German Mett or Spiced Raw Ground Pork

Mettbroetchen - Raw Pork Sausage on a White Roll
Raw pork sausage. Nize - Creative Commons 3.0

Mett is the German word for raw ground pork, which is often purchased from the metzger or butcher already spiced with salt and pepper, sometimes garlic and ground caraway. In northern Germany, it is known as hackpeter.

If the raw onion is added, then it is called zwiebelmett. If onion and rubbed marjoram are added, it is known as thüringer mett.

Mett Is a Delicacy with Strict Guidelines

This ground pork dish is eaten fresh and raw.

Germans are less squeamish about eating raw pork than Americans.

German butchers have strict guidelines to follow when preparing this product, including keeping the pork at 2 C at all times, grinding semi-frozen meat with a coarse grinder to keep the large meat pieces visible, and selling the pork the day it is made.

The ground meat is made from muscle with no tendons and should have a fat content of no more than 35% so that it is nice and schmierig ("greasy").

How Mett Is Eaten

One popular way to eat mett is on brötchen (bread rolls or bread slices) with raw onion rings on top and maybe an extra sprinkling of pepper.

Germans also make a mettigel (a hedgehog-shaped presentation) out of it for a party centerpiece that became popular in the 1970s and is still around today. The pork is spread on bread or rolls, like liverwurst, seasoned and eaten fresh.

Mett Can Be Cooked

Eating raw pork and raw beef is common in Germany, but mett also can be cooked.

It should be handled like any spiced, bulk sausage meat bought in the store. It can be mixed with other meats and baked into meatballs, meatloaf or sausage patties.

Making Mett in America

For Americans who attempt any raw pork recipe at home, it is wise to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a description of trichinosis and the symptoms of an infection.

Thüringer Mett Recipe (from an old Butcher's recipe book)

  • 2.2 pounds (1 kilograms) ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (12 grams) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) ground white pepper
  • Pinch (1/2 grams) mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams crushed caraway OR 1/8 teaspoon (1 grams) marjoram

Eating Raw Meat Not So Strange

Eating raw meat isn't as odd or cannibalistic as it might sound. Steak tartare is a common delicacy worldwide. The operative word here would be "steak," however, implying that raw beef is used. But when raw pork is part of the equation, the ick factor goes up a thousandfold.

That is why if you attempt any raw meat dish, you should be certain that the beef or pork you buy is from U.S. farmers who have gone through a certification program proving that their herd and product is free of Trichinella or other diseases.