I have been lucky enough to travel to Germany a couple of times and I must say I've always enjoyed the food. I'm particularly fond of Bavarian cuisine. In celebration of the approach of Oktoberfest, I'm determined to recreate one of my favorite German meals.
Schweinshaxe, or pork knuckles are the upper portion of the pigs leg. They are meaty and delicious, particularly when prepared in the traditional manner. This is a fairly time consuming recipe, but well worth it when the finished product is sizzling on your plate.
As always, thanks for reading!
Step 1: Ingredients
2 pork knuckles (AKA ham hocks)
1 tablespoon Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp ground clove
4 whole juniper berries
10 black peppercorns
A word on pork knuckles. These can be hard to find at a regular grocery store. Ask your butcher or travel out of your way to a specialty grocery and you will find them.
-Sea salt is perfectly acceptable in lieu of Himalayan salt-
Step 2: Prep
In a spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle, grind the salt, clove, juniper berries, and peppercorns until there are no large pieces of spice remaining.
Use a very sharp knife or razor to score the skin on the pork knuckles.
Place them on a tray and season all sides with the salt mixture. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
Step 3: Cook
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour a small amount of liquid into the pan with the hocks. (beer or water)
Cook until the outsides are crisp and golden and the internal temperature reaches 190 F, abut 2 1/2 hours.
If the skin is not crisp enough, turn the heat up to 450 for about 15 minutes to make the skin crackle.
Remove from the oven rest ten minutes before serving.