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Get your tiger meat to go at Meridian Corner, located south of Freeman at the intersection of Highways 81 and 18.
Get your tiger meat to go at Meridian Corner, located south of Freeman at the intersection of Highways 81 and 18.
Tiger meat is made with raw beef mixed with spices and served with saltines.
Tiger meat is made with raw beef mixed with spices and served with saltines.

It's Not Made From Real Tigers

Sep 14, 2012

It’s always a surprise when something common to you turns out to be quite strange and exotic to someone else. A friend and I recently went up to Meridian Corner, a watering hole located south of Freeman at the intersection of Highways 81 and 18, to sample their chislic and fleisch kuechle. He noticed a sign on the wall for tiger meat. He asked, “Is it made from real…?” “No, of course not,” I interrupted.

Apparently there are a lot of folks in this world who are entirely unfamiliar with tiger meat. Wikipedia hints that it’s more common in Midwestern states with large populations of German immigrants, but my Minnesota-born chum descended from Wisconsin Germans had never heard of the stuff. It’s a raw beef concoction, ground and heavily spiced, served with saltine crackers and beer. 

It may sound strange, but it’s a relative of the once popular steak tartare. Concerns about E. coli and other foodborne pathogens led to a decline in popularity for both dishes, but if you have a good immune system and a trustworthy butcher, the risks are not as great. But the butcher my family buys the savory snack from requested that I not mention his tiger meat supply, implying strongly that you have to know what it is and how to handle it in order to consume it safely.

People braver than I am make their own — but they know their beef is from a good source and they grind the meat themselves using well-sterilized equipment.  Since I believe in leaving preparation to the tiger meat-making professionals, the following recipe is presented for educational purposes only.


Tiger Meat

From Random Riff-Raff

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 8 hours. Spread on crackers. Do not eat after 2 days.



10:47 am - Sat, September 15 2012
*Just Fran* said:
Tiger Meat was a staple at every event held at one of my former workplaces. I hadn't heard of it before sampling it there, but grew to love it. A local butcher prepared it, but that grocery store has since closed. I know a couple area people do make their own and commonly see it mentioned in football party and Christmas cocktail menus. I think one area bar may also offer it from time to time. However, my German descendent (with Colorado roots) husband only knows of it from the bar offerings. His family never made it.
06:33 am - Sun, September 16 2012
Jason said:
It is available from a butcher in Yankton County.

I was told the original recipes were not ground beef but fine chopped sirloin.

It is delicious and I could eat it every day.
11:32 am - Sun, September 16 2012
Carolyn said:
They serve it at Wisconsin wedding receptions with plenty of raw onions and rye bread.GVHP9
12:49 pm - Mon, September 17 2012
Laura said:
Fran - Yeah, my dad has friends that make it at home, but it's pretty rare for it to be available commercially due to the health issues. I know a lot of folks are disgusted by it, but to me it's no different than eating sushi.

Jason - It makes me a little sad that something so good must be kept secret.

