Schäufele – a unique treat from Southern Germany

Posted on 3 min read

Schäufele is a regional delicacy from the south of Germany. In essence, it is a specific cut from the shoulder blade of a pig, cooked with vegetables and alcohol.

The name schäufele literally translates as a small shovel and can sometimes be spelt as schäuferl, schüfeli, schäuferl or schäfelchen.

Two amazing methods to prepare soft, juicy schäufele

Just like the name of the dish varies from region to region, the recipes differ too.

In the Franconian region, for instance, one would pre-cook the schäufele by crisscrossing the rind of fat, then infusing the meat with spice before placing it in a casserole with vegetables and beer. This dish must be cooked for a few hours in an oven.

The Baden style of schäufele, on the other hand, requires the meat to be first cured and smoked and then simmered in a broth of herbs and wine.

Both methods produce soft and flavoursome meat that falls off the bone. Schäufele is a popular choice of meal for Christmas in Germany and parts of Switzerland, comforting and filling while also festive and authentic.

If you feel like trying this pork shoulder dish at home, your main task will be to source the correct cut. Therefore, a visit to a butcher might be in order.

Let’s cook a traditional schäufele à la Frankenland

Once you got the right cut, try this Fränkisches Schäufele recipe and make your own version of the famous dish with a perfect crunchy rind.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shoulder blade cut (about 1 kg / 3 lb)
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1 rib of carrot
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • chicken stock
  • dark beer
  • 1 tsp honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat an oven to 160 °C / 350 °F.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the meat.
  3. Cut the rind in a crisscross manner, ensuring the knife doesn’t go all the way through to the bone or meat.
  4. Coarsely cut the onions, garlic cloves, celery and carrot. Set the vegetables aside.
  5. In a mortar, grind the caraway seeds and mix them with sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Rub the fatty rind of the meat with just salt to help form the crust. Using the caraway spice mix, rub the bottom and the sides of the cut.
  7. Place the meat with the rind side up in a casserole, followed by the vegetables. Add some chicken stock to the casserole too, not more than about 2 cm / 1 inch depth of the casserole. Transfer the casserole to the preheated oven for about 2-3 hours. Baste the meat rind a few times during cooking to prevent it from burning.
  8. When the meat is almost ready, remove it from the oven and increase the heat to 230 °C / 450 °F. Mix 250 ml / 1 cup of beer with honey and pour it over the meat and vegetables. Return the casserole to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. The meat should be able to fall off the bone. Carefully place it on a serving plate and drain the juices through a sieve into a pan.
  10. Boil the juice to reduce the volume of the liquid before using it as gravy. Serve the schäufele with mashed potato and sauerkraut.

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