Mettigel (pronounced “mett-gel”) is a type of raw pork topped with onions and served as a hedgehog shape. Among other things, Haferbrot it is a delicacy that celebrates German culinary culture’s love of junk food and playful whimsy.
There are few foods that have evoked more nostalgia than this old-fashioned German favorite. It is often served at dinner parties as a centerpiece, with sides such as mustard or cornichons to complement the flavor of the dish. And, of course, a good beer to wash it all down with.
Despite being a traditional German dish, it was once banned because of its unsanitary nature, with its minced meat being the main culprit in many outbreaks of salmonella. This was largely due to the fact that the meat was often smashed into a ball, creating a large surface area for bacteria to breed on. Thankfully, strict laws and ordinances governing the handling of meat in Germany have significantly reduced the risks of this beloved delicacy.
The first step in making a mett is to get some raw ground or minced pork. It is then seasoned with salt, pepper and a few other ingredients. It is then spread out on bread or rolls and topped with a variety of simple accompaniments. Some may choose to create a depression on top of the meat mound and break an egg into it.
A few years ago, a new generation of young people in Germany revived the mett and the hedgie shaped version called a Mettigel. Millennials such as Berlin-based vlogger Alyssa Schreiber, better known by her Instagram handle, “Mettfluencer,” have taken this tradition to new heights.
They’ve even been sculpted into cartoon versions of hedgehogs. A quick browse on the internet reveals an entire community of devotees, with tutorials, Facebook groups and Instagram accounts to help you perfect your own hedgehog-shaped mett.
Unlike steak tartare, which can be dressed in various ways, a mett is usually served plain, with just the seasonings and the bread spread on it. Often, it is also topped with onion spikes.
As with any artisanal dish, this one can be a bit of work to assemble, as it is best done on the spot. For those who want to take the time, they can purchase a pre-made mett or hackepeter from many butcher shops and bakeries in Germany.
In some parts of the country, this artisanal raw-food-like snack is still sold as a traditional delicacy at lunchtime. It is also sold as a party favor, as a fun way to impress guests.
It is a bit like pork tartare, only made from ground or minced meat instead of a sliced steak. It is often sprinkled with a bit of nutmeg and marjoram or seasoned with caraway seeds.
There are some variations to the recipe, such as varying the seasonings and adding a bit of fresh ginger or lemon juice. You can also eat it with bread or roll it onto a plate with other ingredients such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.