All About Goetta

Don Deimling made a delicious version and he cooked his in one of those free-standing electric roasters. I start mine on top of the stove and finish in a slow cooker, while others use the oven or crockpot exclusively.
Terry Balllman’s generational recipe has its origins at the stockyards in Cincinnati.
June Cross’ includes beef shank and marrow bone. The Hoerst family uses ground beef and ground pork. Others add a dash of cloves. Reader Jon Peters uses the recipe and pot handed down from his father-in-law. Jim Reinhart’s crockpot goetta is a reader fave.
Get where I’m going here? About the only common denominator is pinhead, also called steel cut oats. We always used the 2 pound bag of Dorsel’s pinhead oats. I couldn’t find that at the grocery. (An update – a reader told me Kroger here in Cinti now has some available in the baking aisle).
I substituted Quaker steel cut oats, but the container was shy of 2 pounds. Yet the recipe turned out fine. You can use Irish steel cut oats. Don’t use quick cooking pinhead oats.
My German in-laws made stove top goetta with freshly slaughtered pork shoulder/butt.
My sister-in-law, Claire and I use a slow cooker for part of the process.

Everyone who makes it has their own “special” recipe and way to cook it.

Charlene Mecklenburg shares this interesting information about goetta:

“My husband and I lived in Germany two different times.  We lived in both the Munich area and near Bonn.  We also could never find Goetta or any German who knew what we were talking about.
Then while living in Belgium we traveled to northern Germany to the city of Bremen. We had dinner with some German acquaintances and asked them about Goetta.  We were visiting during the winter and were told that we were there at the right time. They said there was a local dish that sounded similar to the ingredients I listed for Goetta, that it was a favorite in the winter months and only made then.  We went to a restaurant that was serving this dish.  It was named “Kohl and Pinkle”.  The Kohl was red cabbage, the Pinkle was a sausage.  Inside the sausage was what we know as Goetta.  It tasted exactly like my German Grandmother’s Goetta back here in Cincinnati.  The Kohl and Pinkle were served with fried potatoes, the same way my Grandmother served Goetta for dinner.
We were told that the dish might have originated in the area around Göttingen, Germany.  The anglicized spelling of Göttingen is Goettingen.  Göttingen is about 250 KM (approximately 150 miles) south east of Bremen.  It is interesting that a similar dish known [here] as Goetta might come from the area around Goettingen in Germany.
It is certainly possible that many of the German immigrants to Cincinnati came from this part of Germany.  My German Great Grandfather came from Rhinow which is about 250 KM due east of Bremen and also about 250 KM north east of Göttingen.”



My German in-laws’ recipes don’t include beef broth, poultry seasoning or savory. Those are my additions to boost flavor.

Cook meat and veggies on top of the stove and finish goetta by cooking oats and the cooked meat in the slow cooker.


3# fresh pork shoulder/butt with bone in or not, cut in half to fit pan

3-4 cups each: chopped onions and celery (include celery leaves)

4 dried bay leaves

3 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper or more to taste

1 nice teaspoon poultry seasoning (opt)

2 teaspoons savory (opt)

8-10 cups water or more if needed, or half beef broth and half water (I used half beef broth and water)

2 # pinhead/steel cut oats


Put meat, onions, celery, bay and seasonings in large pot.

Cover meat with liquid by about an inch or so. Bring to a boil, cover, lower to a simmer and cook until meat is so tender that it can be shredded or chopped up fine, several hours. Add water if necessary to keep meat just under liquid.

Strain meat and vegetables through colander. Save liquid. Shred meat. Push some of vegetables through colander. I add both to the oats.

Spray a 6-7 quart slow cooker and turn on high. Put liquid in and add oats, stirring to blend. Put lid on and cook on high 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until oats are thoroughly cooked, tender, and mixture is very thick. If necessary, add more water as oats cook, but be careful. The mixture, when cooked, should be pasty, and thick enough for a spoon to stand up in without falling over. Oats should be difficult to stir.img_2267

Add meat and veggies and continue to cook, covered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add seasoning if needed. Remove bay leaves.

Line bread pans with sprayed foil. Put goetta in, smoothing tops. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or so to set up. Store in refrigerator a week or several months in freezer.img_7637

To serve: The only way is to fry it with bacon until both goetta and bacon are crisp on both sides. Or in bacon grease. (I know, I know, some of you are fanning yourselves…)

Tips from Rita’s kitchen:

  • Goetta is not hard to make, but the technique can’t be rushed.
  • Fresh pork shoulder/butt is the traditional cut of pork to use.
  • Pinhead oats are sometimes called steel cut oats and require a very long cooking time. Do not substitute regular oats.
  • Savory has a peppery flavor.
  • Goetta can be frozen.

