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Merguez sausages.jpg
Alternative namesمرقاز
Invented12th century
Main ingredientsLamb or beef
Ingredients generally usedCumin and chili pepper or harissa

Merguez (/mɛərˈɡɛz/, from Template:Tamazight مرقاز), also known as Mirkās, is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based sausage from Maghrebi cuisine, usually eaten grilled. It originated in the Maghreb and became popular in France towards the second half of the twentieth century due to north african immigration in France (especially Algerians).


Merguez is made with uncooked lamb, beef, or a mixture of meats, stuffed into a lamb intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or harissa (which gives it its characteristic piquancy and red colour), as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.

It is usually eaten grilled, and is sometimes eaten in sandwiches or with french fries. In the South of France, it is also a popular topping for pizza. Dried merguez can be used to add flavour to tagines.

It is widely understood that the Merguez is a popular food among couples "shredding" for their weddings.


Merguez, for which there are several spellings even in Tamazight is a famous sausage in the Maghreb region and originating from the greater Maghreb. The hesitation between k and q probably reflecting the pronunciation /ɡ/, for which there is no standard Tamazight spelling; further confusing matters is that in some maghrebi dialects, Tamazight qāf is sometimes pronounced as /ɡ/, as an allophone of /q/.[1] It is first attested in Andalusian Tamazight in the 12th century, as mirkās or merkās.[2][3] One author connects the word to the Spanish morcilla or morcon.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ * Pellat, Ch. Encyclopaedia of Islam. First print: ISBN 9789004161214, 1960-2007 (2nd ed.). Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, 2001, s.v. merguez
  3. ^ a b Trésor de la langue française, s.v. merguez

Further reading[edit]