Rookworst with stamppot of kale (boerenkool)
Place of originNetherlands
Region or stateNorthwestern Europe
Serving temperaturewarm
Main ingredientsPork and spices

Rookworst (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈroːkʋɔrst] ; smoked sausage) or Gelderse rookworst is a type of Dutch sausage in which ground meat is mixed with spices and salt and stuffed into a casing. Having the shape of a Bologna sausage, it is common in the Netherlands and is also exported to Great Britain.[1] The basis for Gelderse rookworst is metworst, or lean pork. Traditionally, rookworst is made with pork, stuffed in a small pig intestine and smoked over smouldering oak- and beechwood chips. This traditional rookworst is usually sold in butcher shops.[2]

It is assumed that rookworst from the province of Gelderland started to make waves in the Netherlands in the eighteenth century. The cookbook De Volmaakte Gelderse Keuken-Meid (1756) gives detailed instructions on how to use oak or beech wood to smoke sausage in the chimney or smoking room. Gelderland, the only province that had ample access to such wood, became most famous for its smoked sausage. Around 1900, almost every farmer smoked his own slaughter in the chimney.[3] In the province used to be many pig farms too.

Originally, rookworst was made in november, because that was the slaughter month. And coincidentally, november was also the harvest month of kale. Rookworst was therefore often eaten together with kale. And this dish remains very popular to this day, as it is a traditional ingredient in the stamppot.[4] It is nowadays also eaten as a snack with mustard. Every year, the best rookworst of the Netherlands is elected during a contest held there, in the city of Arnhem in Gelderland.

Most rookworst sold in supermarkets (and chainstore Hema), is mass produced in factories and is not smoked, but has smoke aromatics added to give the characteristic flavour.[5] Glucono delta-lactone is added to lower the pH and add to shelf life,[1] and the intestine is replaced by bovine collagen. Unox is a major producer of rookworst.

In recent years, beef and chicken-based rookworst is also available in most Dutch supermarkets.

There are two types of rookworst:

  1. The most common form of rookworst is a cooked sausage, sold in a vacuum pack. As this sausage leaves the factory already cooked, it is shelf-stable for weeks, and only needs to be reheated.[6]
  2. Raw rookworst—also known as crafted, old-fashioned or butchers' rookworst—contains raw meats, and has to be prepared properly. Often this type of rookworst still uses natural intestine for the casing instead of bovine collagen. As the meat is raw, this type needs to be cooked before it can be safely eaten. A common method is to simmer the rookworst.[7]

A recipe from a Dutch cookbook of 1940 gives the proportions of ground meat as 4 parts of pork to 3 parts of veal and 3 parts of bacon. The mixture is salted and saltpeter, sugar and nutmeg are added before the meat is forced into pig intestines. The sausages are air-dried at 12 to 15 degrees C and then smoked at 18 to 20 degrees C.[8]

Rookworst is immensely popular in the Netherlands. Every year—especially in and around winter—the Dutch eat about 50 to 60 million smoked sausages. At Hema as much as 10 million rookworst are sold per year.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b Leistner (1987). "Shelf-Stable Products: SSP and IMF based on Meat". In Larry R. Beuchat, Lous B. Rockland (ed.). Water activity: theory and applications to food: [proceedings of the tenth basic symposium held in Dallas, Texas, June 13–14]. CRC. pp. 304–28. ISBN 978-0-8247-7759-3.
  2. ^ a b Zanden, Peggy van der (2023-10-11). "Gelderse Rookworst •". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  3. ^ "Rookworst". Janny de Moor (in Dutch). Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  4. ^ "Rookworst en". Retrieved 2023-11-13.
  5. ^ Tucker, Heather. "Dutch Delights:Rookworst". Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  6. ^ Rahman, Shafiur (2007). Handbook of food preservation. CRC. pp. 876, 880. ISBN 978-1-57444-606-7.
  7. ^ Blommestein, Irene van; Annelène van Eijndhoven; José van Mil (2002). Kook ook. Immerc. p. 387. ISBN 978-90-6611-287-2.
  8. ^ McG, Dan. "Dutch Rookworst Recipe". Franco. Retrieved 22 October 2014.