Pork Knuckle German Style (Schweinshaxe)

The crispiest crackling on an epic German Pork Knuckle. This dish is a legendary traditional Bavarian dish also known as Schweinshaxe. Popular during Oktoberfest and all year round delicious comfort food. A crowd-pleasing meal of rich, juicy succulent pork wrapped in crispy crackling and an epic gravy! I know you are going to so happy with yourself when you serve this up!
Before jumping to the recipe please note that the below information contains HOT TIPS for this recipe. We try and answer all your questions to guarantee a perfect keto recipe every time.

What is Schweinshaxe

Schweinshaxe – also known as Bavarian or German Pork Knuckle is my pork-porn coming to life! Haha!

This roasted knuckle of pork with crispy skin and gravy is often found in beer halls and pubs across Germany and Austria. It is also a firm favourite for us Australians too.

This crispy pork knuckle recipe is a revamp of my original recipe published back in 2017. It is an awesome keto-friendly simple dinner. We all love a recipe that takes only a few minutes to prepare, right?

Related Recipe Sweet and Sour Pork / Country Style Boneless Pork Ribs

The Ingredients

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the quantity of each ingredient used in our low carb recipe for German Pork Knuckle.

Pork Knuckle spices and oil on a grey piece of marble.

Pork knuckle – also known as pork hock or ham hock. I ordered mine from the local butcher. At only $7kg it was super cheap. While I have seen some in the local supermarkets, it is always worth asking your butcher for them. Make sure you ask for the pig knuckle, not cured (you don’t want ham hocks).

Spices – I use a traditional combination of caraway seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and juniper berries. All the spices except juniper berries are readily available in the supermarket. If you are a gin lover you will know the distinct pine and peppery flavour of juniper. You can leave it out but is well worth sourcing some online or at good markets.

Pork Knuckle Gravy Ingredients with labels.

Pork Knuckle Gravy

Most roast pork knuckle recipes are served with German beer gravy. Following a low carb, sugar-free lifestyle I wanted to not use dark beer.

If you would prefer to make a beer / bier gravy, then just swap out the Vegemite and 1 cup of stock and use a 375ml bottle of your favourite German dark beer, or Bighead Lager for a low carb version.

While not added to this gravy, you can also add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a tablespoon of American yellow mustard. Sounds weird but tastes awesome in gravy. It also is perfect for keto gravy.

Collagen helps to thicken the gravy. You can leave it out if you prefer or you can substitute 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder.

As an additional low-carb gravy thickener, I have used xanthan gum or glucomannan powder. If you prefer, you can just use cornstarch or tapioca powder.

HOT TIP: When making keto gravy if you have over-thickened or it is slimy, just add more liquid and whisk. It really is simple to thin it with extra chicken or beef stock or just water.

How To Make It

Step 1. Place juniper berries, salt flakes, pepper, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds in a mortar and crush with a pestle. (Alternatively, pulse in a food processor or blender). Transfer to a small bowl

Step 2. Score pork knuckle with a sharp knife or prick all over with knife. Rub with spices and one tablespoon of oil. Place onto a plate and chill uncovered overnight (image below).

Step 3. Add all gravy ingredients except collagen and xanthan gum to a roasting pan. Position a wire rack over the top and place the pork knuckle into position. Leave to rest while the oven preheats. PREHEAT oven to 150°C fan/170°C static (325°F).

Step 4. Roast the pork knuckle for 3 hours or until it is tender. (You can gently pull a bit of the meat at the base of the knuckle to check). Remove from the oven. Turn oven up to 240°C fan/ 260°C static (500°F). Place pork onto a lined baking tray. Brush with extra oil or vinegar and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Step 5. Strain gravy. Add collagen and xanthan gum (or glucomannan powder). Cook, whisking, until thickened. Strain again if needed.

Step 6. Serve the roasted schweinshaxe with your favourite mash. I have served it with cauliflower mash. I find it also pairs really well with chimichurri and gremolata.

