Schweinshaxe, or German Pork Knuckle is something that is sure to wow any hog-loving dinner guest. I can’t remember the first time I’ve ever tried this dish, but we are lucky to be able to get them in many European inspired restaurants/pubs here. The attraction is definitely the super crunchy skin, in contrast with juicy, tender flesh. This dish is popular in Bavaria, which is also the home of Oktoberfest. And truly it’s great food for drinking!
Surprisingly, this dish is not hard to make at home. It doesn’t even require much prep work. You just need to make it way ahead of dinner time because it does take quite a long time in oven. This is significantly less laborious than Chinese Roast Pork too. No poking the skin, no drying overnight, just plonk in the oven and roast! There are people who pre-boil the knuckle before roasting, but I don’t find this step necessary. I also use super simple seasonings and do without herbs and spices.
So firstly, you need to source a good sized Pork knuckle. If you go to the butcher, usually they sell the entire foreleg or hind leg. You can use either of those to make Pork Knuckle, the foreleg is generally meatier and smaller (feeds 2pax), the hind leg is often fattier and also larger (feed 3-4pax). I use them interchangeably depending on how many people I’m feeding.
German Pork Knuckle
1 Pork knuckle
1 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 Garlic, quartered
1 can of Beer (any light coloured beer would do, omit if you want to keep it strict keto and just use water)
Salt and Pepper
To prep pork knuckle for roasting, leave it to air in room temperature for several hours (the drier the skin, the faster it will crisp up). When you are ready to bake, score the skin with a knife and season it all over with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 180c. In a baking tray, lay the garlic and onion to make a “bed” for the knuckle, and carefully lay the knuckle on top. Pour half a can of beer in the baking tray, and put the entire thing in the oven to bake for 2 1/2 hours. Pour the rest of the the beer in the baking tray halfway through. If the liquid dries up too much, you can either add more beer or just water. After 2 1/2 hours, crank up the heat all the way to broil the skin. This is when you need to eyeball it. When the skin looks ready, your Pork Knuckle is ready!
Carefully remove baking tray from oven and remove your glorious pork knuckle to rest, and pour the baking liquid out to make a jus. I normally like to add a bit more water to scrap the brown bits and giving it a good boiling down.
Serve the pork knuckle with Sauerkraut or Braised Red Cabbage, and don’t forget the onion and garlic from the baking tray!
Look at the juicy, tender meat, and the golden crispy skin!
Hope you get to try this at home!