Carolyn - Where at in Wisconsin are we talking? I would LOVE it with extra raw onions, but would miss the extra salt of the crackers.
07:51 am - Wed, September 19 2012
Elayne said:
My mom ate what she called tiger meat whenever we had meatloaf or hamburgers, but in her case, she simply lopped off a couple "fingers" worth and ate the raw hamburger with no spices.
05:22 am - Thu, September 20 2012
Jim said:
It is no different than eating sushi. Eating raw meat is a bad idea.Even caveman cooked food.The best thing to do with tiger meat or steak tartare is make a patty and grill it.Then you can top the burger with onions, capers whatever.Very little risk of food poisoning or parasites.
08:32 am - Fri, September 28 2012
mary said:
I agree with Jim. Raw meat, raw fish and raw eggs are dangerous to eat these days. It is a sad reality.
07:58 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Karla said:
Kesslers in Aberdeen sells this in the butcher case. Practically everytime my husband goes to Aberdeen he has to buy a pound (or 2) to bring home.
08:04 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Larry said:
We have had Tiger meat several times and it is really good. I am originaly from Clark South Dakota and they have a locker plant that makes it and it is really good. They also have many other meats that one don't find too often.
08:04 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Larry said:
We have had Tiger meat several times and it is really good. I am originaly from Clark South Dakota and they have a locker plant that makes it and it is really good. They also have many other meats that one don't find too often.
08:04 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Larry said:
We have had Tiger meat several times and it is really good. I am originaly from Clark South Dakota and they have a locker plant that makes it and it is really good. They also have many other meats that one don't find too often.
08:17 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Jerry said:
"Tiger Meat" is called "Raw Hack" in German communities here in Missouri. Good stuff - particularly with beer.
10:40 am - Thu, October 4 2012
Don Richardt said:
We here in wis we call it wild cat. can be found at any meat market
10:07 pm - Fri, October 12 2012
Dave Frost said:
I used to go to the Meat Market at West Sioux Hardware- now long gone- a used furniture store now. I bought lean round steak and had the butcher grind it with chopped onions, load up on crackers, cheese and pepper and headed back to our favorite watering hole on Burnside, nest tot he Star-Lite Drive-in, to share with whoever of the gang was there. Been a very long time now- 45 years ago-WOW. but great with a good beer anytime.
06:37 pm - Fri, March 22 2013
Jim M said:
Some of you are worried about eating raw hamburger because of food safety issues. Well there is one way around that. You can purchase irradiated hamburger from this has been irradiated for safety. Irradiation kills any bateria that may be in the meat.
06:32 pm - Mon, August 26 2013
Brigid said:
I love raw beef, and tiger meat is my favorite way to eat it. I am Wisconsin born and bred, and in my family it is a christmas tradition. Served wonderfully spiced and cold with rye or saltines with onions both raw fresh or lightly fridge pickled. I am the black sheep of the family however because I like mine with a splash of worcestershire. I can def understand concerns about raw beef, and count my self extra blessed that my father keeps a few head of beef cattle and grinds it himself so we know the quality of the meat and the cleanliness of the butchering and processing since we do it our selves.
04:23 pm - Sun, December 1 2013
Richard Hatzenbuhler said:
I also love tiger meat. I buy it every time I go back home. They have a store named Butchers Block in Mandan, ND. that sells it. They have been making nit for years
10:56 am - Tue, December 3 2013
jordan said:
I never tried it but I want to it looks good and you guys make it sound good!!
10:31 pm - Mon, January 6 2014
mike said:
There is an awesome place called dw meats in the bismarck mandan area that makes the best tiger meat I've ever had! They also do blood sausage which I couldn't find anywhere else.
03:13 pm - Mon, April 14 2014
Charlie Hatfield said:
Back in 1975, I was teaching and coaching in Winner, SD. Every week at the QB Club meeting we would have "Tiger Meat" . . . I loved it! DRank a few beers with it, too.

03:49 pm - Wed, March 25 2015
Heather said:
I remember going to different places in Winner, SD with my Uncle when he would fix the video games and pool tables and other machines and eating tiger meat when I was little. It was so good.
06:16 am - Fri, May 15 2015
George Lopez said:
george lopez
03:17 pm - Sat, July 25 2015
Jefferson said:
Just had my first taste of Tiger Meat from the fine folks at Kesslers in Aberdeen. In a word, wow. Almost too good to describe, just phenominal. Understand the uncooked angle, but your lifetime checklist will be missing something if you don't give this a try - amazing!
05:27 pm - Tue, August 4 2015
anonymous said:
Can you freeze tiger meat?
05:30 pm - Tue, August 4 2015
Sue said:
I love tiger meat is there anyway to preserve it like freeze it?
11:05 am - Wed, August 5 2015
Laura Andrews said:
Anonymous & Sue,

