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Authentic German Pork Knuckle Recipe {Cooking Ham Shank the Easy Way}

Authentic German Pork Knuckle (Schweinshaxe)

The Authentic German Pork Knuckle (Schweinshaxe) is a culinary masterpiece characterized by its crispy, golden-brown skin and melt-in-your-mouth tender meat. It's typically seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices and slow-roasted to perfection, resulting in a dish that's both hearty and delicious. The preparation begins with marinating the pork knuckle, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat. Then, it's roasted to achieve that coveted crispy exterior while keeping the interior tender and juicy. This dish is a favorite at German beer gardens and Oktoberfest celebrations, and with this recipe, you can bring the authentic taste of Germany to your own table.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pork knuckle (approximately 4-5 pounds)
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup beer (preferably a German lager)


  • In a bowl, combine the caraway seeds, paprika, salt, black pepper, minced garlic, and vegetable oil. Rub this mixture all over the pork knuckle. Allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator for maximum flavor.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Place the sliced onion and bay leaves in the bottom of a roasting pan. Pour in the water and beer.
  • Place the marinated pork knuckle on top of the onion and bay leaves. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Roast the pork knuckle in the preheated oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. During the last 30 minutes, remove the foil to allow the skin to become crispy.
  • Once done, remove the Authentic German Pork Knuckle from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, keeping the meat moist. Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!


Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

  1. Choose a high-quality pork knuckle: Select a pork knuckle with good meat-to-fat ratio for the best results.
  2. Marinate for flavor: Marinate the pork knuckle for at least 2 hours or overnight to infuse it with rich flavors.
  3. Slow and low roasting: The key to success is slow and gentle roasting, which ensures crispy skin and tender meat.
  4. Baste with juices: During the last 30 minutes of roasting, baste the pork knuckle with the juices in the pan for added flavor.
  5. Serve with traditional sides: Accompany your Authentic German Pork Knuckle with classic sides like sauerkraut, potato dumplings, or mashed potatoes for an authentic German meal.

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FAQs about Authentic German Pork Knuckle

Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?

While pork knuckle is traditional, you can use pork shoulder or pork roast as a substitute.

What beer is best for this dish?

A German lager, such as Pilsner or Helles, works well, but any quality beer will do.

Can I make this dish without alcohol?

Yes, you can substitute the beer with chicken or vegetable broth for a non-alcoholic version.

How do I achieve the crispiest skin?

To achieve crispy skin, ensure you remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of roasting and baste the knuckle with pan juices.

Can I prepare the pork knuckle in advance?

You can marinate the pork knuckle in advance, but it’s best to roast it just before serving for the crispiest skin and juiciest meat.

Read more here for additional info about cooking ham shank. Also, I recommend other interesting articles and recipes related to this topic, including recipes for honey glazed ham shank, crockpot ham shank, baked ham shank with potatoes and vegetables, Hungarian ham shank soup with white beans, and more.

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