Recently Perth has been starting to warm up, getting ready for summer; but with a recent spate of dreary weather I thought I would do one last stodgy comfort food goodbye to winter; and with Oktoberfest going on in Germany what better dish than pork hocks.
Given I was taking on an Oktoberfest theme I wanted to incorporate beer in to the cooking so I decided to use this recipe from Chris Badenoch, former Masterchef contestant known for cooking hearty dishes with beer. On a side note Chris now runs Boneyard Brewing along with ex-Perth local Brendan O’Sullivan and they make some cracking beers (the grapefruit IPA is my pick of the bunch).
To accompany I decided on blaukraut from this recipe to help cut through the fattiness of the pork and the hasselback potato recipe from Billy Law’s Man Food because potato & bacon rock.
As this is predominantly a BBQ blog though I thought I would mix up the recipe to allow for some smoke flavours so I adjusted the hock recipe to:
2 hours smoke
3 hours braise
1 hour roast
In to the BBQ we go at around 100 degrees Celsius for two hours using red gum pellets from Aussie BBQ Smoke to add some flavour.
I did the braise as per Chris’ recipe apart from one adjustment…
I added more beer.
If there’s one thing you know about me by now it’s that I don’t do things in halves. I used Feral Brewing’s Hopfen Fahrt because it’s a great local German inspired beer and added some rauchbier for its smokiness.
While the hocks are braising you can prepare your side dishes. The blaukraut is best prepared the day before. I ended up doubling the vinegar as I wanted something quite acidic to pair with the pork.
The hasselback potato is like a delicious crossover between potato gratin and a baked potato. Thinly slice the potato, leaving it joined at the bottom then add sour cream, butter, cheese and bacon. During the cooking the potato fans out in to delicious slices of amazing.
The pork recipe recommends finishing the hocks off in the oven on high heat to crisp up the skin. I still had the BBQ going so I cranked that up to roasting temp except there was one problem: the hocks were so damn tender hey we’re falling off the bone. Mrs Grillah managed to snag one with a sieve so we could try to complete as per the recipe, but overall I figured it’s a good problem to have (this meat is too tender said no one ever).
I’m glad I added the two hours of smoke, it gave the pork a great flavour and you can see a touch of pink smoke ring in the picture above. The side dishes will definitely be used again, they were the perfect companions to this decadent and rich feast.
This meal seems worlds away as I am now sitting by the pool in sunny Byron Bay, drinking a beer and planning some awesome summer BBQ.