Goetta: Recipes for Goetta

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, goetta has Germanic origins, but most people who live in Germany have never heard of it.

Inge, my German daughter-in-law who’s lived in Germany most of her life said she didn’t have a clue as to what goetta was until she moved to Cincinnati.

Yes, it’s definitely a Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky “thing”. A possibility about the name is that it comes from the German word “gote” or “gotte” which means peeled grain. The word became Americanized to mean “goetta”, since the ingredient you cannot do without when making it is pinhead oats (also called oatmeal. And Dorsels is the only brand I can find around here.

I’ve been making my mother-in-law’s recipe goetta for years with pork shoulder. We always fry it with some bacon. Most of you agree that bacon or bacon grease is the way to fry goetta. All goetta freezes well, so make a big batch!

Goetta and eggs in a cast iron skillet.

This is my original recipe from 1994 and since then, when I make it, I add a bit of poultry seasoning and more salt and pepper. But you can do what you like. If you can find a pork shoulder with the bone in, that’s the best. If not, regular pork shoulder will do.

But you know what? No matter how hard I try, it still doesn’t taste as good as my mother-in-law, Clara Heikenfeld’s goetta. I attribute that to the fact that they raised their own hogs, and, of course, it’s that extra touch of love that made hers special.

A reader a few years ago said she added a couple of beef boullion cubes with the water and less salt, and that made it good, too. Don’t even try to make this with any other oats but pinhead (also known as steel cut) – the other oats will make it too mushy.

Goetta Recipe

2-3 pounds pork shoulder
8 cups water
3-4 cups chopped onion
2 large bay leaves
2 ribs celery, chopped with leaves
1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon pepper, or more to taste
Poultry seasoning to taste
3 cups pinhead oats

Cut meat into big pieces and put in pot with water, onions, bay, celery, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer.

Cook, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Meat should be real tender and fall off bone if that’s what you’re using. Strain and chop meat finely. Set meat and veggies aside. Pour liquid back into pan and add pinhead oats. Bring to a boil, then lower to asimmer.

Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for another 2 hours. Mixture will be thick. Add meat,veggies, and seasonings. Simmer another 1 -2 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Line 3-4 loaf pans with aluminum foil and spray each one. Pour goetta into pans, packing down firmly. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. For a creamy, softer goetta, cover pans. Uncovered, you get a crisper crust.

Keeps for a couple weeks in frig, or several months in freezer. To serve, slice goetta and fry with pieces of bacon.

Goetta is a great breakfast treat.

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