I grew up in a home where nothing was boiled and never did meat touch water in the cooking process, ever. I bought lovely smoked Eisbein and all the recipes I found wanted me to boil the meat first for a few hours before roasting it. No, not in this here house. This particular cut of the pork shank is of German origin and can be fresh but is usually pickled or smoked.
The name however is Nordic in origin and means “pork knuckle” . In Swedish it is Islaeggor and in Norwegian it is called Islegg. Directly translated into my Afrikaans home language therefor: Ysbeen! The interesting part is that it has nothing to do with the “Ysbeen” in our bodies, but the name stuck because they used to make ice skates of the knuckle bone in the Nordic countries. There you have it!
So upwards and onwards and hell bent on not boiling anything and definitely not my smoked Eisbeins, I googled and found the passionate blog of The Rider who also did not boil his meat but instead did a barbeque and smoked it in a Webber. We corresponded and food friends made, I told him smoking and Webbers are out of the question as it is not going to go down well in an apartment block where no such shenanigans will be allowed. The poor man was having a gall stone attack at the other end of the country after his indulgences with the exact same Eisbein culprit went too far for his doctor’s liking (oh what we would do for good food…). I hope he is alive and well and firing up the Webber again as we speak.
Investigations done, I found a recipe for pork fillet by Jamie Oliver which he combined with rhubarb of all things and I had rhubarb in my fridge!
Preparation: I formed a bed of onion, garlic and rhubarb. No water no oil no nothing, the meat has enough fat and juices.
Oven: The Eisbeins went into the oven, covered with foil. Bake it at low heat (140 C) for 3.5 hours. I added carrots towards the end. Roast : remove foil and roast for another hour or however long you want on n higher heat or if you do not have another hour, grill it at high heat until you have hard crackling. Be around and look often if on a high heat so you do not overdo the roasting and burn the crackling part.
In other words, take your merry time on a Sunday or whenever because it is so worth it. No need to boil anything and the meat was soft and juicy. The rhubarb with smoked pork is an absolute winner, it has the same tartness as the baked apple. Next time I will put in the rhubarb much later as mine disintegrated into a sauce ( nice) but lost its pink colour and I am all about colour as we know.
I served it with baked apple slices and pickled radishes instead of the normal sauerkraut.
Baked Apples: Place sliced and cored apple on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and butter and bake till you have a soft apple.
I miss Europe. Do I feel a trip comming on…..?