Deutschland produces meat the Old World way
By Renae B. Vander Schaaf
Date Modified: 06/14/2012 3:00 PM
SANBORN, Minn. — It's a familiar story.
An immigrant from Germany comes to our shores, works diligently and saves to become a successful business owner. The only twist is that instead of it being 1889, it was 1989.
Martin Ziegler came to the United States because an American woman had captured his heart.
He lived frugally while working in landscaping, construction and car repair. He eventually volunteered to teach the art of processing meat at the University of Minnesota. Later, he became a business consultant in the food industry.
"Food has been in my family for many generations," said Ziegler, speaking with a German accent. "My dad was a master butcher."
Ziegler grew up in the Black Forest region of Germany, which he called beautiful country in the southwest corner of the nation. The towns are surrounded by forests and mountains.
Being a business consultant here required him to fly across the United States. His wife, Joyce, didn't like him being gone so much, so she suggested he create his own business, so he established Deutschland Meats. The family was also growing. Daughters Alexandra and Andrea were born.
"I knew that the Bassett Meats business in Sanborn had been sold to Wimmer Meats in Nebraska," said Ziegler.
He thought that the Bassett Meats building might be for sale; it was. He purchased it in 1998 and lived in its upstairs for several years.
Meat cases and counters were added to the retail area and other equipment was brought in for production.
"When I came from Germany, I took a thousand recipes with me," ssaid Ziegler. "Through the years, more have been added."
Deutschland produces an array of sausages, bratwurst, wieners and fresh meats. Meat is processed either in Sanborn or in the Zieglers' other location in Lindstrom, which Joyce manages.
Meat from both plants is sold in various stores and to restaurants. The Glockenspiel Restaurant in St. Paul was one of the customers. When the owner's widow wanted to close the business, Ziegler purchased it. The restaurant was and remains renowned for its authentic German fare and atmosphere.
Using Old World methods, Ziegler doesn't cut corners on ingredients or processing methods.
"In Germany, a different meat selection system is used to process sausages,'' he said. "There are a lot of different components to the different types of meat."
Certain types of fats have different consistencies and should be used for certain sausages. Deutschland selects sausage material to best fit each type of sausage. Some processes extract the protein more than others and those need to be used for special sausages.
Ziegler said there is a big difference in spices, so he selects his suppliers based on the best and freshest spices available. If the spice is old, the natural oils dissipate and the flavor suffers.
Also, time is of the essence.
"The Black Forest ham is cold smoked the authentic way," said Ziegler. "No one really makes it that way anymore. It takes five to six months but results in a ham with an unbelievable flavor."
Deutschland is Minnesota's largest full-line processor, according to the business' website. Its product is sold under the Deutschland brand, New Ulm Sausage, the Sportsman Brand and as many other private labels. The specialty German sausages can be found at the Zieglers' two locations and in grocery stores. A convenient way to order is through the website, www.deutschlandmeats.com.