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Crispy Beer Roasted Pork Knuckle

Crispy beer-roasted pork knuckle is a Central European most famously known as Schweinshaxe it features juicy meat and incredible crackling.

My version is based on recipes and flavours from my time living in Hungary and is an ode to a dish that was so often my favourite thing to order on a menu.

Beer roasted pork knuckle or hock with crispy crackling.

Easy Crispy Beer Roasted Pork Shank or Hock

Welcome to a recipe for one of my favourite things to eat… in all my time in Hungary, this is a dish that always turned my head on restaurant menus.

But it’s easy to make at home and it’s wonderfully frugal and it tastes fantastic!

Crispy beer roast pork knuckle is arguably most commonly known by its German name in Europe, Schweinshaxe.

However, I know it as ropogós sörben sült sertéscsülök, can you tell why learning the Hungarian language made me cry and swear so often?

You may associate Hungarian cuisine with goulash aka gulyásleves or chicken paprikash aka csirkepaprikás.

But in my 13 years living in Hungary, I never went into a single old-school restaurant that didn’t have some variation on this dish on the menu. It was also the dish that seemed to sell out the most often!

If I am cooking a full-on Sunday lunch it is usually a straight-up coin toss between this and my slow roast pork belly recipe.

Both produce the most incredibly crackling and wonderfully moist meat. The kicker is that pork knuckle will probably be anywhere from 30-50% cheaper per kilo than pork belly.

Naturally, there is a little less meat, but a 1.2-1.4 kilo pork knuckle will easily serve 4 people!

Meat and crackling from a beer roasted pork knuckle, served with potatoes and red cabbage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pork knuckle the same as ham hock?

They are the same cut of meat however ham hock tends to be cured. They will either be brined or smoked.

Can I use a cured pork knuckle for this recipe?

No, the salt levels become overwhelming, if you omit the salt during the cooking process the ingredients will work.

However beer is not the best match for the cured pork, I would use cider instead.

Is pork knuckle known as anything else?

Yes, it is often also called, pork hock or pork shank.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, although eating it fresh from the oven is a very special treat. But the meat will be fine in the fridge for 2-3 days and the crackling will stay crisp, but the fat will be less than pleasing when cooled.

What beer do you use?

I developed this recipe with a dark Central European beers or beers known as “Bock”, sadly they are not as commonly available in the UK.

Since returning to the UK I have been making this with Leffe Brune, a dark wheat beer from Belgium.

Onion gravy being poured over the meat from a beer roasted pork knuckle, served with potatoes and red cabbage.

Serving Suggestions

I’ve served my roasted pork shank here in a Central European style, with a bit of braised red cabbage and some simple boiled potatoes.

But it is awesome with anything that would normally go with a piece of roasted meat.

Mash is an excellent start, mashed potato or celeriac mash are both wonderful, although something a little sweeter works well too. As a result, I would probably be more inclined to add swede and carrot mash or clapshot a Scottish swede and potato mash.

Sticking with those thoughts on sweetness, glazed Chantenay carrots or honey-roasted parsnips would work wonderfully.

Of course, we are roasting a big old lump of meat, so it would be rude not to throw some roast potatoes in the oven too!

Crispy beer roasted pork knuckle or hock with incredible crackling.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Oven.
  • Hob/stovetop to reheat the gravy.
  • Small saucepan to reheat the gravy.
  • Blender.
  • Roasting pan or tin.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • A combination of weighing scales and or a measuring jug, measuring cups and spoons.
Crispy beer roasted pork knuckle or hock with incredible crackling.
Yield: 4 Servings

Crispy Beer Roasted Pork Knuckle Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Popular across all of central Europe my version of beer-roasted crispy pork knuckle has definite Hungarian leanings and features dark beer and caraway seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1.2Kg (2½ lb) Pork Knuckle
  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Dark Beer
  • 175ml (¾ cup) Chicken Stock (Plus more to let down the gravy later)
  • 450g (3 Cups Prepared) Onion
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Caraway Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Instructions

