MINEOLA - Do a Google search for the word “Mettwurst” and you’ll be guided to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.
Three paragraphs into its definition of the German pork sausage, Wikipedia has this to say:
“The town of Mineola, Iowa, which was settled almost exclusively by immigrants from Schleswig-Holstein, hosts an annual heritage dinner with “Schoening-style” cold-smoked Mettwurst known in the Low German dialect as “Metvuss.”
Mineola residents have been making and eating Mettwurst since the community was settled by German immigrants in the mid and late 1800s. For the past 31 years, Mettwurst has been the featured menu item at the St. John Lutheran Church German Heritage Dinner.
“We’ve been having the dinner since the church celebrated its centennial in 1983,” church spokesperson Susan Carnahan said. “It’s such a good way for our congregation to get together and celebrate its German heritage.
“Making Mettwurst, that was something most of the people around here did,” Carnahan said. “They butchered a hog in the fall and made the meat out of all the parts.”
Carnahan said the Mettwurst served at the German Heritage Dinner is made from pork shoulder roast that is carefully seasoned with the church’s “secret ingredient.” The meat is cured and smoked.
For many years, the grinding of the meat, stuffing of the casings and smoking of the sausage was done exclusively by church volunteers. In recent years, however, the church has employed the help of Stoysich House of Sausage in Omaha to do some of the work.
“We do the grinding of the meat and the seasoning,” Carnahan said. “Then, it’s sent to Stoysich.”
This year’s dinner will be served in the church fellowship hall Saturday, Feb. 8, from 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Along with the Mettwurst, the menu will include German potatoes, sauerkraut, rye bread and homemade desserts. Take-out dinners and Mettwurst sausage rings will be available.
“We served as many as 600 people, but have been averaging about 400 the last few years,” Carnahan said.
The price of the dinner is $10 for adults and $5 for children.