Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Austrian Seam Butchery

Christoph Wiesner recently visited the USA. Among other things, he taught people how he breaks down pigs.

In the USA, there's a standard set of cuts. In Austria, there's a standard set of cuts too, but it differs from the USA's cuts, in that the butcher mostly cuts through connective tissue, not muscles. Take, for instance, the shoulder butt, which one fabricates by cutting through a bunch of shoulder muscles without any apparent regard for anatomy. In constrast, Christoph's cuts are almost all whole muscles, and he uses just the knife for almost everything.

Cutting through connective tissue results in less waste. With non-Mangalitsa pigs, using a bandsaw is probably more economical, because the wasted material is cheap and labor is dear. With a Mangalitsa, it pays to minimize waste, and the chef himself (or someone he trusts) does the butchery.

One fancy tool he uses is a "Rippenschlinge". This tool allows him to bone out the ribs, leaving almost all meat on the side, not the ribs. That meat is very tasty, and some of the only meat on a Mangalitsa side. Doing the easy thing and cutting out the spareribs would result in fattier bellies, which would be worth much less.

The "Rippenschlinge" isn't a standard tool. Marcel Kropf, Christoph's teacher, sells it. It wouldn't surprise me if he designed it too.

I haven't seen any material available in English about seam butchery. Wooly Pigs has already brought Mangalitsa to America, and Mangalitsa fattening techniques from Austria, we now bring Austrian seam butchery techniques to the world via the internet. Please see the videos just below.

There's more in two other posts.

Part II -- the loin and belly.

Part III -- the leg.

There's more:

Part II -- the loin and belly.

Part III -- the leg.

1 comment:

toufic said...

Actually that tool may not be standard but it isn't unknown either. It's a rib puller, the most common one made is by the german manufacturer F. Dick, you can find them here in the states for just under $20. They're a wonder for working ribs of all sorts of meat.


Very interesting site, I've gone through the entire archive, keep the posts coming!