Goetta is one of the humble local food products that Cincinnatians frequently share with first-time visitors. In Southwest Ohio, sausage makers have been combining oats, seasoning, beef and pork into a loaf since the 1800s. The dish was inspired by the German immigrants who settled in the area; they added grain to a mixture of meats to help stretch their pork and beef supply over multiple servings. No longer is goetta merely the historical side dish of choice for our pork-loving city: With so many Tri-State restaurants embracing the possibilities of goetta in their menus, the dish is becoming an art form.
Fresh out of a sizzling pan, a slab of goetta is perfectly crisp on the outside, with a savory grit-cake-like interior. Eaters love the hearty crunch and the way bits of goetta meld with other flavors like eggs and potatoes. Alongside Cincinnati chili, goetta holds a special spot in our local hearts. If you haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, back away from the meat case at the grocery store and try your first bite at one of the many eateries making it central to their menus. Here are some classic and some unique takes on the Cincinnati mainstay that might convince even skeptics to give it a try.