Since the crackling of Sunday’s suckling pig roast was not entirely satisfying, the issue needs to be tackled now. As a main cause for the crust only being partially crisp I suspected my refraining to use the convection feature of my oven. To verify this hypothesis I made a Haxe with convection today.
Like probably no other dish the classic Bavarian style Schweinshaxe critically depends on the crispness of the skin. Meat is present in abundance but it only serves to fill the stomach. The true bliss of eating a Haxe lies in the enjoyment of its crisp crackling skin.
Just as for the Bavarian pork roast there are plenty of tricks that supposedly help the skin to crisp successfully. Basting with beer or parboiling are probably the most prevalent. I deliberately chose not to use any of those tricks.
I seasoned only with salt and pepper. The skin successfully blocks any attempt of flavouring anyway, and the skinless surface is not very big in relation to the volume. Spices are having a hard time to enter the meat during roasting. This might actually be an advantage of parboiling. But this is all about the skin anyway, and for this really only salt is required.
- Preparation: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees with convection. Generously season the skinless part of the hock with salt and pepper, salt is all you need to season the skin. Place in the oven on a grate with a dripping pan and cook for 2 1/2 hours, then raise the temperature to 240 degrees. Do not use the grill because the topmost part of the hock might burn too quickly.
During the final stage the Haxe must be checked continuously so you can react quickly in case sometihing burns. It is very likely that the skin will burst into bubbles on some places, the more the better. Here I surely could have taken this a bit further but I didn’t want to risk the meat to burn as it was already fairly dark.
And what should I say? The skin was delightfully crisp all around even though it could have been a bit more “bubbly”. So the experiment was successful indeed. For a crisp skin no tricks are required. All you need is convection.
In Bavaria Schweinshaxe is usually served swimming in a puddle of gravy with potato or bread dumplings. Luckily not everywhere, but it’s not easy to find the few places where Haxe is served dry. Granted, dumplings and gravy are fine in their own right, but unfortunately there is always some of the crisp skin being soaked, and this is counterprodictive to say the least. Bavarian coleslaw, mustard and a beer, and maybe some bread if the portion is too small… You don’t need anyting more.