To tell you the truth, I don't know. I'm still trying to find someone who makes it that is willing to talk about it!
07:50 pm - Fri, October 9 2015
Andrew M said:
I enjoy it with crackers myself, I live in the Aberdeen area too, and want to at least say that Ken's has it and it is just a good as any where you could purchase it. I don't need a special occasion to buy and enjoy it.
08:13 am - Wed, November 25 2015
Sandy S said:
I am a life long WI resident with German roots. It's called Yahochtis {not sure of spelling} in our family and in the area of WI I am from. It's made from lean ground round or sirloin steak. It's part of my family holiday traditions that came down from our German roots. It took me a long time to convince myself to try it since it was raw. But once I tried it, it was delicious. I have never gotten sick from it either and I've been eating it for over 20 years. It's good on cocktail rye bread, flavored crackers, saltines, or what ever you prefer. Good with beer. Good for tailgating parties too, or Super Bowl parties.
07:54 pm - Fri, December 25 2015
Jill A said:
Grew up in Wisconsin between Madison and Milwaukee in a small town with a big german population. Our neighborhood tavern served the raw meat with lots of salt and pepper, raw onions and rye bread. I remember it being called cannibal sandwiches. My New Jersey husband muttered something about eating like turtles and refused to try it. Ours came from a family owned butcher shop that still operates today.
05:19 pm - Wed, December 30 2015
Brian said:
Tulare Locker has the best tiger meat
But only available during Christmas time
10:14 pm - Wed, July 6 2016
Niki said:
I have never heard it called "tiger meat" in northern Michigan we call it chopped beef... it's made the same way and served with crackers! We just buy it from our local meat stores and it's at every family holiday we have!!
03:37 pm - Mon, September 5 2016
Cory said:
Grew up in a German/Irish family. Loved hack and crackers as a kid and still do to this day! Find a grinder and recipe, enjoy!
08:59 am - Tue, October 11 2016
Rita Barricklow said:
Thank you for publishing this recipe. I grew up in Ellendale , ND and our local butcher had it for sale. We have all since moved on and the meat market has closed along with his recipe. We now live in SouthWest Michigan and I can hardly wait to make this for the holidays. My Dad and husband are going to love it. Thanks again!
02:20 pm - Fri, December 23 2016
jodie said:
My dad calls it kahochtis or tahochtis. We can get it from the local grocery store. They call it bismark. It's delicious!!
06:11 am - Sat, April 1 2017
Tim Woods said:
I've been making it for years, Ken's and Dakota Butchers is ok but it's not mine, it's a taste preference.
1lb lean sirloin
Grind it yourself
1 large onion
Salt and Pepper
Dried celery
Everything is to taste!
Quit being babies about it, it's good stuff!
02:26 am - Wed, November 15 2017
Shannon said:
Tiger meat is great! The most important part is not to contaminate it with bacteria from air or preparation areas. One way to ensure that is to trim the outside 1/8 inch or so from the meat using sterilized gloves. Also make sure you keep the meat cold below 40 degrees. Mostly the spices are just salt, black pepper and garlic. Mix in fine diced green peppers and onion and whatever else you like(cajun), make it slightly salty and mix by hand after grinding the meat. A good trick to keeping it cold is to put your grinder parts in the freezer ahead of time to get cold to ensure the meat stays cold. My family eats this every year around the holidays when I'm back home and we like supporting local butcher shops as it runs in my family going back to the Chicago meat packing district in the early 1900s. We buy ours at Kessler's in Aberdeen SD. I'm a certified Executive Chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Portland OR and could make my own, but I like seeing a butcher dept. that still makes things in house. If my $$ supports that tradition I'm all about it!
08:32 am - Fri, December 15 2017
Julie Frankenberg said:
I'm from Missouri and me and my sister rat this all the time around the holidays. Its the only time you can find it and its normally at meat markets. But here it's called Raw Hack. Our dad use to eat it all the time and that's how we tasted it. Have to have a taste for it as not everyone likes it. Yum😁
12:14 pm - Thu, November 22 2018
Rob said:
