If you've never heard of or seen this Austrian dish, you might be imagining something that looks like a hot dog and taste like a sausage, but that's far from what wiener schnitzel actually is. Wiener schnitzel is much more than a link of meat, and it is taken seriously in several different countries -- Austria even has laws in place to protect the authenticity of wiener schnitzel. Read on to learn more about this classic dish!
A wiener schnitzel is a cutlet of veal that is coated in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, then fried in oil until the outside of the slab is golden-brown. The meat can also be fried in butter as an alternative to oil. The sibling of wiener schnitzel is simply called schnitzel and can be made with any kind of meat although it is prepared in a nearly identical fashion to wiener schnitzel.
The dish is typically served with a slice of lemon to garnish the meat and any number of German side dishes such as French fries or coleslaw. . While some may try to nickname the dish "schnitzel," wiener schnitzel is not quite the same thing -- schnitzel itself is a way of preparing any type of boneless meat by pounding it into a slab. Austria has claimed the word "schnitzel" for any meat product prepared in this specific fashion and has used it to sell a variety of meats which are cut and fried like wiener schnitzel. However, a true wiener schnitzel is prepared strictly using veal. While veal is pricey, it is a remarkably tender meat with a rich flavor and smooth texture. Wiener schnitzel doesn't have to be served independently and can be turned into the filling of sandwiches, tender-like strips and more.
While wiener schnitzel is the most famous form of schnitzel, not everyone can afford the steep price of veal. As a result, dozens of schnitzel variations have popped up around the world. These variations are also a loophole for German and Austrian chefs to be able to create schnitzel without having to fight the high costs of veal. As such, modern schnitzel can be made with many cuts of chicken, pork, and beef.
Your best bet at finding schnitzel, or an authentic wiener schnitzel, is to scout out German restaurants in your area, as German cuisine tends to include wiener schnitzel as a staple item in their menus. However, the best way to get a taste of wiener schnitzel is to find a quality recipe and make it at home. You'll have to scout out some high-quality veal, which can cost a pretty penny, but the rest of the ingredients (breadcrumbs, egg, and flour) are cheap and the end result is an extremely flavorful treat.