In the Middle Ages, the gates were locked at night. That’s why Nuremberg innkeepers found it very practical to have sausages small enough to pass through a keyhole. They could therefore serve guests during the evening and night.
Another legend claims that the prisoners in the Nuremberg dungeons were served sausages by the guards. They bored an extra hole – in German the word is “Loch” – in the cell wall and pushed the sausages through to the prisoners. That’s supposedly why the Nuremberg dungeon was called the “Loch” jail!
One story that combines both of these theories is that of Hans Stromer, a member of a Nuremberg patrician family. He was condemned to life in debtor’s prison, but granted a last wish. He asked that he be given two Nuremberg bratwurst each day. These were passed to him through the keyhole of his cell. During his 38-years in jail, Stromer ate 28,000 sausages!
The most likely story about the sausage focuses on a simple strategy which is still used today. The size of the sausage was made smaller, but the price remained the same. Butchers could therefore use fewer resources to make more sausages, earning the same amount and making more profit.