Division of Vienna

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An essential part of the slaughter of cattle is the correct division of the usable parts of the slaughtered animal. Through the separation of different meat parts and qualities, a very specific cooking culture has developed over time, which is part of everyday life in Vienna .

In today's so-called international division method, this is done in such a way that the animal is halved and then divided into a fore and a hind quarter above the fifth rib. In this case, the front quarter consists of the pointed and shoulder, the rear quarter of the English quarter, the Schlegel or the club and the Riedhüfel.

The Viennese method for dividing beef is only practiced in Austria today in a few cases; compared to the international method, there are five parts. The breast is separated as a whole and is divided into two parts: the breast head and the tailcoat, which can be further subdivided.

Classification of slaughter cattle for the gourmet kitchen

  • Fattened steers: four to six years old, the meat is lively red marbled and therefore streaked with fat, pink bone marrow
  • Alpine ox: young bull, 2.5–3 years old, that has spent at least two summers on a mountain pasture and has not been brought to weight solely with fattening feed. Addition of fattening feed proportions in winter stables is common.
  • Fattened bulls: at least 1.5 years old, copper-colored meat and yellow fat
  • Fattened non-pregnant cows: 3–5 years old, dark red meat with little yellow fat

History of beef for Viennese cuisine

In the late Middle Ages, beef was one of the cheapest foods for the urban population. Meat consumption fell from 100 kg per capita to around 20 kg per year at the beginning of the 19th century. The Berlin travel writer Nicolai remarked that the Viennese consumed significantly more meat than the Berlin population, but less than the Londoners.

The supply of beef to the Viennese population was influenced by political circumstances. B. the Turkish wars the supply sensitive. The butchers were urged to provide the population with sufficient cheap beef, if this was not possible. B. In 1561 the city gave a slaughter premium to support meat prices.

Originally, beef was not sold separately by type, but only by weight. According to an ordinance of the Viennese magistrate from 1460, beef was only allowed to be sold by weight, only the roast lungs could be charged separately. As a result, the so-called additional weight was an essential part of the beef price, this comprised at least 10% of what was bought, and consisted of so-called "Ingereisch", which can be translated as "entrails", but not the intestines. This included feet , graves, haubtschedl and Vozmaull . Later also Wadschunken , this had to be paid by the customer. Otherwise, the butchers would have been left with the inferior pieces of meat. So the buyer of the “four front gueten Praten” had to add a quarter of “Fleckh” ( tripe ).

On February 21, 1873, the Vienna City Council decided on the ox qualification table as an analysis of cookable oxenism , as the columnist Friedrich Schlögl humorously described in the newspaper "Wiener Blut". The previous work of the well-known butcher Bahl in the basement of the Vienna wholesale market hall: “[...] an anachronistic remnant of ridiculously honest banking, because the ox - the most undemanding animal in creation - has finally been brought to its true value after the founding era, according to its real properties appraised and appraised, qualified and classified by the unselfish scholars of our Approvisioning Section down to the smallest detail. "

The ox was now officially dismantled into 22 parts, contrary to the previous six parts. This can be explained as parts previously considered to be inferior, such as the wadschunken, were only given to customers as an addition to other high-quality meat parts.

Importance of beef in Austrian cuisine

The long tradition has been described in detail, but the tradition of boiled beef in Vienna only dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Among other things, it is attributed to the fact that, apart from the courtly ceremonies, Emperor Franz Josef I referred to boiled beef as a permanent part of his private table and also as one of his favorite dishes. This is mentioned several times in the literature and thus found its way into the menu of the "middle-class" households of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Until then, the best or even the right method of preparation, whether boiled or fried, was a matter of great dispute for a long time. Fried beef was & a. described as more significant, because this would have existed before the invention of the pot, and cooking would also lose much of the meat's contents. However, the Austrians were not influenced by international criticism in this case, although Jean Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin concluded the following about the cooked beef in his book “La Physiologie du Goût” (The Physiology of Taste, which was translated into German in 1865) in his 1826 book said:

The people in the trade never eat cooked beef, on the one hand out of respect for the strict principles and on the other hand because they have proclaimed this indisputable truth from the high chair: The meat of the soup is meat without juice.

The same goes for the German author, politician and psychiatrist Antonius Anthus , whose real name was Gustav P. Blumröder, in his lectures on the art of eating, published as a book in 1838:

“As a rule, the sweet soup is followed by the sweet boiled beef, to which it owes its existence, without which it would not be in the world. And this boiled and boiled, sap-free and powerless fibrous tissue, which has already served as a means to another end, this caput mortuum, this disdainful scrap, this already used leftover, this old woman's summer is considered a meal! "

The French chef Antoine Carême was more friendly: Beef is the soul of good cuisine, which in turn Joseph Wechsberg concluded: Cooked beef is the soul of Viennese cuisine.

All of this gave rise to an inn tradition in Vienna in which more than 24 different beef dishes are served in different places. But not only the offer was and is large, the expertise of the Viennese guesthouse visitors is also celebrated with great seriousness in some establishments.

Quality classification in Austria

1st quality: Lungenbraten, Beiried, Ried, Hüferschwanzel, white Scherzel, black Scherzel (local tail and snatted tail).
2nd quality: shoulder tail, shoulder saddle, pointed (all types), reed cover.
3. Quality: Riedhüfel, Zwergried, brisket, cones, Kügerl and chisel meat.
4. Quality: crown or belly meat, comb, stitch lobes, tristle, earwang, Bibergoschen, Bratzel, Wadschunken, bow schnitzel, thick and thin ox drag.

