Makkara: Finnish Grilled Sausage Roasted over an Open Fire


Sausages roasted over charcoal are a familiar food loved by adults and children alike in Japan.

Sausage is one of the favorite dishes of Finnish people as well, and grilled sausage is called “Makkara” in Finland.

Here, I would like to introduce Makkara, a Finnish-style grilled sausage.

What is Makkara?

Makkara is a grilled sausage eaten in Finland.

Makkara means “sausage” in Finnish.

The Finnish way of eating it is to cook the sausage on branches by roasting it vigorously over an open fire.

Many people in Finland, a country rich in nature, enjoy BBQs and parties by the lake.

While sitting around a bonfire with family and friends, the sausages are grilled close to the fire.

The far-infrared rays from the fire cook the sausages so that they are crispy on the surface and juicy on the inside.

It is also called “Kokko Makkala” or “Grilli Makkala” because in Finland a bonfire is called a kokko.

A dish for Midsummer festivals and saunas

Makkara is eaten throughout the year in Finland.

Finns’ love of Makkara is considerable, and the dish is an integral part of events and festivals.

For example, Finland has a Midsummer Festival, which celebrates the arrival of summer and is held every year in the early summer season.

Midsummer is traditionally celebrated with the lighting of a bonfire called a Kokko at midnight to exorcise demons and to wish for a bountiful harvest.

In Finland, which is located at high latitudes, Midsummer is the season of the midnight sun, a phenomenon in which the sun does not set for the entire day.

Even after 9 p.m., it is as bright as daylight outside, so Finns stay up all night around the bonfire, beer in hand, savoring Makkara.

Makkara is eaten everywhere, even outside of the Midsummer festivities, and what is especially unique to Finland is the custom of eating Makkara in saunas.

Finland is known as one of the largest sauna countries in the world, with more saunas than population.

Finns use saunas in the same way we casually go to the grocery store.

The custom of eating Makkara in the sauna, called “Sauna Makkara,” was born out of this custom.

Since it is not possible to build a fire in a sauna, sauna stones are used instead of a fire in Sauna Makkara.

They put aluminum on the sauna stone and cook sausages on it.

They then eat it with a nice cold beer after getting out of the sauna.

The key to a tasty Makkara

When cooking Makkara, only two basic ingredients are needed: the sausage and a branch to stick the ingredients into.

Shave the end of the branch with a knife and thread the branch through the sausage.

When stabbing the ingredients into the branch, the key is to stab the wood so that the tip does not burn and the tip does not stick out from the sausage.

Also, sticking the sausages vertically instead of horizontally will ensure stable balance.

Otherwise, searing directly over an open fire may cause the inside to become raw or sooty due to too high a temperature.

Therefore, the trick is to keep some distance from the campfire and sear the meat slowly on the surface, creating charring marks.

After the sausages have been savory grilled, spread them with mustard or barbecue sauce to taste.

I recommend adding dill or rosemary as an herb to flavor the sausage.

Makkara is impressive for its wild and bold flavor, but its cooking method is quite simple.

Makkara can be easily cooked in a home kitchen using a gas stove.


Slowly roasted over an open fire, Makkara is filled with plenty of meat juice.

Makkara is also a popular snack in Finland, as it goes great with a cold beer.

Another attraction is the wildness of the fish, which is cooked on a branch and roasted over a campfire.

Makkara is easy to recreate at home or camping, so give it a try!