COPPERAS COVE — An Old World sausage recipe brought to the U.S. from Germany in 1856 by the Mickan family sits in a safe downtown.

Members of Trinity Lutheran Church borrowed the recipe again this weekend to prepare 3,500 pounds of sausage during Saturday’s annual German Sausagefest.

“It has that one little extra niche, and nobody knows what it is,” said Mae Billman. “It’s good sausage.”

Billman, 81, remembers when a church friend asked if she wanted to help make sausage in the late 1950s.

“You’re kidding,” she thought. But, they weren’t.

“(My husband and I) used to get together and help them make their sausage, and it’s been going on from generation to generation,” Billman said.

Since then, the event has grown from a simple church barbecue serving about 40 people to a feast serving thousands.

After the pork was delivered Thursday, about 100 volunteers got busy cutting, grinding and seasoning the meat before casing and smoking it, said Mike Kriegel, event chairman. They sold about 1,700 adult plates and 50 to 100 children’s plates in addition to selling more than 1,000 pounds of raw sausage.

“It’s unbelievable how much (work) goes into all this,” he said. “From cleaning everything, getting food permits, health inspections and the people doing the work.”

Kriegel, whose great-great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the late 1800s, remembers making sausage with his grandfather and dad every year as a child. Sausagefest helps Kriegel keep his German heritage alive.

“This (event) gets us to where every year we’re still making sausage,” he said.

The festival also brings back memories for Glenda Roberts, who lived in Germany for seven years while her husband was stationed there.

“The sausage and (traditional German) music is very nice,” she said. “Plus, it’s fun to have church-oriented recreation.”

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Lutheran Laymen’s League, Lutheran Women’s Missionary, United Way and the church’s building fund.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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