  1. Peel the onion and cut it into 1cm (½") thick half-moons.
  2. Throw the onion and garlic into the base of a roasting tin and pour over the chicken stock.
  3. Stand the knuckle on the onions with "foot" end pointing upwards.
  4. Pour over the beer, season the pork with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds, and tuck in the bay leaves.
  5. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C or 350°F and roast for 3½ hours. Keep an eye on the pan if it looks to be running "dry" pour in a little more beer.
  6. After the pork has been cooking for 3½ hours remove the onions and liquid from the cooking pan and blitz to form a gravy adding more stock as required to let down the gravy.
  7. Turn up the heat to 220°C or 450°C and return the roast for a further 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a fan-assisted oven increase the heat to 200°C or 400°F for 30 minutes. If you are using a fan-assisted oven keep an eye on the pork as the crisping time varies greatly!
  8. Finally, reheat the gravy to serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 786Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 273mgSodium: 831mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 80g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Rick

Thursday 14th of October 2021

Hi Brian, new to your site, but interested as most of your food looks like it doesn't take 2 days to make, and it's good wholesome home cooking. Tried the above pork hock recipe, (I've only ever done them in a slow cooker, in cider, beer, coke, pineapple juice, orange juice, or any mixture of the above). Followed your instructions, (my oven is fan assisted, so turned temp down to 160).after 2 hours, the beer had dried up, and the onions/garlic were on their way to being a charred mess. After 3hours ish, I removed the hocks, deglazed my pan as best I could, and made "gravy". Once blitzed, I tasted the gravy. Possibly the nastiest thing I've ever tasted. Poured it away, made gravy from veg water, oxo and bisto :( Meat was fabulous, this isn't a gripe, I'd just like to know where I went wrong with the onions/garlic/beer. P.S.my wife said the crackling was the best she'd ever had!

Brian Jones

Friday 5th of November 2021

Hi Rick...

Sorry, it has taken a while to get back, I've been embroiled in moving countries so my response time has not been as quick as it should be.

It's really difficult to be precisely sure what went wrong, I have 35 reviews on this recipe to date and no one has reported a similar issue. My guess would be that you used a larger pan than me and as a result, the pool of liquid was shallower and it evaporated more quickly allowing the onions to burn. I can imagine it tasted pretty ropey, I am so sorry.

Hopefully, you give it another try, keep an eye on it and if the pan appears to look dry add a little more beer.

I have updated the recipe to reflect this.

Cheers

Brian :)

Kim

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Can I use a whole chicken instead and would I have to season the chicken inside out first with the salt and pepper and reduce the beer to ? What you think

Brian Jones

Thursday 16th of April 2020

That's something I have not really considered, I don't see any reason why it would not work. You would obviously need to change the cooking times, 60-80 minutes for a standard 1.5-2kg bird is fine. I would probably stand the bird on some thickly sliced onions to stop the cavity filling with beer which would impact the cooking time quite a lot.

Definitely season well inside and out with salt and pepper!

I'd take it out of the oven when the internal temperature of the thigh meat reached 67-68C and then rest for 10 minutes to come up to 74C and whilst that was happening I'd reduce the beer and turn it into a sauce.

Good luck and have fun :)

Dannii

Tuesday 2nd of January 2018

Oh my husband would love this. I am a big fan of anything that involves red cabbage as well.

Brian Jones

Thursday 4th of January 2018

Thank you.

Amy | The Cook Report

Tuesday 2nd of January 2018

This looks like my ideal comfort food!!

Brian Jones

Thursday 4th of January 2018

Thanks Amy mine too!

Helene

Tuesday 2nd of January 2018

What a wonderful marriage of flavors you got here Brian! I love pork with cabbage and red cabbage makes it all the more special during the cold winter months. The most essential spice that I can see here is caraway seeds. I know it must be sooo good! that's comfort food in my book. :)

Brian Jones

Thursday 4th of January 2018

Thanks Helene it really is a taste of right here right now :D

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