In the recipe card below, I have given an alternative cooking method. You can cook German pork knuckle in a Thermomix or thermal cooker. Steaming pork knuckles makes it really tender and renders fat. Bake in a very hot oven afterwards helps to crisp the pig skin into the crispiest pork crackle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to buy pork knuckle?

Local butchers are great. If they do not have them they can order in for you.

Can I substitute any other meat?

You can use a beef shin on the bone (baked Thor’s Hammer in the oven), or lamb shanks. If using either of these, just place the piece of meat directly into the gravy. Cook until the meat pulls away from the bone. Then reduce gravy,

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Schweinshaxe on a bed of cauliflower mash with gravy

Pork Knuckle – German Style Schweinshaxe

The crispiest Pork Knuckle German style is a popular traditional Bavarian dish also known as Schweinshaxe. Popular during Oktoberfest and all year round.
4.98 from 104 votes!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Resting Time: 1 d
Total Time: 1 d 3 hrs 40 mins
Course: Breakfast Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: Bavarian
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free
Recipe Category: Low Carb
Calories: 374kcal
Author: Megan Ellam
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Servings: 2 people
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Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pork knuckle see notes (1.25 kg / 2.8 pounds)

GRAVY

Instructions

CONVENTIONAL (BAKING) METHOD

  • COMBINE – Place juniper berries, salt flakes, pepper, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds in a mortar and crush with a pestle. (Alternatively, pulse in a food processor or blender). Transfer to a small bowl
  • PREPARE – Score pork knuckle with a sharp knife or prick all over with knife. Rub with spices and one tablespoon of oil. Place onto a plate and chill uncovered overnight (see notes).
  • PLACE all gravy ingredients except collagen and xanthan gum into a baking dish. Position a wire rack over the top and place the pork knuckle into position. Leave to rest while oven preheats.
  • PREHEAT oven to 150°C fan/170°C static (325°F).
  • BAKE – slow roast pork for 3 hours. Remove pork and gravy from oven. Turn oven up to 240°C fan/ 260°C static (500°F). Place pork onto a lined baking tray. Brush with extra oil or vinegar and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • SERVE – Pour gravy through a sieve into a small saucepan. Discard solids (see notes). Place saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk in collagen and xanthan gum. Whisk until thickened (see notes). Serve roasted pork with gravy and your favourite mash.

THERMAL METHOD

  • COMBINE – Place juniper berries, salt flakes, pepper, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds into mixer; chop 10 sec/speed 10. Pour into a small bowl.
  • PREPARE – Score pork knuckle with a sharp knife or prick all over with knife. Rub with spices and one tablespoon of oil. Place onto a plate and chill uncovered overnight (see notes).
  • STEAM – (or follow from step 3 above). Add 1500 ml of water to mixer bowl. Place pork knuckle into steaming dish and lock into place; cook 90min/steam temp/speed 2. Discard water.
  • PLACE all gravy ingredients into mixer; cook 15 min/110°C/reverse/speed1/cap off. Pour gravy through a sieve and discard solids (see notes). If it needs more time to thicken place it back into the mixer and extend the time.
  • PREHEAT oven to 240°C fan/ 260°C static (500°F). Place pork onto a lined baking tray. Brush with extra oil or vinegar and bake for a further 30-40 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve roasted pork with gravy and your favourite mash.