More Goetta Recipes
I have a lot of different recipes from readers, friends and colleagues. Here’s some of the best.


Jim’s recipe continues to be very popular. Here are Jim’s comments: “Add enough salt or it will be bland.  I use bouillon cubes instead of beef broth because of the salt content. Be careful not to add too much water or you’ll be frying mush in the morning”. Jim usually leaves out the sage and I have had more readers say this is an excellent goetta. One reader uses pork sausage instead of plain pork.


3 cups pinhead oatmeal

5 cups water

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons salt

1 pound each of ground beef and pork

2 medium diced onions

6 bay leaves

1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, black pepper, crushed red pepper and sage

2 teaspoons allspice

4 beef bouillon cubes

2 additional cups of water.


Combine 3 cups of oatmeal with 5 cups of water in crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. An hour and a half into the cooking, combine all ingredients, except the ground meat and onions, into a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until reduced in 1/2 ( one cup). Strain and stir liquid into crockpot. While spice liquid is still reducing, brown beef and pork with onions then add to crockpot either before or after the spice mixture. When all ingredients are in the pot, turn to low and mix well, stirring often for another 2 hours.

Don’t be tempted to add water, even though the goetta gets very thick. Let cool and spoon into 2 casserole dishes. Put one in the frig and one in the freezer for later use. To cook, brown in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet until personal preference of crispiness is reached.


This is from my catering partner, Bert’s, sister, Nancy. It was her husband Bill’s recipe, handed down from generation to generation. This west side Cincinnati recipe is yummy too!


1 pound ground beef

2 pounds cubed pork loin

6 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2-1/2 cups pinhead oats

2 huge onions, diced

4-8 bay leaves


Put water, salt and pepper in a big pot. Bring to a boil and add oats. Lower heat to a gentle boil and cook for 1-1/2 hours, covered. Stir every 15 minutes. Add meats, onion and bay leaves. Mix well, cover and cook on low for 3 more hours. Uncover and if not thick enough, cook longer, stirring often. Remove bay leaves. Pour into loaf pans. Cool and refrigerate. Cut into thick slices, fry in hot bacon fat until golden on both sides. Freezes well.


This is from daughter-in-law, Jessie’s family. Maggie, her mom and husband Denny enjoy this goetta on their houseboat in the fall. Denny’s brother, Dave, makes this every year for them.


1 lb ground beef

1lb ground pork

8 cups water

2.5 cups DORSEL’S pinhead Oatmeal

1 large onion

1 to 4 bay leaves optional

3 teaspoons salt

a pinch of pepper

*Variation: Substitute 2 teaspoons dried summer savory in place of onion and bay leaves


Regular method:

1. put water into pan,when boiling add salt,pepper,and oatmeal.

2. Cook 2 hours,stirring often,keep lid on while cooking low heat.

3. Add meat,onion,bay leaves,mix well

4. Let cook 1 hour,stirring often

5. Pour into bread pans. When cool place in refrigerator. Will keep for 10 days

6. When readyto use,slice the loaf of goetta and put into a pan in which there is a little hot bacon fat. Fry until well browned

Slow cooker method:

Use same ingredients as in above recipr with one exception–use only 6 cups water

1. Put water,salt and pepper into cooker,cover and heat on high for 20 minutes

2. Stir in oatmeal,cover and cook on high 1.5 hours.

3.Add meat,onion,and bay leaves,mix well Cover and cook on low 3 hours

4.Uncover–if not thick enough cook a little while longer stirring often

5. Proceed as in direction No. 5 and No 6 for regular method.


Goetta Recipe (easy crockpot goetta with little fuss and easy clean up)

Mary told me: “My mom made this recipe all the time. You can personalize to your tastes by adding things like garlic, jalapenos, sage, or sausage. Personally, I like the basic recipe the best.”


  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 ½ cups pinhead oatmeal (also called steel cut oatmeal)
  • 2 tablespoons of salt (It calls for 3 tablespoons but you can always add salt at the table.)
  • 1 pinch of pepper
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 whole large onion finely chopped. (I use ½ to 3/4 a large onion.)
  • 1 pound ground pork (I buy pork tenderloin because there is less fat. I have it ground. Or, Kroger carries ground pork.)
  • 1 pound ground beef (I buy an eye of the round for less fat and have it ground. Or,90 % lean can be used.)
  • 3 bay leaves, optional
  • (Optional items—some people put 3 bay leaves added after stirring beef, pork, and onion in the mix. The bay leaves are discarded after the five hour cooking time.)


