Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha (Lapland smoked reindeer meat)
SAN Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha is cold-smoked reindeer meat from Lapland and is made from smoked whole muscle (muscle groups) and pieces of muscle. The connective tissues between the muscles are visible, but hardly any fat can be seen in them with the naked eye. The meat is very fine-grained and dense. Cold-smoked reindeer meat is finer-grained than other types of cold-smoked meat. Depending on the dryness of the product, the structure of the cut surface is dull matt and smooth; when less dry, it is shiny. The colour of ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ varies typically from dark red to almost black; the edges are darker due to the drying. There is a tinge of light brown. The cut surface is darker than in other types of meat; a brown tinge is another distinguishing feature. Due to the drying, ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ has a low water content and a very high protein content. However, the fat content is very low and the protein content of the connective tissues is also low, which is an indication of tenderness. The pH value is reduced because the product is fermented during the preparation process. The average values and standard deviations for typical samples are: Water content (%) 57,9 (5,7) Protein content (%) 30,5 (5,4) of which in connective tissue (%) 0,7 (0,2) fat content (%) 2,4 (1,2) Salt content (%) 6,4 (1,6) pH value 5,20 (0,37)
The cold-smoked meat has a delicate smoky and slightly salty flavour. It also has the typical strong reindeer aroma, in both taste and smell. The products are succulent. They have the characteristic strong and long-lasting after-taste of smoke and reindeer. The typical aroma of reindeer meat distinguishes it from other similar products. In terms of consistency, the product is hard on the surface but a little softer inside. The product contains connective tissues between the muscles, which are felt on the palate, but the internal connective tissue is not felt. The structure separates when chewed, and the effect depending on the degree of drying is tender and delicate. The ease with which it separates is a characteristic feature of cold-smoked reindeer meat compared with other cold-smoked products, and the connective tissue between the muscles also separates easily and is easy to swallow.
‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is produced, processed and packed in the Finnish reindeer husbandry area, which is located between latitudes 65 °N and 70 °N. The area includes the Province of Lapland (excluding the cities of Kemi and Tornio and the municipality of Keminmaa), the municipalities of Hyrynsalmi, Kuivaniemi, Kuusamo, Pudasjärvi, Suomussalmi, Taivalkoski and Yli-Ii in the Province of Oulu, and the areas north of the River Kiiminkijoki and the Puolanka-Hyrynsalmi road in the municipalities of Puolanka, Utajärvi and Ylikiiminki.
Proof of origin
Under Finnish reindeer husbandry legislation, to monitor the reindeer meat's origin, a reindeer owner ear-tags the animal either immediately after its birth or at least no later than its arrival for slaughter. When the reindeer have been sorted for slaughter and separated from those animals to be kept alive, they are marked during sorting on the pastureland with a slaughter tag attached to the ear, so giving a number to the slaughter animal. The number stays with the carcass until cutting. Cut meats are given a cutting and processing batch number, which follows the product as far as the consumer. meat cutting rooms and meat product plants must record the carcasses and other meat entering the establishment as well as the meat sent out from it. meat cutting rooms and meat product plants are supervised by the municipal supervisory authorities. Monitoring of the entire production chain is carried out by the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira) and the Regional State Administrative Agencies under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The monitoring is carried out by the local food authorities.
Method of production
‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is produced from reindeer that are born, raised and slaughtered in the Finnish reindeer husbandry area and graze freely on natural pastures during the spring, summer, autumn and early winter before slaughter. During this period, they obtain nearly all their feed from natural sources in the defined geographical area. They feed principally on grasses, fungi and lichens. About 70-75 % of the slaughter animals are calves aged 5 to 8 months, with a slaughter weight of about 22 kg. The average weight of the slaughtered adult female reindeer is about 35 kg, and the slaughter weight of the largest male reindeer can be 70-80 kg. The raw material used for ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is type PE (P stands for ‘reindeer’ in Finnish and E for ‘extra’) for whole rounds, cuts of round or fillets or type P0 (the letter stands for ‘reindeer’ in Finnish and the number for the classification) for chucks. The differences in the properties and intended use of the meat types for sale are shown in the Reindeer Herders' Association reindeer meat classification (2005) drawn up for the reindeer industry. The differences in the types are based on the fat and membrane content of the meat.
