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Saarländischer Schwenkbraten


In the schwenker’s homeland, this preparation reigns. This recipe is courtesy of my friend Astrid Weins, whose father hails from the Saarland. If neck meat is unavailable, ask your butcher to cut boneless country style ribs in large (3- by-4-inch) pieces.


Saarländischer Schwenkbraten

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 4 pounds pork neck meat, cut into 8-ounce pieces
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3-4 onions, cut in large strips
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 7 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon good curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2–1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Place the meat in a sealable container. Mix the remaining ingredients together and work into the meat. Seal and chill for at least 24 hours, up to 3 days.

Step 2: Allow meat to come to room temperature while you make a fire under the schwenker. Beech wood is traditional in the Saarland, but your schwenkbraten will be delicious cooked over any hardwood coals. Once you have a decent coal bed, and more wood burning alongside to generate additional coals, place the meat on the preheated grill grate, and start it swinging gently yet continually. Adjust the height of the grill or the coal arrangement to get a moderate steady heat.

Step 3: At this point, there’s nothing to do but keep the schwenker swinging and drink beer. When the first side looks crispy and luscious, flip the schwenkbraten with tongs. Keep the schwenker moving, and cook until meat registers 145°F internally.

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