Mettbrötchen or as it is popularly known – Mett is not only popular in Germany but also throughout greater parts of Western and Eastern parts of Europe. It is in-fact prepared using minced pork meat and a few simple spices. If you were to literally translate Mettbrötchen, it would come out to be: chopped pork meat without bacon. But, more interestingly in the Old Saxon tone, it quite literally means food. There are not much of elaborations that need to be conducted before serving them. Usually mett is served just by sprinkling salt and black pepper. On other occasions you can also include garlic, caraway, chopped onions and/or just eat it raw along a bread roll. It is in-fact for these reasons that a lot of precautions are taken while producing them. The German Food Code has mentioned elaborate diktats and guidelines for its production and storage process.
Understanding the German love for minced meat
Germans are obsessed with meats especially the minced kind. Meat in general can be consumed in many forms in Germany, in particular the favorites include sausages, schnitzels, pork legs, bologna which the German children simply love, et cetera. This kind of proverbial love for meat is more or less appreciated by individuals from all walks of life including all the age groups. You can also find a certain love for raw meat. In Germany’s northern region people eat raw meat by spreading it on bread rolls, or simply by sprinkling it with onions and spices. It might sound unappetizing to some, but the Mettbrötchen is a one of a kind delicacy. Now, it is also important to understand the cultural significance of meat eating. It is rather interesting to know that if you have to befriend a German then the best way to do it is by sharing a meat with him or her. Germans love to eat, talk, write, joke about and watch stuff about minced meat; it is ingrained in their psyche. It might definitely take some time to get accustomed of so much of meat eating. At first taste and sight it just might be difficult to stomach but it’s all about having the intent to experiment and mett does not taste bad. The texture at first might not be sinewy, on the other hand it is quite soft and feel like baby food and indeed tasty.
In many parts of the German land mettbrötchen is also known as hackepeter which also comprises of the same ingredients and can also be found more on the street corner stalls and also are made available in the form of packaged commodities. Furthermore, in the case when chopped onions are added to this mixture its name changes quite starkly to zwiebelmett. As per the conventions dictated by the governments regulatory bodies the fat content should not be more than 35 percent and if the meat is being sold pre-packaged, in that case the German minced meat directive states that the product should be sold on the very day of its production and not after.
Among the many other verities a few more popular ones that can be mentioned are as follows:
- Schinkenmett: Instead of simple pork meat Schinkenmett contains ham. The ham used here is specifically procured form the upper thigh region and is quite finely grounded. The Schinkenmett is normally produced in industrial meat grinders and for the purpose of maintaining a fine structure and near smooth consistency the processing of the meat is usually done in a semi-frozen state. Moreover, the strictness of the minced meat directive can be witnessed in the sense that the guidelines do not permit a temperature over 2 degrees centigrade and the use of ice is again strictly prohibited for cooling.
- Mettwurst: Mett in sausage form is known as mettwurst and it can stay for a prolonged period of time. Quite frequently it is spiced up and smoked before being consumed.
- Hackepeter: It is prepared without bacon and is also regarded among the oldest dishes of the region. In its recipe eggs are also a main ingredient.
While serving mettbrötchen not much has to be done. The Germans usually eat them raw or by simply using seasoning of salt and pepper. There are indeed other more elaborated methods of cooking and presenting but the simple love for minced meat over powers everything else.
Interestingly, some people in general are averse to the very idea of eating meat in the raw form. Moreover, the visual appearance of mettbrötchen is not particularly appealing either. So, it is anyway given that people just might not be able to digest the idea of eating minced pork meat along with bread rolls and that to for breakfast, now, this would also seem rather farfetched but indeed it is the truth which has been going on for centuries if not millenniums. It is crucial to also know that the minced pork meat is not raw in its truest sense. As a matter of fact this meat is cured and aged by adding specific spices and then packaged or sold otherwise. So, therefore, the meat becomes tender due to the treatment and thus edible.
The thing is that eating raw pork is not strange in Germany as it sounds elsewhere. There are also variants to mettbrötchen which involve cooking. This grounded pork meat can also be mixed with other kinds of meats and then be prepared in the form of meat balls, meat loafs or simple sausage patties. The important thing is that mettbrötchen or mett is always eaten fresh.
The following method can provide you with an idea as to how mettbrötchen can be prepared at home.
- Grounded pork: 35.2 oz (1 kilogram)
- Salt: 0.35 to 0.7 oz (10 to 20 grams)
- White pepper: 0.07 oz (2 grams)
- Mace: a pinch of (Messerspitze)
- Caraway or marjoram (crushed): 0.07 oz (2 grams)
- Rye bread: as per requirement
- Onion: 1 large
There are of-course other options made available in the market but preparing it at home can also be a good option.
First, you will be required to take the bread and cut it into halves. Then spread some margarine on either side of the cut pieces.
Now, by using a fork spread the minced pork meat on the top slice and evenly scatters salt and pepper as per requirement.
The onions can be chopped finely and then in a pan with very little butter or regular cooking oil they could be sauté just till the point a fine golden coloring appears. The onions can then be placed on the other slice of bread.
Mettbrötchen is now ready to be served. The usual accompaniments are tea or coffee if they are served during breakfast or otherwise just about anything else would suffice.