Schweinshaxe is a German dish, famous the world over. You start off by cooking pork hocks or eisbein until they are very tender. Then you braai them over hot coals to give them a great flavour and make them crispy. This tastes far superior to the classic German version where you just grill them in an oven to finish them off. If your butcher or supermarket only has smoked pork hocks or smoked eisbein, don’t worry; it works just as well and obviously your meal will have an even deeper smoky flavour. Serves 4.
- 4 small pork hocks or eisbeins (regular or smoked)
- 2 bottles apple cider (like Hunters or Savanna)
- 2 cups water
- Put everything into a large potjie. The liquid should just cover the pork, so add extra water if necessary.
- Put the potjie over a hot fire, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Simmer (it mustn’t boil rapidly) for 2½–3 hours, then take it off the fire. You want the meat nice and soft but not falling off the bone. You should check on the meat during this time as it might be ready sooner; this is not an exact science.
- Use braai tongs to lift the cooked pork hocks out of the potjie, shake off the liquid and then generously salt them (smoked hocks will generally be very salty already, and will not need any extra salt).
- Now for the braai: You’ll need an open grid as a hinged grid won’t close over the hocks. Braai for about 20 minutes in total over hot coals until they are nicely browned on all sides. Remember, the meat is already cooked so you just want to give it some crunch, colour and flavour.
- Serve immediately with mashed potatoes that you flavour with cream, wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper.
If your pork is cooked before you’re ready to braai, take the potjie off the coals and let the hocks rest in the water – an hour or two of resting in lukewarm water will just result in more tender pork.
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