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
With Schäufele and Bratwurst, beer, wine and a wide variety of regional specialties, Franconia is richly blessed. There are almost 300 breweries in Franconia, excellent wines and restaurants.
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
And what do the Franconians eat on Sundays? ‘Säi Schaiferla and Kläiß’, which is a type of pork shank and potato dumplings. Every year, at my class reunion, I treat myself to this meal when meeting at a restaurant with my former classmates
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.
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.
As sides I recommend Bavarian Sauerkraut and German Potato Dumplings, or my favorite and easy German Semmelknoedel Bread Dumplings and Wirsinggemüse
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. Remove the pork from the IP and broil 15 min in the oven fatty side up at 450 F. Season the liquid, in the IP to make a sauce by adding some wine or beer, thicken with a flour and cornstarch mix.
- 1 pork shoulder or Boston butt (3 pounds), with bones and rind
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 cup dark beer
- 1 can chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse the meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Make criss-cross slashes on top of rind, spaced 1 cm apart, to make diamond-shaped patterns and season the pork generously by with salt.
- Rub the bottom with salt, pepper and caraway seeds (top rind just salt) and place it into a roasting pan, with its rind facing upward.
- Scatter the chopped veggies around it and roast it in an oven, preheated to 350 F (160 C), until it is browned about 3 1/2 to 4 hours (internal temperature ~170 F)
- While cooking, pour in enough chicken broth so that 2 cm of the pork remains submerged in it.
- Keep basting it with the pan drippings from time to time in order to prevent the rind from becoming too dark and keep it moist.
- About 20 to 15 minutes before the cooking time is over, pour the beer (can be mixed with honey) all over the pork and pop it back into the oven and glaze at 450 F or 230 C
- Once the meat begins to pull off from the bones, the pork is ready to be served.
- Lift it onto a serving plate and pour the cooking juice into a fine sieve to strain into a saucepan.
- Cook sauce for several minutes until it reduces, season with salt and pepper to taste. adding some wine or beer.
- Thicken with a water, flour and cornstarch mix if necessary.
Serve with potato dumplings or bread dumplings, or mashed potatoes
For a traditional Franconian vegetable side I would choose Sauerkraut or Wirsinggemüse which reminds of spinach