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How to Make Homemade Brawn a Family Recipe
Chidhood Memories of Learning How to Cook
Now was the time not only to help my late dad, but also to learn some of his special cooking processes.
We had just been to the market to fill up our deep freezer with meat, this would take place every 4 to 6 months. After the various cuts of meats had been portioned and packed away, there were sundry items that were still in the refrigerator, and these needed to be processed
On a Sunday morning after breakfast my father and I would then make Brawn, a deli favourite of our family.
This was really a good meaty brawn in its own juices and natural jelly, not the cubed pieces of trimmed meat surrounded by a sea of packaged gelatin that you obtain from speciality butcheries these days.
This was not only an education but also a gastronomic treat for me, not only to help with the preparation and cooking process, but also to the clearing up. As the pot scrapings at the end of the entire process were really the thing to look forward to, the learning process was the butter and jam.
The Beginings Of Brawn - Making Use of Fresh Meat Trimmings
The process had its beginnings early Friday morning, when at 03h00, we went to the meat market. This was where all the major wholesale butcheries had a branch from where they received their purchased fresh carcases from the auctioneers at the abattoirs took delivery of the meat and sent it out to their various outlets, also the public could then buy directly from them at a wholesale price, in the market area.
It was always fascinating to watch the long lines of carcases, suspended by a hook through one of its hind legs, being trundled from one point to another along a vast network of overhead rails, which started at the docking bays and traced its way past and into the various allowed premises of the wholesale butcheries. Where they were sorted by type and grades.
Fascinated I would watch as whole carcases where being split down the middle and then quartered in some cases, labeled with grade and price per Pound weight and overall weight written on a piece of butchers brown paper, attached to the hind or forequarter or the side. All there for customers to decide what their specific requirements would be.
We would always go to the same outlet, and asked for the same block-man to attend to us.
Flashback to my Fathers Youth
In his youth my father would assist at the local butchery before school, sometimes even bunking school, as his mom confided to me, and on Saturdays. This was to be able to contribute to the overall income of the family.
The butchers in those early days had very odd times and started work at 03h00 in the morning and closed at 13h00 in the afternoon. This was where he was taught how to cut debone carcases and then eventually to also make processed meats. Of these a firm favourite was Brawn This was one of the processed meats he had been taught to make when he was a teenager many, many years ago.
The Brawn Process
When we had purchased the meat from the market, which was usually a hindquarter a whole lamb and some times a half a pig, but we also always bought a dozen pigs trotters.
We would never swap the bones and fat for mince as was then the common practice.
This we would take home with us for further use, which I will now divulge to you dear readers. .
There is no table of ingredients other the the washed and rinsed bones and whole trotters, some salt and pepper to taste as well as some mixed herbs.
The entire bone collection or harvest would then go into very large pot with some boiling water which would simmer away gently for several hours until the separates from the bone with only a slight shake or a flick of the knife.
This is a gentle process as you do want some chunky bits of meat as well as the meat shreds. The resulting liquid and the stripped bones in the pot is thick gelatinous rue with all slivers and bits of meat.
Pour the mixture into large Pyrex bowls an let them cool down, if you do not have enough bowls use a greased loaf tin.
Once cooled down to room temperature, cover and place them in the fridge.
There you have now made some homemade brawn.
Read a bit more about Sausages and the makings of
How to eat it
The best way of eating this is as a snack supper or lunch with a selection of breads, rolls and bagels. Some salad greens and a fresh Potato salad.
Great on Rye Bread and a good German or English Mustard.
A quick and easy Stew
Take a large slice of the brawn, boil up some potatoes and mixed vegetables, a teaspoon of curry powder, drain the vegetables and drop in the slice of brawn, fry it up, there a quick stick to ribs type curry.