Where’s the Beef?

This article by Suzie Freeman appeared first in the Lee County Weekly, August 6, 1987. Just about everybody mentioned in the article is Wendish.

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Every Saturday from early spring through summer, a bunch from over around Warda get together for a meeting of the Friendly Beef Club. They have been gathering back behind B&B Store, on Highway 77, since 1960.

The club grew out of the lack of a local meat market. Ernest Hobratschk organized the group of 29 members, in an effort to provide fresh meat for the members and their families.

Brothers, Arthur and E.A. “Fritz” Lehmann, do the butchering early in the morning at the farm of the member providing the calf that week. After the calf is slaughtered and cooled down, it is carried to the little building behind B&B, and the fun begins.

The members begin to drift in early in the afternoon. The person furnishing that week’s calf also furnishes a keg of beer and food for the gathering crowd.

The calf is cut up and divided by lot. The Lehmann brothers make twelve pound piles of assorted steaks, roasts, and chops and place a number on each pile. The members then draw a number to correspond with each of the piles. The member furnishing the calf gets the excess. No meat is ever sold.

The men start playing dominoes at the tables set up under the shed next to the butcher shop. The ladies bring lawn chairs and gather under the trees to laugh and visit.

“I don’t know if we (the ladies) were really invited,” laughed Lorene Bamsch, wife of Walter Bamsch, one of the members.

The club started out as just a means to provide meat for its members. Only the men attended. It gradually grew into a social occasion. At first they only had one get together each year that included the families. Now, everyone comes and spends the afternoon together.

“They had to have someone come and eat all the food,” the ladies said. The group butchers each week, beginning the first Saturday before Easter, for at least 20 weeks. They draw numbers for the sequence in which each one will furnish the calf.

Ernest Hobratschk, Monroe Jurk, Fred Zoch, Oswald Hobratschk, G.A. Koenig, Lloyd Moerbe, and Walter Schultz are charter members of the group.

Sometimes they make a concoction called “GAK’s Raw Meal Special,” a sort of uncooked beef spread, which they eat on crackers. The recipe was given to G.A. “Colonel” Koenig, by a German brewmeister from San Antonio.

“Colonel” Koenig is the group’s oldest member. His title was bestowed on him by Governor Buford Jester, after Colonel Koenig, then President of the Morticians Association of Texas, headed up the handling of the Texas City disaster. The title was a reward for the difficult task of coordinating the identification and burial of the victims of that tragic accident.

This club has butchered 574 times in its 28 year history. A lot of Saturday afternoons have been whiled away by this congenial group under the trees in the little shed back of B&B Store at Warda.

Other members of the club arc: Arthur Lehmann, Benjamin Buscha, Collin Pietsch, Robert Hentschel, Roy Kuhn, Harvey Hobratschk, Walter Bamsch, Albert Mitschke, Eugene Hunger, Leslie Schuster, Robert Lehmann, Ralph Bamsch, E.A. Lehmann, Walter Lehmann, Calvin Tschatschula, Hugo Matthijetz, Albert Loehr, Harold Hunger, Raymond Buscha, Marvin Unger, Willie Wagner, and Clarence Richter.

Following is a recipe for GAK’s Raw Meal Special, which Colonel Koenig was kind enough to divulge to me and now to all of you.

Thank you, Colonel.

GAK’s Raw Meat Special

(Perissa)

10 lbs. lean beef (trimmed-no fat), cut up

1-1/4 lbs. lean boiled ham, cut up

3/4 lb. yellow cheese, cut up

1 apple, add just before grinding (cut up)

2 tomatoes, cut up

Juice of 6 lemons (about 6 oz.)

3 large onions, cut up

5 to 7 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded & cut up

20 stuffed olives

3 medium dill pickles, cut up 2 sticks celery, cut up

20 oz. A-1 Sauce (more may be added according to taste)

10 oz. Lea & Perrins Worchestershire Sauce (more if desired)

10 oz. Heinz Steak Sauce

About 3 oz. Lawrey Salt, added to taste

4 oz. or more Accent

Salt – about 1-1/4 oz., add to taste

Black Pepper – 1 oz. or more, add to taste

Cube the meat, ham, cheese, add all ingredients. Add seasoning, mix thoroughly and grind thru a very fine blade. Mix again and taste for flavor. If more seasoning is needed, add and mix. Run thru the grinder again. Should be run thru grinder at least twice. Three times is best.

Hot sauce or pepper sauce may be added when serving.

Serve with crackers and cold beer.

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Posted in The Wendish Research Project.

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