Put water, oatmeal, salt, pepper, and bouillon cube into a crock pot. Mix well and cook covered for 1 ½ hours on HIGH. Then add ground beef, ground pork, and finely chopped onion. Stir well until thoroughly mixed. Cover and cook 5 hours on LOW. Uncover, stir 4 or 5 times and continue cooking ½ hour without covering.

For easy cleanup—line 2 loaf pans with aluminum foil and divide cooked goetta among the two pans. Cool in the refrigerator overnight. Pull out the foil and slice to desired thickness.

Bernie Butscha’s Goetta
(Herr Pickle)
“This is my Goetta recipe that my Mom gave me. She got it from Grandma Butscha. I’m probable predjudiced, but my family thinks it’s the best. I hope you get a chance to try it.”
7c water
3c pinhead oatmeal
2tsp salt
1/4tsp pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
1# gr. chuck and 1# pork loin, ground together
1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
Cover oats with water and soak overnight
Mix with meat and onion in a pot
Add  6 cups water and spices
Cook 2.25 hours
Stir often
Pour into 9×13 pan (Tupperware) to cool
Can keep in ice box for couple weeks
Cut into slices and freeze.


Do you make goetta? What is your favorite recipe or story?


3 thoughts on “All About Goetta

  1. I got a baked oatmeal recipe once from the Milford newspaper that had bananas on the bottom and blueberries in it too. I would love to have that recipe again. Could you please e-mail it to me as I have moved to Michigan and no longer get to see the Milford newspaper. Thanks


    1. Hi, Rebecca,
      I decided to post this on this coming Friday since I don’t want to bombard folks with emails. But here’s the recipe along with a couple other ones. Pls disregard my previous reply, and blessings!
      For Rebecca, who lost her recipe when she moved to Michigan. Perfect for these wintry days. 

      Fruited gluten free baked oatmeal  

      Baked oatmeal is the newest trend for breakfast, or really any meal. Oatmeal is usually gluten free but if you’re concerned, check the label to make sure it’s manufactured in a gluten free environment. Sub your favorite fruit in here if you like. If you don’t like nuts, leave them out. 


      1 cup oats, old fashioned or quick oats

      1/2 cup chopped nuts

      1/2 teaspoon baking powder

      1 teaspoon cinnamon

      1/4 cup pure maple syrup

      1 cup 2% milk

      2 tablespoons butter or substitute, melted

      1 egg

      1 teaspoon vanilla

      Enough ripe banana slices to fill bottom of pan – 2 or 3 bananas

      1 cup sliced berries


      Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 2 quart baking pan. Mix together oats, half the nuts, baking powder and cinnamon. Whisk syrup, milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Layer bottom of pan with sliced bananas. Top with oat mixture and half the berries. Pour maple syrup mixture over. Top with rest of berries and nuts. Bake 30-40 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

      Tip from Rita’s kitchen:

      Not sure if your pan is 2 quarts?

      A 2 qt. pan  is 8x8x2” and holds 8 cups; a 3 qt. pan is 9×13” and holds 12 cups.

      The next 2 are from Ann N., a member of my recipes group



      2 C. frozen blueberries

      2 T. fresh lemon juice, divided

      1 (18 oz.) container regular oatmeal

      3 large eggs, beaten

      1 C. firmly packed brown sugar

      1 C. unsweetened applesauce

      1 T. ground cinnamon

      4 t. baking powder

      1 t. salt

      1 1/4 C. water

      1 C. milk

      1/4 C. melted butter


      Toss 2 C. blueberries in 1 T. lemon juice and spread evenly on bottom of a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish.

      Combine oats, next 9 ingredients, and remaining 1 T. lemon juice in a large bowl, stirring until well blended.  Pour oat mixture evenly over blueberries.

      Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 minutes more or until golden brown and set.


      Ingredients and instructions

      Place 1/2 C. chopped pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring once.  Omit blueberries and lemon juice.  Peel and chop 5 Granny Smith  apples (I just use whatever kind I have).  Spread on bottom of a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle toasted pecans over apples.  Prepare oat mixture as directed in blueberry recipe, and pour evenly over apples and pecans. Bake as directed.

      This makes a large amount but I keep it in the fridge and take out daily servings warmed in the microwave.  It is really worth the work involved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.