Alternative names مركس
Type Sausage
Region or state North Africa
Invented 12th century
Main ingredients Lamb or beef
Ingredients generally used Cumin and chili pepper or harissa
Cookbook: Merguez  Media: Merguez

Merguez (Arabic: مركس) /mɛərˈɡɛz/ is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based fresh sausage from Maghrebi cuisine. It is also popular in the Middle East and Europe, having become particularly popular in France by the closing decades of the twentieth century.

Merguez is a sausage made with uncooked lamb, beef, or a mixture 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 color) as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.

Merguez is usually eaten grilled. Dried merguez is used to add flavor to tagines. It is also eaten in sandwiches and with french fries.


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

See also


  1. Pellat, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition
  2. Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, 2001, s.v. merguez
  3. 1 2 Trésor de la langue française, s.v. merguez


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