The division of Austria

The following illustration follows the expanded traditional Viennese division.


The forequarter consists of the pointed and the shoulder. In Vienna this part is also called the bug. This is divided into:


  • Tristle , also called Drüstel or Front Triggered. It is a coarse-grained, low-fat meat that is used in small dishes. The origin of the word goes back to Droß, Droßel , mhd. Drüzzel , throat or throat.
  • The beef comb , the top part, which is strong and streaked with fat, is usually cured or smoked.
  • The rear triggered , this part extends from the Tristel to the Rostbratenried . It is a marbled, very juicy meat that is mainly used for stewing. This part also includes the inedible so-called leg or hair wax.
  • The spitz is divided into the Gnackspitz (neck ...), the thick spitz or also called Rippenspitz (that is the middle, up to the fifth rib) and the Kruspelspitz (Kruspel = cartilage), which sits "hidden" under the shoulder . The Kavalierspitz is directly below. In addition, there is the thin point in the lower part (from the sixth to the eighth rib). What they all have in common is that it is coarse-grained, juicy, well-swelling boiled meat, only the Kruspelspitz is streaked with cartilage.
  • The beef breast consists of the tip of the breast or the core of the breast (the best part of the breast), as well as the thick, medium and thin kegs. Breast tip and Dickes Kügerl form a hearty, fat-surrounded, but not permeated, boiled meat, but require longer cooking.

Additional components of the front quarter are:

  • The crown meat , the meat that has grown on the inside of the ribs (part of the diaphragm).
  • The tailcoat is a piece of meat consisting of belly meat and belly lapperl, which is also part of the peg meat.
  • The stabbing meat is on the lower part of the neck.
  • The ear cheek , there is the thick and the thin.
  • The ox palate, also known as ox mouth or gam, is used to make ox mouth salad.
  • The muzzle , even beaver Goschn called, is the edible part of the mouth.
  • The beef tongue is usually cooked smoked or cured.


  • Above the shoulder, the outer part above the Rostbratenried is called Rieddeckel or Zwerchried , which is used as soup meat and for stewing.
  • The lean chisel , derived from the Latin word musculus ( muscle ), is a smaller, easily divisible part of the muscle. Anatomically, it is the supraspinatus muscle .
  • The Kavalierspitz is a very juicy delicacy that keeps its shape when steamed.
  • Underneath is the very small ridge meat, which weighs only 500 g and is rarely separately released .
  • The fat chisel is a larger piece that covers the lean chisel and is used as goulash meat because it takes longer to cook .
  • The juicy, rather sinewy shoulder jerk is processed as boiled or goulash meat. Anatomically it is the infraspinatus muscle .
  • The thick shoulder , the main part of the shoulder, is suitable for simmering and steaming. Anatomically, it is the triceps brachii muscle .
  • The front Wadschinken , the Bugschnitzel and the Front Pratzel prove their juiciness and sinewy parts in the production of goulash.
  • The Ludel of unclear word origin is a muscle that is attached to the thigh bone , is usually not triggered separately and is well suited for boiling and steaming.

The breast

The chest is made up of

  • the chest core or head and the

Tailcoat that made

  • the big Kügerl,
  • the middle Kügerl,
  • the thin Kügerl and
  • the belly


The division of the breast as the fifth part is the main difference between the Viennese and the international division. Breast kernel and Kügerl make good meat for boiling and stewing of the third quality level, whereby the belly meat is more likely to be used as pound meat .


The rear quarter consists of the so-called English, the Knöpfel (Schlegel or Keule) and the Riedhüfel. In Vienna the rear part is also called Diech (Diach, mhd. For thighs of humans and animals ).


A jointed piece of meat from English and Knöpfel is called a nozzle or pistol


After the longitudinal division, English means half the back from the 7th thoracic vertebra to the 6th lumbar vertebra (shoulder height to the base of the tail). It consists of

The Knöpfel (Schlögel or Club)

The button consists of the upper and lower leg including the pelvis and sacrum. The separation takes place between the 6th lumbar vertebra and the sacrum Designations for different cuts are:

  • the shell (Ortschwanzel)
  • the Schalblattel (called bat in Vienna)
  • the cone
  • the tail of the tail (rose)
  • the Hieferscherzel
  • the boiled beef
  • the table piece
  • the stooped, also called the black joke
  • the white joke
  • the Gschnatter, or the so-called bleed
  • the rear ham (also called wadschunken in Vienna)
  • the Bratzel, the front part as well
  • the fat and the thin ox drag

The Riedhüfel

The Riedhüfel consists of:

  • the Zwerchried or rib meat
  • the Riedhüfel, also called Schlemmried

Jerk meat

See also: Bruckfleisch (traditional dish of the same name from Austrian or Viennese cuisine)

The name comes from the word Schlagbrücke or slaughter bridge and describes cheap, inferior meat, which in many cases did not go on sale with the offal, but was sold directly to buyers as fresh meat in the slaughterhouse. Bruckfleisch includes crown meat, tailcoat and stab meat. It also includes the heart, lungs, liver, sweetbreads and lights (tubes of the heart, aorta).


Individual evidence

  1. From a Viennese meat statute of June 3, 1574.
  2. Meat bank is also called the slaughterhouse in Austria.
  3. Hess, Scheichelbauer and Sirowy: Servierkunde. An auxiliary book for serving lessons in inns and hoteliers' schools, 1912, 3rd ed.
  4. Quoted from Antonius Anthus: Lectures on the art of eating. Wigand, Leipzig 1838, p. 210 f. ( Digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  5. Maier-Bruck: The great Sacher cookbook. P. 207 ff.

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