A mettigel is a hedgehog-shaped hunk of raw, minced meat that’s served at German buffets. Mettigel It’s a classic snack, especially popular in the 1950s. It’s also popular as a party appetizer, and it’s now enjoying a bit of a renaissance in the hipster scene of Berlin and Hamburg.
This is how it’s done
A Mettigel is made by shaping a seasoned slab of raw ground pork into the shape of a hedgehog, often using sliced onions as spines and pretzel sticks or olives for its eyes and nose. It’s a simple snack that’s a bit of a twist on the classic meatball sandwich, but one that’s sure to please your inner kid.
The most common way to enjoy this is on a bread roll (Mettbrotchen) with slices of raw onion. If you’re feeling more creative, you can even shove it into a sausage, called a mettwurst.
It’s a great way to try some strange German cuisine while traveling in Germany!
While a mett is typically just salted and peppered, you can add a variety of spices depending on the region. Nutmeg, caraway seeds and even raw eggs are commonly used in northern Germany.
Another popular addition to this dish is a small fried egg, which is placed on top of the meat mound. In some regions, the yolk of the egg is mixed with the mett before being eaten.
Lastly, it’s served with side plates of condiments like mustard and raw onions. A basket or plate with fresh bread or rolls is also frequently included in the set up.
The Mettigel is made by a process similar to that of making a molded potato salad or ham-and-bananas hollandaise. It’s more about the assembly than it is about the taste.
As a result, it’s not the most healthy of snacks, but it’s also a lot more fun to eat than a regular sausage. Plus, it’s much cheaper to make and it’s easy to find.
It’s also safe to eat in Germany. The Hackfleischverordnung, a national regulatory body for minced meat, regulates the freshness and safety of this food.
The strict guidelines of the governing body help to ensure that minced pork is as fresh as possible, and the meat is only allowed to be stored below 6 degrees Celsius. That means that it’s better to eat it when it’s still a bit cold, rather than eating it as soon as it’s ready to be served.
In northern Germany, minced mett is available locally from a butcher in different degrees of freshness, from pre-packaged to cooled to slaughter fresh. It’s important to purchase a piece of mett that’s in good condition, and it’s not uncommon for butchers to recommend adding salt, pepper and spices to meet your personal tastes.
When you’re ready to assemble your own, start by unpacking the package of mett and kneading it with 2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Once the mett is mixed well, you can shape it into the hedgehog-like form with any desired seasonings.