Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dziuk's Meat Market


Castroville is a little Alsatian town just west of San Antonio. This tiny town filled with historical makers galore is just 25 miles from the Alamo, but its small town quaintness makes it seem much further. Settlers from Alsace (on the border of France and Germany) came here in 1844 to found the town. Along with them they brought Alsatian sausage which is a raw pork sausage seasoned with coriander. Locals make it in their homes for the Christmas holiday and the whole town gets together in the town square on St. Louis Day in August for a grand public sausage making festival. Dziuk's Meat Market right along Highway 90 has a fresh version in their case every day, but none available for on-site consumption.


For a road snack, you can't get much better than Dziuk's chunk style jerky. It looks daunting in the case, but they'll be happy to slice it for you at any thickness you'd prefer. The thick peppery crust wakes the tastebuds early in the morning, and the meat sliced against the grain is as tender as filet mignon. The dried sausage is also a house specialty. It's great, but doesn't hold a candle to the jerky. On the other end of the case in a mound of raw meat that looks something like meat loaf mix, but it goes by the name of parisa.


Parisa is a hyper-regional specialty of cheese, black pepper, onion, jalapeno and freshly ground raw beef. It is eaten raw by itself or on crackers, and is a heck of a lot better than you're thinking right now. The texture is tough to get used to, but is no different than the leap from grilled salmon to sushi. The meat is ground fresh every morning, and it has an obviously short shelf life. Nick and I shared a quarter pound on some crackers and it was gone in a few minutes. I've talked to a native in the area that had a pile of it at her wedding reception to separate the men from the boys. 

I initially thought parisa must have been a traditional Alsatian (or possibly French or German) creation, but I wasn't able to track down any reference to it anywhere by Texas' Medina County. Locals can point to only two remaining meat markets that carry it, one of them being Dziuk's, and a few seem to agree that the dish was born in Medina County. If anyone out there knows of a different origin, I'd love to hear it.

- BBQ Snob

3 comments:

Gene said...

That parisa looks very interesting. Kinda of an unusual take on steak tartare. Gotta feeling that I'd like this and the fact that you guys demolished in in a couple of minutes, reinforces that feeling!

Pete76cj7@gmail.com said...

I have been eating "Hot Parisa" as it's called here in San Antonio for over a decade. It was introduced to me by our Taco guy at our local bar The Drinkery. Jose would travel to Dzuik's every Saturday to get it for us. He and his wife fell ill and doesn't bring it anymore, but every time anyone of us goes near Castroville we pick up a pound or two in memory and it never lasts a day. A true central Texas treat. - M. Peterson

Anonymous said...

I am a native Texan living in NE Wisconsin. I have never had the meat dish you are refering to here but they make a version of it here called Tiger meat. Ground lean round flavored with chopped onion and carlic with salt and black pepper eaten on saltines or rye bread. I have a feeling I would like the Parisa.

DISCLAIMER:

Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.

-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT