Skip to comments.'Cannibal Sandwiches' Sicken Wisconsin Residents ('Tiger Meat' & 'Steak Tartare' Come with E. Coli)
Posted on 12/05/2013 7:52:49 PM PST by DogByte6RER
'Cannibal sandwiches' sicken Wisconsin residents
MILWAUKEE "Cannibal sandwiches," an appetizer featuring raw, lean ground beef served on cocktail bread, may be a Wisconsin tradition, but they are not safe, health officials said, noting that more than a dozen people became ill after consuming them last holiday season.
Health officials confirmed four cases tied to E. coli bacteria and 13 likely cases in people who ate the sandwiches at several gatherings late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a report issued this week. The meat came from a Watertown market that later recalled more than 2,500 pounds of meat.
Cannibal sandwiches were tied to outbreaks in Wisconsin in 1972, 1978 and 1994. The appetizer, also called "tiger meat," ''steak tartare" or simply "ground beef," is usually a simple dish of lean ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper on rye cocktail bread with sliced raw onion, said Milwaukee historian John Gurda, who served it at his 1977 wedding reception. Occasionally, a raw egg will be mixed with the meat.
Cannibal sandwiches have been a festive dish in German, Polish and other ethnic communities in the Milwaukee area since the 19th century, Gurda said. The 66-year-old said it was once common to see them at wedding receptions, meals following funerals and Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. The dish has become less common in recent years with greater awareness of the risks of uncooked meat and fewer people eating beef, but Gurda said he still runs into it.
"It's like a coarse pate and when you put the onions on, there's a crunch as well and that kind of cuts the softness," he said.
Keith Meyer, who runs L&M Meats, a Kenosha butcher shop started by his father, recalled his German grandfather and other "old guys" gobbling the ground beef when he was growing up. With his grandfather gone, Meyer's family no longer serves the dish, but the 57-year-old said,
"It's really not that bad, if you get by the texture of it." "It's like eating a cold hamburger that's a little on the raw side," Meyer added.
His butcher shop sells 50 to 100 pounds of freshly ground round on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and perhaps a day before those holidays to people wishing to make cannibal sandwiches. Glenn's Market and Catering, the Watertown butcher involved in the recall, does a similar holiday business, vice president Jeff Roberts said.
Both stores label their ground beef with warnings about consuming raw or undercooked meat, but the men said it's unlikely people are buying it to cook. With the fat trimmed off before grinding, the meat is too lean to make a decent hamburger, Meyer said.
Carol Quest, director of the Watertown health department, said its investigation found no health or other violations at Glenn's Market. It's hard to say what happened to the meat once it left the store, she said.
"The big message is that people need to cook their food properly and make sure they're taking temperatures of their meat," Quest said.
Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees as measured with a food thermometer.
The state health and agriculture departments issued a warning Thursday telling residents to avoid cannibal sandwiches, and Quest said her department plans one as well. Its investigation into the E. coli outbreak, which included interviews with more than 50 people who ordered meat from Glenn's, found some weren't aware of the dangers but others felt safe because they'd eaten the dish before with no ill effects, she said.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection include stomach cramps and diarrhea. It can lead to kidney failure, particularly in the elderly, children and people with weak immune systems.
Roberts said some of his employees eat tiger meat, but he doesn't.
"I'm not into raw meat," he said. "I cook all mine."
Had some friends from WI that loved them. I always asked how much do you trust your butcher?
Steak Tartare.. If you are dealing with a reputable, high volume restaurant, with authentic ethnic French cuisine, it shouldn’t be a concern.. My restaurants served thousands of orders of Tartare over the years..
However, I wouldn’t trust the butcher unless they supplied high quality meats, to the types of restaurants that I described..
3 medium oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional, adjust salt if added), rinsed and minced
2 teaspoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
10 ounces USDA prime beef tenderloin, cut into small dice, covered, and refrigerated
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon crushed chile flakes (optional)
Combine anchovies (if using), capers, and mustard in a nonreactive bowl. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash ingredients until evenly combined; mix in egg yolks.
Use a rubber spatula to fold remaining ingredients into mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with toast points or french fries.
We had it all the time as a kid. I loved it....
Call out the SWAT team. This is clearly far more reckless than those who would serve unpasteurized milk Heaven forbid.
Can’t they irradiate the raw meat without cooking it to kill bacteria? Maybe this is a bit expensive.
What do you call a cannibal who ate his mother-in-law? Gladiator!
Anyway, nothing wrong with a cannibal sandwich. My fave: two slices pump rye shmeared each with horseradish & Texas Pete & purest 99% ground round in between. Wunderbar!
That’s good old steak tartare; everybody knows that.
Trying that recipe soon. Thanks
Found the item in question. Mettbrotchen. But the Europeans use raw pork. Raw pork....with diced onions on a buttered bun.
Unless you’re a cow, it’s not a ‘cannibal’ sandwich.
We go to a good German restaurant in Milwaukee sometimes, and we love the tar-tar, but it is served with a few meat patties, and all the capers, onions and cracked black pepper on the side (by cracked, I mean, like just cracked in half peppercorns, very coarse, like they smashed once with the flat of a knife), and the patties have a little divot in the middle where the raw egg sits.
You just kinda build your own fork full and share.
Yeah, I was going to lay that all out for any raw meat eating fools that might be reading this but I figured this was just natures way of getting rid of them so why interfere.
Tell your butcher that you are buying the meat for this purpose so he knows to give you FRESH meat.. Enjoy.. :)
Pork is one of those meats that should always be cooked thoroughly. I will always err on the side of overcooked with pork in fact. Fact is, it’s just good practice to overcook all meat even though, I will admit, it tastes better bloody and rare. You gotta denature those vegetative spores, bacteria, viruses, and prions and that means turning up the heat.
You presentation is the method I was raised on.. We changed it for hyper health reasons, by blending the yoke in the mixture..
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.