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Barbecued Schweinshaxe with Thai Inspired Sauce

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pork nuckle

Get into this schweinshaxe!


Kao ka moo is a delicious Thai brazed pork dish usually made with pork leg. It is so nice slowly brazed in the authentic way but today I decided to mix it all up with this Thai/German inspired schweinshaxe.

I lived in Germany for a few years while at uni and pork schweinshaxe was one of my favourite dishes. The meat is so fall about tender and that crispy crackling is to die for.

We cook German scheinshaxe often at home but today I wanted to give it a Thai touch and it worked amazingly well.

The Thai inspired pork knuckle and sauce can be served with Jasmine rice or rice noodles.

How to get the best results…

The best results are down to your own personal preferences and the heat that you cook the pork at. Good pork shank with lots of crispy crackling takes time.

You need to cooke the pork on a very low heat for a couple of hours before cranking up the heat for the finale. All is explained in the recipe below.

Once your sauce is finished, taste it. You could adjust the flavours by adding more sugar for sweetness, soy sauce or fish sauce for saltiness and of course more chillies if you want more spice.

Working ahead…

For even more flavour, simmer the stock ingredients for about 30 minutes. This can be done a day ahead of time and the sauce will benefit from your additional work.

To get a crispier cracking, take the pork shanks out of the packaging and put on a plate in the fridge overnight. This will dry the skin and make it even more delicious once cooked.

You could also rub salt into the skin the night before.

Do I have to use pork shanks?

No. This recipe calls for pork shanks because we are making schweinshaxe. You could use any cuts you like. Pork should and leg both work well too.

Make this recipe your own…

First of all, you might have noticed that the recipe calls for four shanks but I have only cooked three. Well, it’s only my daughter, wife and me here experiencing these crazy times like you. So that was enough for us. 

So then, feel free to adjust this recipe to your own liking. I have made the sauce quite mild with only two chillies. Go ahead and spice the sauce up to your liking. Add more chillies if you like. I would if I weren’t cooking for my wife and daughter. 

season the underside of each shank

Season the underside of each shank with salt and pepper.

Char the shanks in oil

Sear the underside of each shank and then transfer to a roasting pan.

Adding onions to meat juices

Add the onions to the meat juices and fry for a couple of minutes.

Adding the rest of the sauce ingredients

Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer to reduce by one third.

pouring sauce over the pork shanks

Pour the sauce into the pan with the pork shanks.

Placing meat on the BBQ

It’s time for the long 2 – 3 hour cook! Get a beer and relax.

straining the stock

strain the stock.

pork shanks with crackling

Almost time to dig in!

Love Thai food? Try some of these delicious recipes!

Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Chicken Satay and peanut sauce
Steamed Sea Bass with Garlic and Lime Sauce
Tom Yum Gai
Tom Kha Gai
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup
Pad Thai
Pork Larb

Pork shank with noodles

Dig in!


Yield: 4

Schweinshaxe with Thai Inspired Sauce

pork nuckle
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes


  • 4 pork shanks – skin scored
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) water or unsalted pork or chicken stock
  • 2 medium onions – roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp black soy sauce
  • 1 generous tbsp palm sugar or other sugar
  • 10 coriander stems – roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic - smashed
  • 2 long red chillies - roughly chopped
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns - cracked
  • 2 tbsp smashed and then finely chopped galangal
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms


  1. Season the bottom of each shank with salt and pepper.
  2. Fry the bottom of the shanks for about four minutes in the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Place the seared pork shanks in a large roasting pan that will fit comfortably into your BBQ.
  4. Using the oil and meat fat from frying the pork shanks, add 2 onions to the pot and fry for about three minutes. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer until reduced by one third.
  5. Pour this sauce into the roasting pan with the pork shanks.
  6. Fire up you BBQ with about one shoebox full of charcoal. When the coals are white hot, push them all to one side for indirect cooking.
  7. Place the meat tray on the grill over the half that has no charcoal and roast for two hours. The perfect roasting temperature to aim for is 120c/250f. You will need to top up the charcoal every 30 minutes to maintain that heat.
  8. After two hours, take the pork shanks off the grill and strain the sauce through a fine sieve. Keep the sauce warm.
  9. Put the meat back in the roasting dish and add a couple more shoe boxes of charcoal to the hot coals and bring your BBQ up to 230c/450f. The charcoal still all needs to be on one side of your BBQ.
  10. When that high heat is reached, place the pork shanks back on the BBQ and cook for another 30 minutes over indirect heat. Cook for 30 minutes or until the crackling is nice and crispy.
  11. Transfer one shank per person to heated serving plates. Serve with rice noodles or jasmine rice and a selection of veggies. Drizzle the sauce over the top.

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