing, sometimes smoked and always thoroughly cooked, after which the casings are removed as with hot dogs. The sausages are then cut into short segments for canning and further cooked. They are also available packed in chili or barbecue sauces.
As with any sausage, the ingredients, preparation, size and taste can vary widely by both manufacturer and region of sale. (Source: Vienna meat & wikipedia & Wien guide)

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