Makes 8 servings

  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 6-7 lb pork shoulder blade, bone-in (see notes)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons coursely ground salt
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Bavarian spice (see notes)
  • about 12 oz beer
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 15 oz low sodium, reduced fat beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, optional

Special equipment

mortar and pestle
fat skimmer (see notes)


Preheat the oven to 425°.

Roughly crack the peppercorns in your mortar and pestle;

If your pork shoulder still has its skin, remove it, making certtain however to leave the thick layer of fat underneath the rind on the roast. While traditional German cookery leaves the rind on, we find that removing it before cooking makes the dish easier to prepare and present.

This next step is part of the traditional preparation, meant to soften up the rind. Without the skin, it yields a delicious crispy brown crust on the top of the roast. Score the fat on the top in a diamond-shaped pattern. Don’t score so deeply that you cut into the meat. Rub half your spices into the top of the meat, and the other half into the unscored bottom. Melt the butter in the roasting pan, and put in the meat, fatside down. Pour about ½ a cup of the beer into the roasting pan, and roast for ½ hour.

Turn the heat down to 350° and remove the roasting pan. Remove the roast, scatter the cut vegies around the bottom, return the roast fatside up, and pour in maybe half of the broth. Return to the oven. Roast for another 2½ hours, basting every half hour, and adding more broth and beer each time. You don’t want to roast boiling in broth but neither do you want the pan to go dry (though there’s very little chance of that with a cut of meat this fatty).

When the time is up (internal temperature should be about 168°), remove the pan from the oven, and set the roast on a carving board to rest 15 minutes. That gives you time to prepare the sauce: pour the juices from the pan into a fatskimmer, holding the roasted vegies back with the spoon. Discard vegies, and pour the fat-free drippings back into the pan. Add any remaining beef broth or beer, and cook down until thick. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch if preferred. Some extra freshly crushed peppercorns will really enhance the sauce, but neither is required.


If this recipe sounds familiar, that’s because it’s very similar to our Schweinhaxe. It’s a foundation recipe for Bavarian meat dishes (indeed, #174 in the Bavarian culinary bible). With pork, the flavours are outstanding; every bit as good as the Schweinhaxe with more servings for less effort). No broth even after skimming could be more intense than this, so your sauce will be unrivaled. Have you ever seen drippings so rich? The secret is the carmelized vegetables.

The definition of pork shoulder depends on where you live. It could be a cut from the top of the pig (often called the butt even though it’s from the front of the pig not the hind end; it could be from closer to the leg (often called the picnic end) which may or may not include part of the trotter. We prefer the literal shoulder blade, a very flavourful cut, rich in fat and connective tissue that benefits from a long slow cook like this. If you find a boneless pork shoulder, it will be trimmed of the needed layer of top fat and trussed up in an unscorable net

For the Bavarian spice, we use Penzeys salt-free Bavarian Seasoning, but feel free to use any combination of garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay, mustard or marjoram.


We highly recommend you remove the wave-shaped blade bone before you spice up the roast, as it will make carving much easier. So remove the bone, score the fat, spice up your roast, and truss with one or two strands of cotten kitchen twine so that the roast keeps its shape while cooking.