Eichsfelder Feldgieker

Eichsfelder Feldgieker carries PGI 2013 classification. Eichsfelder Feldgieker is a firm, fermented sausage with a typical, slightly acidic taste. The Eichsfeld is a historical region in south-eastern Lower Saxony and north-western Thuringia. The region has a long tradition of sausage-making, especially the manufacture of ‘Eichsfelder Feldgieker’, which is documented in many published literature sources the earliest dated in 1718.

The sausage is made from pork with the typical seasonings (pepper, black or white, coriander) stuffed into sausage casings, bladder-shaped (calf's bladder, linen bag, protein casing). High-quality meat from pigs with an extended fattening period and a slaughter weight of at least 130 kg is used. To meet such requirement Deutsches Landschwein or Deutsches Edelschwein breeds are usually selected. The meat is from selected meat parts (muscle, thighs, back; as fat, only firm belly and back fat). After slaughtering, the pork must still be warm when production begins. Warm meat has the best water holding capacity, is more tender and better for processing, however, the time when meat must be processed is very short. The non-refrigerated meat must be transported no more than two hours, and processed no more than four hours, after slaughter otherwise meat will enter the "post mortem" phase and the meat will stiffen. Needless to say the entire process from the slaughter to finished product can be accomplished only when the operation takes place in one locality. The meat used to produce ‘Eichsfelder Feldgieker’ comes exclusively from slaughterhouses which are licensed to deliver warm meat. "Eichsfelder Feldgieker" is the only Feldgieker sausage for which the meat is processed warm (it is not used for Göttinger Feldgieker). It is only in the Eichsfeld that Feldgieker are made from warm meat. This processing of the meat when it is still warm contributes to the special quality of the Feldgieker.

Traditionally the production took place in fermenting/drying chambers which had been in operation for a number of decades so they developed natural flora that would react with meat and produce a constant quality product. Nowadays, any climate controlled chamber will do as the laboratory-made bacteria flora in the form of starter cultures is introduced into the meat. The size of the sausage varies, diameter from 80-150 mm (3-6"), length 15-30 cm (6-12"), pre-sliced product with diameter of not less than 65 mm. Production (fermenting/drying) time depends mainly on the diameter of the casing, the sausage us usually done when it looses 33% of its original weight. The sausage is firm to cut, normally pear-shaped, having a bright red color.

MeatsMetricUS
Lean pork (shoulder)700 g1.54 lb
Pork back fat300 g0.66 lb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt28 g5 tsp
Cure #22.5 g1/2 tsp
Pepper2.0 g1 tsp
Dextrose3.0 g1/2 tsp
Sugar3.0 g1/2 tsp
Coriander0.5 g1/4 tsp
Caraway, ground0.3 g1/8 tsp
T-SPX culture0.12 guse scale
Instructions
  1. Grind meat and fat through 3-6 mm (1/8-1/4”) plate.
  2. Dissolve culture in 1 tablespoon of de-chlorinated water 30 minutes before use.
  3. Mix ground meat with salt and cure #2. Add ground fat, spices and the culture and mix all together.
  4. Stuff into pork or calf's bladder, blind cap (caecum) or 65 mm beef middles. Make 6-12” (15-30 cm) links.
  5. Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90-85% humidity.
  6. Ferment/dry at 18º C (64º F), 85-80% humidity for 24 hours.
  7. Dry for 5-6 weeks at 15 → 12º C (59 → 54º F), 80 → 75% humidity until the sausage looses 33% of its original weight. The diameter of the sausage influences the drying time.
Notes
Eichsfelder Feldgieker sausage is often stuffed into a linen bag or bladder or pear-shaped casings.
In 1844, a full description of the "Feldkyker" (field watcher) was given: "Feldkyker " is a long Schlackwurst (sausage) in a thick natural casing which may have derived its name from the fact that when it – the long variety – is placed in a trouser pocket or hunting bag it sticks out of the pocket or bag and looks into the field. The base end is called the Feldkyke which at the thickest end is made of intestine (Die goldene Mark Duderstadt, Carl Hellrung, 1844).
The Feldgieker, also known Feldkieker, a type of German salami was already known in 1488 in the Hessian Büraberg near Fritzlar.

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