A German Style Pork Hock Bake-Off

It may seem surprising to have a German Style Pork Hock recipe in a blog focused on healthy living.  But as you may have heard, fat is becoming less worrisome–if it comes from a healthier source, of course. 


German Style Pork Hock with potatoes

This whole adventure started out of my mission to eat local.  Last fall when I ordered local pastured pork for my freezer, I was asked, “do you want the pork hocks?”  Always up for a challenge I answered “yes.” 


Pork Hock, uncooked

Pork hocks and I go way back. You see, Milwaukee is a town with a strong German Heritage.  When I was growing up, German restaurants (usually Karl Ratzch’s for local readers) were a frequent spot for family celebrations.   I especially enjoyed a  good German Style Pork Hock, with its juicy, fork tender meat and crispy, crackly exterior.pork-hock-closeup

I couldn’t wait to reprise it. 

So off I went to the internet where I found two different recipes.  Since I had two pork hocks, I could do a “bake off.”

I started with the easiest recipe.  Simply dry and salt the exterior then bake for a couple of hours at a combination of high and medium heat.  It sounded too good to be true.  But since this is more or less how I make my easy roast chicken (which works great) I decided to give it a try.  In the end, however, the meat was less tender than I like and the exterior was less crisp.  On to the next recipe.


Pork Hock after boiling


Place boiled hock and vegetables in baking dish

The second attempt (from website Quick German Recipes) involved pre-boiling the hock with chopped vegetables, then baking at a high temperature.  Since this felt like a whole lot more work I actually boiled it the first day, refrigerated overnight and finished the cooking the next day.  And the result?   Ding, ding, ding–a lovely combination of crisp exterior and tender meat, just like I remembered.  And there really wasn’t a lot of working time when I reflected.IMG_8808-Pork-Hock

I still felt a little guilty digging into the rich meaty dish– I’m not 117 lbs like I used to be!  But a New York Times article reassured me saying that “a large and exhaustive new analysis by a team of international scientists found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart attacks and other cardiac events.”  Of course there are exceptions to any rule, so consult a doctor or dietitian regarding your personal health needs.

And with Oktoberfest coming up, isn’t a nice German Style Pork Hock dinner a fine way to celebrate?

Almost no German Style Pork Hock leftovers

Almost no German Style Pork Hock leftovers

German Style Pork Hock
Serves 4
With its juicy fork tender meat and crispy exterior German Style Pork Hock is perfect for Oktoberfest or any other time of the year.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
393 calories
8 g
145 g
16 g
51 g
6 g
247 g
711 g
3 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 393
Calories from Fat 146
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 145mg
Sodium 711mg
Total Carbohydrates 8g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 51g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 leek, well cleaned, diced
  2. 1 stalk celery, diced
  3. 1 carrot, diced
  4. 1 onion, diced
  5. 1 t salt
  6. 1 t peppercorns
  7. 1 1/2 lb meaty pork hock
  1. Put ingredients (vegetables, salt, peppercorns, and pork hock) in pot and add water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer until meat is just tender - about 2 hours. Do not overcook.
  2. When tender, drain, reserving the vegetables and cooking liquid.
  3. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  4. Place drained vegetables and a small amount of the cooking liquid in a baking dish and top with the pork hock. (Remaining cooking liquid can be saved for later use or discarded)
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, occasionally basting meat with cooking liquid, until golden.
Art of Natural Living http://artofnaturalliving.com/

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14 thoughts on “A German Style Pork Hock Bake-Off

    1. Inger

      I wish I’d thought of that–the bone is gone now. But there is another pork hock coming with this year’s order! Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. Inger

      I was a little unsure in some of the intermediate pictures 😉 I kept thinking it was a good thing my kids didn’t see it at that point!

    1. Inger

      I was hoping the easy version would win Beth 😉 But in the end, the other wasn’t that hard, and I’m happy to have a new dish we like!

  1. Louise

    Well you sure did put those hocks to the test Inger! I’m liking the second version too. My grandmother use to make hocks Italian style but I’ll be darned if I can remember how. I almost think it involved pickling? Save that bone this year, it will make a GREAT soup bone!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Inger…You sure were up to the challenge!

    1. Inger

      Thanks Louise. I thought of you as I made this. You’d need to scrape off the crispy exterior on your new diet, but I’m sure the inside would be good alone too (and the soup…)

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