The reindeer meat used for ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is excised anatomically intact. Any clotted blood and stamps are removed from the meat. The raw materials used for the product are rounds, chucks and fillets. With the exception of the femur, which can be left in place, the other bones and shank are removed from the rounds. A round can also be divided into its various anatomically deboned cuts. The chucks and fillets are deboned. Each batch of deboned meat is cut into shapes of the same size for preparation so that the preparation process affects in the same way all meat cuts belonging to the same batch. The size of the meat cuts in the different batches can vary between half a kilo and a few kilos. Only the above-mentioned meats or muscles whose pH is below 5,8 qualify as the raw material for the ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ product. The meat is processed as quickly as possible and in small batches to prevent it from warming up to over 7 °C. ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is salted by rubbing salt into the meat in meat salting tubs or on salting racks. In this method, layers of sea salt, lactic bacteria and sometimes nitrite are applied to the meat in the tub or on the rack. Salting and pre-maturation at a temperature of + 2 to + 4 °C takes between one and two weeks, after which the meat is rinsed with clean, cold water. The maturation of ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ takes about a week and it is done by smoking and evaporation in cold-smoking rooms or cabinets.
The smoke is formed by slow-burning alder, birch or juniper chips. smoking begins about 48 hours after the start of the maturation process so that the product has time to stabilise and the acidity begins to increase. The product is smoked once or twice daily for a maximum of four hours at a time. The temperature is kept higher at the beginning of the maturation process, at about + 24 °C, to trigger fermentation. During the maturation, the temperature and the humidity are lowered gradually, after which the product is matured for a further 1-2 weeks at a temperature of + 7 to + 16 °C until the weight of the product has decreased by about 30 %. During the maturation and further maturation process, evaporation and the acidity and weight of the meat are monitored daily by sensory evaluation. After the further maturation, the products must be packaged immediately to avoid excessive drying, increase in salt content and deterioration of quality. ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is packed in the defined geographical area in order to safeguard product quality and prevent deterioration of the organoleptic characteristics of the product. By packaging the product in the defined geographical area, it is possible to ensure that its characteristics are retained. Furthermore, the objective is to ensure that the product is completely traceable, that consumers are not misled, that the product has actually been obtained and prepared in the defined geographical area and that the product can be monitored right through the production chain.
Link with geographical origin
The reindeer meat is produced by professional reindeer herders, whose work is based on information collected over the centuries. Traditional methods for preparing reindeer meat are still employed today in reindeer meat processing establishments, most of which belong to families owning reindeer. Together with drying, smoking is still the most common way of processing reindeer meat. ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ must be prepared in sub-zero weather after the ground has frozen in late autumn or in the winter in order to ensure that the air used in the smoking process is dry. This keeps the daily evaporation of moisture at about 1 %, which prevents the growth of microbes and the formation of a crust on the surface of the meat. For this reason the preparation time is significantly longer than for industrially prepared cold-smoked meat. The preparation of ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ requires the skilful use of heat and familiarity with the characteristics of reindeer meat. It is based on the effects of heat and the smoke from timber species (alder, birch and juniper) found in northern regions. The maturation of the meat is monitored carefully in order to attain the right degree of maturity and to retain the desired organoleptic characteristics of the meat. A crucial factor in the production of ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ is determining the right time to remove the meat from smoking. The earliest written reference to smoked reindeer meat dates back to the end of the 1700s. There are detailed descriptions of smoking reindeer meat in literature dating back to the beginning of the 1900s. The area's characteristics, such as distinct seasons, the reindeer diet and the traditional skills for selecting and processing the raw material for reindeer meat make ‘Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha’ what it is: a reindeer product that is tender, full-flavoured and has its own special reindeer taste.
Reference: The European Commission