Schäufele (Schaufele translates to small shovel) is a traditional dish that is mainly served in my hometown Würzburg and the Franconia region of Germany. Every year, at my class reunion, I treat myself to this meal when meeting at a restaurant with my former classmates
Schäufele and Bratwurst in Franconia is richly blessed with beer, wine and a wide variety of regional specialties. There are almost 300 breweries in Franconia, excellent wines and restaurants. And what do the Franconians eat on Sundays? ‘Säi Schaiferla and Kläiß’, which is a type of pork shank and potato dumplings.
As a side dish there is ‘Kläiß or Kniedli’ – potato dumplings that consist of both raw and boiled potatoes and the Franconian Wirsinggemüse
Franconian cuisine is hearty and strong, and the regional diversity is almost unmanageable. Even in the neighboring village not far away, Schäufele is prepared according to different recipes.
The Schäufele comes from the pork shoulder. The pork fatty part is carved, then seasoned with salt and pepper and fried vigorously in the pan, then slowly baked in the roaster with root vegetables for about three hours until crispy.
Instruction how to cut the Pork Shoulder. If not sure, have your butcher do it:
Remove the meat and the ribs from the side of the severed pork shoulder. Then cut through the rind left and right, along the shoulder bone with a straight cut, not too close to the bone. At the joint, towards the long bone, slice the Schaufele straight down and cut it out in a trapezoidal shape.
At least two thirds of the Schaufele must be covered with rind. Then cut into the rind with a sharp knife at a distance of about 1/2 centimeter (1/4″) in a diamond shape. Do not cut out the bone, because it is an essential part of the Schäufele.
It is now divided lengthways into two portions of Schäufele along with the bone. The properly cut portion size should have a gross weight of 600 to 700 grams (1 1/3 lb) with rind and bones.
Preparation of the Schäufele:
When finished cooking, it resembles something between grilled pork shank and pork chop. Crispy and juicy, it is my favorite meal when in Lower Franconia.
Lately I have been using my Instant Pot more often, and the meat comes out juicer with more aroma. My method is to grill/char the seasoned pork pieces on the grill for about 3 minutes from each side until browned. Fill the Instant Pot with 1 cup dark beer and 1 cup water, veggies like onion, carrots and celery. Pressure cook about 10 minutes a pound, about 30 to 35 minutes for the 3 pieces. Adjust by weight. Slow release 5 minutes. Open and season, add some wine or beer and thicken the sauce.