German Pork Knuckle Recipe (Schweinshaxe): Crispy Roasted Hocks
Roasted pork hocks are not just for Oktoberfest, but anytime you want something traditionally German style and wonderfully delicious! There are basically two different ways to cook pork hock (pig knuckle): one, Eisbein, is common in southern Germany and the other, in northern Germany.
The southern one, Schweinshaxe, is a roasted pork hock, which has crispy crackling (crispy pork rind).
Makes 2 servings
- 1 leek, well cleaned, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 meaty fresh, uncured, unsmoked pork hocks (1 pound each)
- salt and black peppercorns
- cumin (if desired)
- Put vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, and fresh hocks in a large pot or dutch oven.
- Add hot water to cover, bring to boil over high heat. Lower temperature to a simmer and cook until hocks are just tender - about 2 to 3 hours. Do not overcook.
- Remove hocks with a large slotted spoon. Strain the rest, keeping both the vegetables and cooking liquid.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Place hocks (well drained) in a standing position in a large roasting pan along with the drained cooked vegetables, and a small amount of the cooking liquid, just to cover the meat part and not the fat layer. Score the thick layer of skin and fat with a sharp knife.
- Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, adding more cooking liquid if it evaporates, in order to keep the meat tender. The internal temperature should be at least 165°F. If the fat layer isn't brown and crispy, turn on the broiler and continue browning. Keep watch that it doesn't burn. This could take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve the hocks with potatoes and sauerkraut. If desired, make a sauce by thickening the cooking liquid with a tablespoon or two of cornstarch mixed with a little water and simmer briefly. Add a bit of cumin to sauce if desired.
- Keep the extra drained liquid from cooking the pork hocks. Use what's needed for the roasting process. Let the rest cool and refrigerate. Skim off the congealed fat and use the broth for soups or stews.
- One could cook the pork hocks in a slow cooker. Just be careful to only cook until just tender, or they will fall apart.
- You can use hot chicken broth or chicken stock instead of water.
- If desired, add bay leaves, caraway seeds, juniper berries, garlic cloves or fresh herbs to the cooking liquid. These are personal favourites to try.
- Some people like to use a dark ale for the slow roasting process for a distinctive flavor.
- Serve bread dumplings as a side dish with this for a real treat, as enjoyed in the south of Germany.
- If you're having trouble getting German pork knuckle, try going to Asian butchers. As well, asking for pork ham hocks or telling them you want to make crispy pork knuckle may get you the right cut.
- Sometimes the pork hocks have been cut into half pound pieces. Choose your sizes and quantities and adjust the recipe accordingly.
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03.13.2022 revision update