Franconian Word of the Month


"Schäufele" by barockschloss is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Schäufele (in Franconia usually Schäuferla) /ʒɔɪ-fæ-læ/

Deutsch: Schäufele

English: pork shoulder

Now, I wholeheartedly agree that Germany is not really known for its superb food, though for some reason, those who eat frog legs may be on the top of that list! German food is not a delicate matter of well-placed greens with a teeny tiny piece of meat in a sauce that has to be prepared for hours; it is more a sign of German efficiency, in so far as a meal should contain enough carbohydrates to last you for today and even possibly tomorrow with as little fuss as possible. If vitamins come into play, that is a happy coincidence. Truly, Germans are known especially as “Krauts”, so eaters of sauerkraut or white, slightly fermenting cabbage which was (and still is) an important stockpile during those long winters.

But sometimes, even the most uninspiring cooks like the Germans – at least in the south – do something right, and when they do, they create a Schäufele. The Schäufele is the part of a pig’s shoulder and is usually served with Kloß (a form of dumpling) and (again) Sauerkraut. If done right, the meat is so tender that it practically falls off the bone it comes with, and the fatty hide, cut into little pieces and roasted slowly, becomes so crunchy that eating even one of those so-called Gröbala is like a taste explosion in your mouth.

Preparing a Schäufele is, however, not for the weak-minded. It can take up to four hours for the meat to become tender, with constant checking and basting so it doesn’t dry out. From personal experience, I can testify that the meat might just be just too fatty and salty for foreigners or people not used to it (looking at you, my dear fiancée!) Still, if you’ve never had the chance, you should definitely give it a try at the Schäufelewirtschaft or – my personal favourite – at the Schrödlwirt.

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