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Merguez (/mɛərˈɡɛz/, from Arabic: مرقاز‎), also known as Mirkās, is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based sausage from North African cuisine, usually eaten grilled. It originated in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and became popular in France towards the end of the twentieth century.

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



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. Dried merguez can be used to add flavour to tagines.


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 and originating from Algeria. 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 alsoEdit


  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 readingEdit