I have been eating it since I was about 5 years old. My Family makes it every Thanksgiving and Christmas! I look forward to it every time I could skip the Turkey all together!!
02:21 pm - Sun, November 25 2018
Lorne Dittman said:
Those in Missouri who call it Raw hack do you have variations to the recipe! I used to get it at the local butcher shop but is long since gone
10:17 am - Sat, December 15 2018
Charlie said:
I’m also from Missouri from a town called Washington. I started working at a local butcher shop when I was a teenager and they had the stuff there. They called it raw hack as well. Yesterday I was working on some equipment at a large chain warehouse store in the meat room and I semelled that savory scent coming from a bowl. I asked them if it was Raw Hack and the butchers said no it’s meatloaf. What’s Raw Hack? I thought all butchers knew what that stuff was.
08:07 pm - Fri, March 29 2019
'round here (southeast Nebraska) we call this "cannibal meat". i have some in front of me as i type this. it is very delicious. i buy it from my local grocery store
09:36 am - Sun, June 23 2019
Greg said:
I remember as a kid going with my Dad to Wheat Growers elevator in the small town of Stratford and having it at their Christmas party. I loved it.
11:11 pm - Tue, October 22 2019
Sammie said:
Charlie, I too am from Washington MO but born in Pittsburg KS. In Kansas they call it tiger meat. Everyone in MO looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell the stories about my family eating it at holidays.
11:47 pm - Wed, December 18 2019
Douglas said:
I've never had tiger meat but this actually sounds quite a bit like other things I've either seen or had-the Lebanese and Western Armenian kibbeh nyeh (raw ground lamb with spices) and Ethiopian kitfo (raw beef marinated in clarified butter).
10:10 am - Mon, April 6 2020
Everett Kelley said:
I was introduced to Tiger meat in Groton,SD when my wife and I and children lived there during the mid 70's. I enjoyed it, but my wife didn't like it and wouldn't think of letting the kids try it.
03:14 pm - Mon, April 6 2020
Doug Schafer said:
The best tiger meat I ever had was in Pierre, during Law Enforcement training. Oh, it was the day after and fried as a burger. Really great cooked. Raw, I don't know.
04:50 pm - Fri, May 22 2020
Randy Keyser said:
I have German heritage and grew up in Bay City Michigan and have been eating “Tiger meat” since I was about 10 yrs old. We called it Bismarck. Never heard it referred to as tiger meat til I was older. Butcher shop on south side of town used to make it to order. I make it now but use filet instead of sirloin. Grind myself, keep very cold through whole process. Mix with raw egg yolk, minced garlic, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Really good with chopped onions, capers on crispy garlic toast. Geez making myself hungry 😋. Great stuff and brings back wonderful memories from deer hunt camp.
08:09 pm - Tue, September 1 2020
Janel said:
In Hays Kansas, a German community, we call it raw burger. It’s eaten on saltine crackers and usually paired with beer. The local butcher shop, Warren’s Meat Market, sells it. Many of the locals make their own.
Love it!
12:39 pm - Mon, September 28 2020
Lonnie Becker said:
The Grocery store in Ashley, North Dakota usually has "Tiger Meat" available for purchase if you are ever in the area, pretty darn good to! Made by the owner himself I do believe.
08:17 am - Sat, June 5 2021
GC said:

People have been eating raw meat for 1000s of years.
This is nothing more than a variation of several popular European/Middle Eastern recipes: steak tartare, filet Americain, gored gored and kitfo.
11:21 pm - Fri, November 19 2021
09:16 pm - Sat, December 4 2021
Tar Heel said:
I would be terrified to it it.
09:28 am - Mon, December 20 2021
Patrick said:
This was a staple holiday treat in Western Kansas where I grew up in the 1980s. Local grocery stores sold it during the holiday season. Very popular and I never heard of anyone getting sick.
01:09 pm - Thu, April 7 2022
Bruce Hornberger said:
Tiger meat was made when first butchering a beef. As soon as the hide was removed meat was cut and ground thus a ultra low bacteria count. And Morton Tender Quick salt was use(sparingly) as an extra barrier to food poisoning.
12:55 am - Sun, December 18 2022
Michelle Rudy said:
The grocery store in Linton ND used to make it. I knew the butcher there and he kept everything sanitary. There used to be a place in mobridge SD that served it too

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