German Pork Hock, also known as roasted ham hock or Schweinshaxe, is a traditional Bavarian dish that’s popular not only during the Oktoberfest but all year round. This easy pork knuckle recipe takes a few hours but cooks without too much effort on your part and rewards you with delicious pork crackling and tender meat. Hands down one of my favorite German recipes!
This roasted pork hock has been a favorite of my husband for a while now. When I think of a German Schweinshaxe this is exactly how I want it to be: super crispy pork rind and tender, flavorful meat. If you’ve ever been to Munich you know what I’m talking about!
You can make Schweinshaxen two different ways: roast it or put it in water and then roast it. My preferred way, because it always makes perfect roasted pork knuckles at home, is to let the knuckle simmer in water first and then roast it in the oven to perfection. This cooking method ensures that you have a crispy skin, tender meat, and great flavor.
What is a pork hock?
A pork hock is also known as ham hock, pig knuckle, or pork knuckle. It’s the joint at the bottom of the shank of the pig between the tibia/fibula and the ankle where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg but it’s not part of the ham. The pork knuckle contains a lot of connective tissue which when it melts add great flavor and texture to the meat. It’s a relatively cheap cut of meat.
To make authentic German Schweinshaxen (Schwein = pig, Haxe = hock) you need a fresh, uncured, unsmoked pork knuckle. Schweinshaxen are usually made from the rear legs because they have a thicker layer of fat, but pork hocks from the front legs can also be used. One knuckle serves about two adults depending on the size. (photo 1)
How to cook ham hocks – Step by Step
Bring water in a big pot to a boil, add salt, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves, and juniper berries. Then submerge the pork hock in the water and let simmer at a low temperature for 90 minutes. (photo 2)
After 90 minutes use tongs to remove the pork knuckle from the water and use a sharp knife to incise the skin in a diamond pattern. This allows the skin to crisp up better and makes it easier to eat it after roasting. (photo 3 and 4)
How long to cook ham hocks in the oven
Rub the pork knuckle with caraway seeds and salt while preheating the oven to 390°F (200°C). Place the hock on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for 90 minutes. (photo 5)
How to make pork knuckle skin crispy
To crisp up the skin turn on the broiler for the last 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it because it can get burned pretty quickly. The skin will crackle and get super crispy. (photo 6)
What to serve with Schweinshaxe
Traditionally Schweinshaxen (Roasted German Pork Knuckles) are served with potato salad (Try my recipe for Authentic German Potato Salad), potato dumplings, or mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. Sometimes they are also served with a gravy or red cabbage.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes, you can double this recipe if you have a large enough pot or use two pots. The pork knuckles should be submerged in the water.
Is a pork hock the same as a ham hock?
A pork hock and a ham hock are the same. They can come from the rear or the front legs of a pig. Sometimes the hock that comes from the rear legs is referred to as a ham hock but you treat them the same.
Can I give my dog a pork hock?
No, you can’t give the bone from the pork hock to your dog because they easily splinter and are even softer after cooking.
Other German Recipes you might like to try:
- German Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Bavarian Beer Cheese Spread (Obatzda)
- German Apple Cake (Versunkener Apfelkuchen)
- Easy German Spaetzle Recipe
- Bavarian Pretzels
Tools used to make this recipe:
Roasting Pan with Rack: You want to use a roasting with a rack so that the ham hock gets crispy on all sides. The pan catches the dripping and makes clean up easier.
Caraway Seeds: You need whole caraway seeds for this recipe.
Chef’s Knife: To cut the skin into a diamond pattern it’s best to use a sharp knife. The skin is much easier to cut after it has been submerged in water for 90 minutes but you make it easier for you if you use a good knife.
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German Pork Hock (Schweinshaxe Recipe)
- 2 pork knuckles fresh, uncured, unsmoked
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 4 juniper berries
- 1 large onion peeled and quartered
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- Bring water in a big pot to a boil, add 2 tsp salt, quartered onions, peppercorns, bay leaves, and juniper berries. Turn down the temperature so that the water is still hot but not simmering and submerge the pork hocks. They should be covered with water. Let them cook at a low temperature for 90 minutes. The water should not boil or simmer.
- After 90 minutes use tongs to remove the pork knuckles from the water and use a sharp knife to incise the skin in a diamond pattern.
- Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C) and rub the pork knuckles with caraway seeds and salt. Place the hocks on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for about 90 minutes in the middle of the oven. Turn the pork hocks after 45 minutes.
- To crisp up the skin turn on the broiler for the last 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them because the skin can get burned pretty quickly. It will crackle and get super crispy.
- Serve immediately!
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