My first "3 im" was in the summer of 2013. It was a sunny June afternoon, Johan and I were on borrowed bicycles and had just finished exploring the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. We'd pulled off the bike path for a sit and a sip at a seasonal Biergarten, which consisted of a couple of guys in a small hut serving beer, sausage, and pretzels for enjoyment at surrounding picnic tables. This may have also been my first proper introduction to the ever-refreshing Radler (a mix of beer and sparkling lemonade), which J probably ordered in addition to our pair of 3 im Weckla, but it was the latter that really stole the show. The taste of those little grilled sausages and the tang of mustard dispensed from a bucket—which, full embarrassing disclosure, I was only just starting to appreciate; I still regret the numbers of years I wasted as a mustard opponent—washed down with a cold beer made the afternoon even more eye-opening than it already had been.
3 im Weckla simply means "3 in a bun." A no-frills bread roll (aka Brötchen to most of Germany, Semmel to Bavaria, Weckla to Franconia, Weggla once the Franconian-speak kicks in...), a trio of Nuremberg's classic Rostbratwürste, and a slick of Mittelscharfer Senf (medium-hot mustard) are served together to create the city's most iconic street food.
"Drei im Weggla, bitte," has been one of my favorite phrases since that summer five years ago. If I were to abandon all manner of restraint, I could happily eat these things every day.
Just look at that crusty bun! At those charred little bratwursts! At the glorious, sunshine-yellow mustard!
The combination of portability and deliciousness makes the 3 im Weckla / Weggla a hot commodity around town. You'll find them available to-go (zum Mitnehmen) at restaurants, for sale in the many huts, stands, and carts that are peppered throughout the city, and most certainly at any Nuremberg festival. The going rate is generally €3, but I've seen prices range from €1.70 - €4 throughout the Altstadt. Sometimes you'll have the option of adding sauerkraut, which is lovely and nearly always welcome as far as I'm concerned, but the beauty of a 3 im Weckla lies in the simplicity so I usually skip the kraut unless I'm feeling particularly frisky.
Just, please, don't put ketchup on your Nürnbergers. I mean, do what you want, but this isn't an IKEA hotdog. Skip the red stuff and eat as the purists do—mit Senf.
The wurst facts...
There's no such thing as a "quick" history when tradition dates back to the 14th century, so for further reading on the Nuremberg Bratwurst, I'll send you here, here, or here. For a few quick facts, however...
• Nürnbergers are considered an artisan product and are under European Union PGI protection (Protected Geographic Indication) as of 2003. Much like how there's no such thing as "California Champagne," there's no such thing as Nuremberg Bratwurst made anywhere outside of Nuremberg.
• Individual bratwursts must be between 7-9 centimeters in length, and weigh no more than 25 grams. Apparently, more than 3 million of them are produced daily!
• While a few spices are in play with the Nuremberg Bratwurst, the identifying flavor is marjoram.
• The bratwursts are traditionally served on platters with 6, 8, 10, or 12 of the moreish links, commonly accompanied by either sauerkraut or potato salad (vinegar-based, of course), and are served with horseradish and mustard.
• While you can find Nuremberg's famed sausages all over town, my personal favorite venue is Bratwursthäusle next to Sebalduskirche. Tucked just below the medieval church and within a stone's throw of the Hauptmarkt, Bratwurshäusle feels as authentically Franconian as it gets. Permeated with the smoke of countless bratwursts, the small building is often loud and crowded and unless you're with a handful of folks yourself, you're almost guaranteed to be sat alongside strangers. The atmosphere is nothing short of jovial and few things delight me more than sitting in the midst of it, a platter of 6 (or 8) with Kartoffelsalat and a wheat beer in front of me. In agreeable weather, the outdoor seating is prime real estate for people-watching. The Bratwursthäusle experts have been doing this since 1313, and if you can't get a table here, they're also the folks behind the nearby Goldenes Posthorn and the historic Bratwurstglöcklein in the exceedingly charming Handwerkerhof quarter.