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Jul 11, 2009 08:36 PM

Eisbein / schweinshaxe help

Hi all

Looking for help on cooking perfect eisbein / schweinshaxe. I am trying to replicate the way I've had it in Munich and also here in Sydney, which has been the roasted version with crispy skin and tender, juicy, falling-off-the-bone meat. I understand this this is Bavarian schweinshaxe as opposed to the boiled version eisbein, is that correct??

Anyway for my first attempt I bought a forequarter hock, scored it and rubbed with salt, and roasted uncovered for a couple of hours on a bed of onion with some beer in the pan to baste it with. The result was somehwat dry, pretty tough meat with not much flavour.

After a bit more research I'm having another crack.I'm going to brine it this time for 24 - 48 hours. I've also read some recipes that recommend boiling as per eisbein, but then roasting it after to crisp up to make the crackling.

Anyone got tips or experience cooking great schweinshaxe??? Also, I bought a rearquarter hock this time (more meat, hopefully juicier) -- any thoughts on which end of the pig is better?

Thanks in advance

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  1. There may be more recipes published for Eisbein/Schweinshaxebest than we can count. It seems everyone has their own twist on these dishes. The best "tip" I can offer for you is to read a dozen or so recipes and compare ingredients and cooking methods and see which appeals most to your sense of flavor blends and texture. I like the brine idea, though I've never tried that with these dishes, and I always cook with beer; never water.
    I use a bone in un-smoked pork shank or, if that's not available, a pork butt.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Yeah comparing recipes is what I have been doing but I wondered if anyone already had experience with the merits of various approaches. I will be sure to post my results.

      Thanks for your reply!

    2. MY most successful attempt was with a good meaty hock. I put it in the crockpot with a head of garlic cut in half, some onion, and plenty of salt. Cooked on low till easily penetrated with a knife. This could be done on a bare simmer but the crockpot keeps the temp nice and even as long as you don't keep opening the lid. I then carefully removed it from the liquid so as not to teat any skin, patted it dry and let it air dry in the fridge overnight. The next day I scored the skin and put it in my Weber kettle with a hot fire off to the side. The skin came out really crispy and the meat had that gelatinous, unctuous fall apart goodness. You could do it in a super hot oven, but my oven has heat constancy issues.

      1 Reply
      1. re: torty

        Well I have made my schweinshaxe and I am pleased to say it was a success (mostly). I brined it for 36 hours. Then I cooked it on a simmer like torty above until the meat was tender (about 2.5 hours), although I didn't add any aromatics to the liquid. I didn't air dry mine after however, I just patted it dry with paper towels and let it sit for a ten minutes to dry itself.

        I then rubbed with salt (I should've scored it but I was getting hungry) and straight into a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or so. The crackling came up a treat!! Only I burnt one side slightly because seems my oven too cooks unevenly and I was too boozed up to notice.

        The meat had a pleasant ham-like saltiness (could benefit from another 12 hours in the brine methinks). It was quite juicy, tender and the fat just below the crackling was gooey and lovely -- I wish there was more of it!

      2. I brine the shank for about 5 days (make sure you use insta cure #1) for about 5 days, then dry it, cold smoke it then steam it until it falls apart
        George Amer

        1. Okay... Let me tell you, I LOVE Eisbein! I LOVE any kind of hamhock, especially Eisbein! So, taking in account different trials, and meat vendors and their cuts, this is my latest attempt. It is really wonderful. Use the crock-pot to cook the hocks. Only cover with just enough water. I flavor with the basics, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and sage. I used sage because at this time it grows in my garden, and I am a strong advocate for adjusting traditional recipes to your local flare and custom. I imagine Eisbein to be a country dish.. hence the discrepancies in the recipes. So, adjust the basic flavor to your liking.

          It takes several or more hours in the crockpot to tenderize. It was about 4 1/2 hours the last time. Remove the hocks. Try not to separate the meat from the bone or skin. Keep them intact. Use a glass loaf / bread pan, I used glass this last time. I use a loaf pan to easily stack the meat section each other, as my local source cuts the hocks in half.. or in sections. Just get the idea. Put them fat side up, on the low oven shelf, under the broiler. Keep them under the broiler until the skin is very crisp. Here it takes about 40 minutes... or longer if needed, up to an hour.

          Use the broth left in the crockpot, pour into a pan on the stove, to steam German Dumplings and/ or to make gravy.

          1. But it must be served with erbspuree :)

            I use a brine with salt bay leaves white wine brown sugar juniper berries garlic onion and brine 18-24 hours.

            boil with carrots celery for 3 hours then roast for 20 mins-30? at 425F top of the oven.

            The hard part is to find those hard solid german potatoes