Video

Notes

INGREDIENTS
Pork knuckle – also known as pork hock, pork hand, or ham hock. I ordered mine from the local butcher. At only $7kg it was super cheap. While I have seen some in the local supermarkets, it is always worth asking your butcher for them. Make sure you ask for the pig knuckle, not cured (you don’t want ham hocks).
Spices – I use a traditional combination of caraway seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and juniper berries. All the spices except juniper berries are readily available in the supermarket. If you are a gin lover, you will know the distinct pine and peppery flavour of juniper. You can leave it out but is well worth sourcing some online or at good markets.
Vegemite – seems super weird to use Australian Vegemite in a German gravy. trust me it works on so many levels.
HOW TO COOK PORK KNUCKLE
I have included both roasting pork knuckles and how to do it in a Thermomix or thermal cooker. You can braise pork knuckle by cooking it in the liquid. It does make it a bit harder to crisp up the knuckle skin, but it can be done. This schweinshaxe recipe can also be adapted to bake in an air fryer. You will depend on the size and set of the air fryer you have and whether it will fit.
HOW TO COOK PORK KNUCKLE IN THERMOMIX
I have included how to steam the pork knuckle in the Thermomix. After steaming, you need to dry out the skin and make it crispy. Ensure the pork hock is soft and tender and roast until the skin is crispy and delicious. Run extra oil on the skin and salt well if needed.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SCHWEINSHAXE
Pork knuckle sides can include sauerkraut, braised cabbage, potato dumplings, creamy mash, potato salad (or keto potato salad), a green salad, and pickled red onions. I also love gremolata as well as gravy!
SERVING SIZES
This recipe yields approximately 2 serves. The actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes. 
SERVING SIZE BY WEIGHT
To calculate the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe by 2. The result will be the weight of one serving. 
NUTRITIONAL VALUES
Nutritional values shown are guidelines only. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on the brands and types of ingredients used. 
The recipe card instructions contain the most basic steps and ingredients list. If you have any queries, or quest

Your Own Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1serve | Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 1490mg | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg | Magnesium: 25mg | Net Carbs: 3g
Tried this recipe?Mention @meganellam or tag #madcreations!

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    43 Comments

  • Helene says:

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe. It takes some time to cook, but it’s completely worth it. The meat is tender, and the gravy is fabulous.

  • Kristina says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was wonderful- very similar to something my grandmother used to make during the winter months. We served it with a side of potato dumplings and salad. It’s easy but also elegant enough for the holidays.

  • Maddy says:

    5 stars
    Everything about this recipe was fantastic- the gravy, the crackling and the juicy pork knuckle! I wouldn’t change anything about it. Total hit with the family.

  • Amanda Mason says:

    5 stars
    So good! Loved every single bite! I’m going to try the ingredients over chicken and see if it will taste good….I”m thinking it will! Have you ever tried using chicken?

  • Jacqueline Debono says:

    5 stars
    I’ve had schweinshaxe in Bavaria many times even at the Oktoberfest but never made it myself. Not sure why! But going to change that soon as yours looks so very good, it’s inspired me to give it a try!

  • Debbie says:

    5 stars
    This German style pork knuckle looks amazing. This looks like something my whole family will. Thanks for such a detailed recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  • Ksenia says:

    5 stars
    My husband is a HUGE pork fan and this dish is one of his favourites. Your technique and ingredients are flawless!

  • Heidy says:

    5 stars
    This German Pork Knuckle recipe was a significant change up at dinner. I really enjoyed it and plan on making it again soon. Great tips!

  • Eileen C says:

    5 stars
    What an easy dish to prepare and cook. The aroma coming from the kitchen was wonderful during that initial long, slow, cook to render the fat. Then I ramped up the heat and popped it back in for the skin to crisp up and just as I guessed, there was no splattering of hot fat around the oven – BONUS!
    Then to the serving up and eating of this amazing dish – we had it on a base of Creamy Cauli Mash with the easy-to-make gravy drizzled over. Oh MY!! What a divine dish!! We’ll definitely be having this again! Thanks for another amazing dish, Megan – you really are THE BEST!! šŸ˜‹šŸ¤©šŸ„°

    • Megan Mad Creations Hub says:

      Oh, I am so happy to hear it went so well Eileen. I love this recipe and it is great to know it is still winning fans after all these years.

  • Jere says:

    5 stars
    It was the spices in this recipe that intrigued me to make this.The aroma in my kitchen was amazing while the pork was cooking. Love how easy this was to make.

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