Hermann Brenner kleinste Fleischerei des Mühlviertels
- pets allowed
- All weather
Hermann Brenner Jr. runs the smallest butcher's shop in the Mühlviertel in the style of his father's old craftsmanship.The chemical process engineer and trained master butcher took over his father's slaughtering and butchering business as a part-time farmer in 2000. Since then, Hermann Brenner has been producing the finest meat products in Vorderweißenbach in the upper Mühlviertel. There are always seven to eight cows in the barn in Piberschlag, whose milk exclusively feeds the calves - the abattoir is 100 metres away from the barn.
The cattle are slaughtered to order by the catering trade and private individuals - but only if a good proportion of the animal, from calf's head to tail, has been sold.
Fleisch & Co was a guest and was allowed to look over the experienced shoulder at work. From the report by
Fleisch & Co - the Austrian butcher's magazine 17 June 2019
The Mühlviertel innkeepers and top restaurateurs in the surrounding area appreciate the high quality standards of Mr Brenner. Specialities such as trimmed veal head with tongue, veal brains and sweetbreads, veal liver, brisket and kidneys, genuine Wiener schnitzel or osso bucco cut from the hind leg are delivered by Hermann Brenner Sr. directly after cutting. This is important to them, as the products are explained and new ideas defined in personal discussions with chefs.
Fleisch & Co met the two Brenners for a chat:
Your veal is considered one of the most exciting in the whole region. What do you do differently?
Brenner jun.: "We work the old school way, everything by hand. I don't have the time pressure that large companies put on their workers when cutting up meat. It takes us longer, but the pieces are great. I remove the hide with a knife. The machine leaves too much fat on the skin, but the fat should remain on the meat as a flavour carrier. What's more, the layer of fat on the calf prevents it from drying out in the cold store, so the meat stays juicy!
The female dairy calf is inherently fatter than the male, which is why 98% of the animals slaughtered are females, with the males going to bull fattening. And as the boss myself, I'm allowed to work without gloves, so I simply have more feeling when unhooking the calves."
Brenner Sr: "I started slaughtering in 1978, the EU slaughterhouse was built in 2010 and the distance to the barn is now 100 metres. This means almost stress-free slaughtering and a measurably lower pH value in the meat. The welfare of the animals is very important to me, which is why we built a large run for our cattle. I buy in expensive concentrated feed and grain to make the meat fatter. Otherwise I have my own feed: silage, hay and grass. We fertilise exclusively with our own animal manure, the climate is harsh, there is a lot of grassland. Our animals have at least fat cover three, that's the fat that's grown in, that's the best. You have to be able to grasp that, like the muscling."
How difficult is it to survive as a small farm?
Brenner sen. & jun.: "We already have a unique selling point due to our quality standards. But we don't export like the big players. We also don't supply chains that engage in price dumping during meat promotions and earn their money elsewhere.
On the other hand, we have to comply with EU standards, which is of course much more costly for a small business than for a large one; there is no middle ground, not for the big ones and not for the small ones. Everyone has to constantly implement new laws. The people who make the laws often have very little idea of what works in practice; what works for the big company often doesn't work for the small one. I would like to see new laws not being added all the time, but that we leave existing laws as they are and adapt them where necessary."
Do you only slaughter your own animals?
Brenner Sr: "We have seven or eight cows, most of which also have seven to eight calves. However, we also buy in calves between ten and 20 days old, which we then feed to a maximum slaughter weight of 150 kg. We fatten a few to slaughter them as calves at the age of two.
Is "dry age" an issue?
Brenner jun.: "No! The calf is mature at two years old, and after it has been hung for 10 to 14 days, it has the best meat flavour."
Author: Katharina Stögmüller