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Steve Z 06-19-2013 11:06 AM

Help with Schwenkbraten
Anyone here familiar with Schwenkbraten? When I was stationed in Germany a few decades ago, this was hands down my favorite thing to eat. It's a fairly fatty pork steak about 3/4" thick cooked on a swing/grate rig over a beechwood fire, served on a roll.

I've been thinking about it, off and on, for years and would love to figure out how to make it at home. I have some specific questions, but I'm open to anyone's tips, tricks or suggestions.

First, traditionally, it was cooked over beechwood. Any idea where that's available, or what kind of wood I could substitute that would be similar?

Second, I'm not sure what cut of meat it was. Pork, obviously, but I want to say it was a steak from the Pork Neck. But it's been so long. Would I need to go to a butcher for this? Is the neck sold under another name, or is there a cut that would substitute?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Supes 06-19-2013 11:10 AM

There you go, sir.

Failing that, I could ask the german guys who work with me.

Steve Z 06-19-2013 11:33 AM


Originally Posted by Supes (Post 2521573)
There you go, sir.

Failing that, I could ask the german guys who work with me.

That looks about right. I hadn't seen that recipe, but I've done some reading up through Google to get some other ones. I'd appreciate it if you could run it by your German coworkers. That would be awesome.

benniesdad 06-19-2013 12:37 PM

I am very familiar with it and have a swinging grill like the one below specifically designed to make it. That said, there are regional differences in what is referred to as Schwenkbraten. The one I am most familiar with are individual thick (1-2 inches thick) cuts of pork or even pork tenderloin. In the town where I had it extensively, it was referred to as Spiessbraten, but regionally it is referred to as Schwenkbraten. The other one is an actual roast.

For doing the individual cuts, I normally purchase a pork loin roast and cut it myself about 1.5-2 inches thick. Use the end pieces as the center cut is too lean. The recipe I am familiar with is very simple because it just seasons with salt and pepper and then puts the pork in a bed of strong yellow onions with onions also covering the meat sealed with plastic wrap for 6 hours or so. You want as much of the onion flavor as possible to flavor the meat.

The flavor in Schwenkbraten comes from cooking it over an open fire using beech wood (Buchenholtz). You can substitute oak or another hard wood, but it is worth using beech if you can find it. The swinging grill allows the hot flames of the open fire to slowly sear the meat almost like a reverse sear, if that makes sense. I have tried to do with on a Weber kettle using pieces of beech wood, and the flavor was close, but it missed that taste that only the open fire could give it.

Steve Z 06-19-2013 12:47 PM

Thanks for the information! I was at Hahn AB, and the Schwenkbraten I'm familiar with was whatever we got in that area, ranging up and down the Mosel River at all of the wine fests held throughout the Summer and annually at the Pig Fest in Wittlich.

This was 20 years ago, and I remember they were pretty thick, but I wouldn't say more than about 1" tops. I'd remember 2" thick slabs on a brotchen.

I'll also look into the schwenkgrill.

benniesdad 06-19-2013 12:59 PM

The recipe and type of Schwenkbraten I was referring to is the same as you would have gotten in the Hahn AFB area (Hunsrück).

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