German Mett (Spiced Raw Ground Pork)

Mettbroetchen - Raw Pork Sausage
Nize - Creative Commons 3.0

Mett is a German delicacy of 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 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

Mett is a dish of ground pork that 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, such as keeping the temperature of the pork consistently at 35 F (or 2 C) at all times. The butcher grinds semi-frozen meat with a coarse grinder to keep the large meat pieces visible and sells the pork the day it is made.

The ground meat is made from muscle with no tendons. Fat content is usually no more than 35 percent, however, it is still schmierig, which is German for "greasy."

How Mett Is Eaten

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

Germans also make a mettigel (a hedgehog-shaped presentation) out of mett 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, then 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, be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against the consumption of raw pork. The main concern is trichinosis, which is a parasite found in raw, undercooked pork or meats. 

Eating Raw Meat Is Common

Eating raw meat is not as odd as it might sound. Steak tartare, beef carpaccio, and sushi are common foods eaten all over the world. Each of the meats on these dishes is consumed raw.

Raw pork and wild game were usually considered unsafe for the main reason that they were carriers of the trichinella parasite. However, infection is now relatively rare. The number of cases decreased beginning in the mid-20th century because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs, commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products. Cases are less commonly associated with pork products and more often associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game meats.

If you do attempt to try a raw meat dish, you should check that meat in question comes from U.S. farmers who have gone through a certification program proving that their herd and product is free of trichinella or other diseases. 

Thüringer Mett Recipe

The following recipe for seasoned mett comes from a German 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