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Rare nowadays: butcher's meat (part 1)

A butcher is rare these days. Photo report for meat freaks.

The "Swiss Meat Working Group SAF", a group of butchers to share experiences, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For the anniversary general meeting, the board of directors organized a butcher's drink on an Emmental farm in mid-March. According to old fathers custom, SAF members slaughtered a pig and processed it directly into ready-to-sell cutlets, sausages and convenience products. Many of the master butchers involved, now in management positions in the meat industry, had not slaughtered themselves for ten or twenty years, but they had never forgotten their craft.

With a normal home butcher, which is rare these days, the farmer keeps the meat and pays the sturgeon butcher a wage. At the SAF anniversary, however, the SAF bought the 120 kg pig from the farmer.

The freshly roasted liver was the snack of the passionate “meat experts” (as butchers are called today). For lunch there was blood and liver sausage, for lunch freshly baked sausages from the grill and the highlight was the farmer's buffet after the general assembly (guess what to eat - a meat-based Bern platter).

foodaktuell.ch accompanied the pig with the camera from the stable to the saucepan and documents the perfectly traceable transformation into chops and sausages in two parts:

Part 1: From the pork half to the black pudding

Wait. The rind (skin) is a popular ingredient for cooked sausage products such as Schüblig and Wienerli. It is also used as a raw material for gelatine production.

Peel off the bacon. The smooth neck bacon is used for boiled sausages, the hearty back bacon (picture) for raw sausages and the noble pork belly for salted, cooked, fried and raw bacon or pancetta.

Prepare the casings for sausage puffing. Pig intestines are used for sausages, Schüblig, farmer's sausages and house sausages. Image: beef intestines. These are used for cervelas, salsiz, blood and liver sausages, dry sausages and boiled sausages.

Ingredients for the liver sausage are cooked until soft: liver, head meat, kidney, fat, rind, bouillon, onions and cabbage. Season with pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, coriander, cinnamon and raisins. Because “pre-cooked” ingredients are used, the liver sausage is assigned to the cooked sausages in contrast to the scalded sausage made from uncooked lean meat, bacon, sometimes rind and ice water, which is only brewed after being pounded.

So that the black pudding gets a pure, tender melt, the viscous fibrin (the coagulation factor) is sifted from the blood.

The blood sausage ingredient mixture (blood, milk and / or cream, kidney fat «Schmer», onions) is filled into the intestines. Season with pepper, nutmeg, marjoram and cinnamon. Blood makes up almost half of the recipe, but it only gives color. The black pudding taste comes mainly from spices, onions and fats.

Blood sausage is also considered cooked sausage, but the ingredients are not pre-cooked, only processed warm.

In contrast to the normal Adrio made from veal sausage meat, Bauernadrio (picture) consists of minced meat and offal and tastes particularly wholesome. Both types are wrapped in the belly net.

The blood sausages, which are still raw and liquid inside, are boiled for 30 to 50 minutes at 80 to 85 degrees. Thanks to the high protein content, they become cut-resistant.

The "Swiss Meat Working Group SAF" is an experience sharing group for butchers and also serves to transfer knowledge from science to practice. It also has an important social function. The current 74 members come from butchers, larger meat processing companies and their suppliers as well as occasionally from research and offices.

Photo: Master butcher and SAF President Jakob Marti proudly presents a prick from the freshly slaughtered pig.

With part 2, from stunning to splitting, you can choose whether you want to read it with or without pictures.

Part 2 with pictures but almost without blood:

From stunning to splitting

Part 2 without pictures and without any blood:

In the slaughterhouse, the pigs are stunned electrically or with gas, but at the butcher's, they are stunned with a bolt. The heart of the anesthetized animal must initially still beat so that it bleeds well, which is important for the quality of the meat. Image: Puncture in the carotid artery after stunning - the blood collection vessel is ready.

The pig is scalded in hot water and the bristles removed ("shaved") with a scraper. Almost all parts of the animal can be used (around 78% of its live weight), but that Colgate is buying up the bristles is just a rumor.

Eviscerate after the head has been cut off. The cut through the abdominal wall requires a sure instinct. For reasons of hygiene, under no circumstances should the intestines be injured.

Offal do not need to mature. Liver and kidneys are particularly tender, freshly roasted every day. Muscle meat, on the other hand, first goes through rigor mortis and then becomes tender as it matures, i.e. protein is broken down by the meat's own enzymes.

Disassembling the intestinal package. The spleen (picture) is edible but tough and has a coarse taste. The butcher doesn't put them in the showcase but mostly sells them as animal feed.

Split the gutted body in the middle of the spine ("Strähl"). This creates two almost identical halves (the small difference: the tail hangs on only one half).

In the slaughtering process that is common today, after cooling, the meat reaches the butcher's shop for further processing either as half an animal or already roughly cut into pieces.