Zabíjačka is a very special event in the Czech Republic and although many families decided to abandon the tradition of slaughtering their own pig they still purchase the products. And let us tell you, they are delicious.
Zabíjačka – a little bit of history
Zabíjačka usually took place during the winter because the cold weather and low temperatures helped keep the meat fresh. Nowadays this event is also often organized in autumn.
Whole families would come together, sometimes even the whole neighbourhood. The preparations extended over several days and right after the pig was slaughtered men and women prepared the traditional dishes from parts of the pig which weren’t meat. Everyone participating in the pig slaughter could keep their part of the final products and meat and the members of the family who organized the event usually brought some also to their relatives and neighbours.
Public pig slaughtering was forbidden several years ago but traditional pig products are still a part of folcloric celebrations such as Fašank (Mardi Gras, article will be published on January 30). The fact that there are no public slaughters anymore doesn’t, however, mean that people have given up on the tradition completely. Some estimates say that several hundred thousands home slaughters take place each year in the Czech Republic.
The purpose of zabíjačka was to make use of the whole animal which means not only processing the meat but also the other parts.
Although the name literally means “ass-soup” it has nothing to do with anyone’s bottom. It is a strong broth from various parts of the pig’s entrails mixed with blood and groat.
Jitrnice is a mixture of boiled meat parts of lower quality (head) stuffed into the pig intestine.
Jelito is a mixture of groats and blood in a pig intestine.
Prejt is the filling of jitrnice or jelito.
Tlačenka is a brawn or head cheese, basically meat jelly.
Bok means “side” and it’s the belly which is one of the fattiest parts of the pig. You can often buy it smoked.
This delicacy is whats left after the fat layer has been fried to loose all fat, so simply pork scratchings.
This is a spread made from pig scratchings made usually with mayonnaise, mustard and spices.
Ovar is boiled pork meat with salt and pepper. Usually the parts used for ovar are the head, tongue but sometimes also shoulder meat and other.
Zabíjačka in popular art
Zabíjačka is a huge part of the Czech culture so it’s no wonder there are many references in popculture.
Zabíjačka in Josef Lada’s drawings
This documentary by Folklorika shows the traditional pig slaughter in the region of Valašsko: https://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/1102732990-folklorika/316292320040011-valasska-zabijacka-v-promenach-casu/