Oktoberfest wouldn’t be the same without a delicious pork hock, crispy and juicy and with some dumplings and sauerkraut on the side. Pure bliss!
I’ve always thought that it is very difficult to make pork hock and really get it crispy but it turned out to be quite easy once you know how to achieve it. So, the cooking basically happens in two steps: You first boil the hock and then later put it in the oven – that’s all! OK, like always, the details are the design, so there is a little more to it like veggies, salt etc.
Video for Bavarian Pork Hock
What Part of Pork?
In Germany, we are using the part of the pig’s leg that is below the shoulder but above the feet. Here in Texas, I only find pork knuckles in a cooked and smoked version and that’s why I had to settle for a pork shoulder which is called a “pork butt” here, for whatever reason. That part is closer to the shoulder and therefore larger than what we use in Germany. So, while in Germany one person gets one hock, here the size is more suitable for two persons, I think.
Traditional Sides for Oktoberfest Hock
Usually, you’ll get this served with potato dumplings and sauerkraut … and a large beer! But serving it with other sides, is OK, too. You could serve it with dumplings from bread and red cabbage, just to give you an example. A potato salad or a Cabbage Salad would also be great side dishes! As you can see, there are quite a few sides that are great with pork hock.
The Crispy Crust
Getting the crust crispy and crunchy is the goal, while at the same time making sure the meat stays juicy. The latter is achieved by cooking the meat in water before putting it in the oven.
Part of the crispy crust making is, cutting the skin into squares. This will make sure it separets nicely and also will help to cut the meat for serving. Adding some salt to the skin of the pork can also aid in getting the crust. Most important is though, the oven. At the end of the time in the oven, I turn on the broil. Make sure you stay at the oven and monitor this process, so it won’t burn.
In my video, I was a little too worried that it might burn while I set up the camera for the next scene, so I have the crust only popped at some areas. If you don’t have a broil function or want to have a little more control over that process, you can use a kitchen torch and use this for popping the skin.
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Oktoberfest Crispy Pork Hock
- 1 Pork Hock approx. 4 lbs
- Water enough to cover the hock in the pot
- 5 cloves of Garlic
- 2 Onions
- 2 Cloves
- 5 Bay Leafes
- ½ tsp Caraway Seeds
- 3 tsp Salt plus some more
- 1 tsp Juniper Berries
- 2 Carrots
- ½ Leek
- 1 bottle Beer German Weizen if available
- 3 tbsp Butter for the sauce
- Clean the carrots and the leek, cut into chunks.2 Carrots, ½ Leek
- Remove the skin from the onions.2 Onions
- In a large pot, put the hock, vegetables, and spices.1 Pork Hock, 5 cloves of Garlic, 2 Onions, 2 Cloves, 5 Bay Leafes, ½ tsp Caraway Seeds, 3 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Juniper Berries, 2 Carrots, ½ Leek
- Fill as much water into the pot as needed to almost cover the hock. Then empty the bottel of beer into the pot.Tipp: If you add hot water, it will come to a boil faster.Water, 1 bottle Beer
- Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for 90 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before the cooking time is over, preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- After cooking, remove the hock from the pot and cut the skin into squares. Add a little salt onto the skin (optional but recommended).
- Put the pork hock into an oven pan and into the oven for 60 minutes.
- Meanwhile use about 300 ml of the cooking water with some of the garlic, leek, and carrots for the sauce: Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce to about 200 ml, then let cool a little, add the butter and fold it in. If necessary, use some corn starch (diluted in some cold water) to thicken the sauce.3 tbsp Butter
- Towards the end of the time in the oven, set the oven to broil and broil until the skin has popped and is crispy – observe the process to make sure it doesn't burn.If you don't have a broil function, use a kitchen torch to pop the skin.
- Serve with the suggested sides from the blog post.