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Schwenkbraten Sandwiches




I'm no master of German cuisine, and when I decided to host an Oktoberfest cookout of sorts, my first, and only, recipes I thought of were all of the wurst variety. I felt like I both wanted to cook and offer more than sausages to my guest, so did some research on other ubiquitous German grilled meats and came across schwenkbraten—marinated and grilled pork neck steaks. It seemed like schwenkbraten consisted of three things, all dubbed schwenker—the unique suspended swinging grill over a live fire for cooking, the person actually doing the grilling (or most correctly, the swinging), and the meat itself. Seeing as I had two out of three and, having never had schwenkbraten before, I was freed a bit of the confines of authenticity, it seemed like a decent choice to help fill out the menu with at least one thing that fit the theme was not an encased meat.


To start this recipe off, I attempted to get some true pork neck steaks, and while pork neck wasn't all that difficult to find, procuring it in a steak fashion, and not cut into little pieces, was. So I did what I figured was the next best, and closet thing. I trimmed off half-inch thick steaks from a pork shoulder I was also using to make sausages. Seeing as the shoulder is pretty close to the neck and the steaks had a similar amount of fat and connective tissue, I felt good that this was the right direction.


The flavoring of the marinade seemed a little bit like a cook's choice. I read recipes and watched some German Youtube video for research and what went into the sauce was wide and varied. Most everyone had oil (of course), garlic, juniper berries, and mustard. So I began there added in dried thyme and oregano for the herbal component that looked common, as well as paprika and cayenne for a touch of spice and heat.


Onions also seemed a must, so I tossed one sliced onion into the marinade and coated it, along with the pork, in the liquid. My plan later was to make use of those onions by grilling them and using them as a topping for the sandwiches.


Another hallmark of schwenkbraten recipes was a long marinade time. Seeing as there wasn't a whole lot in the marinade that would actually react with the meat to make significant changes over time, I question if that is really a necessity, scientifically speaking. I did marinate mine almost 24 hours since I prepared it the afternoon before the event, but I would imagine less time wouldn't produce dramatically different results. For good measure though, I left he ideal timing from overnight to two days in the final recipe.


My major area of concern in making these was how they would turn out cooked over high heat. Pork shoulder, and neck, is full of fat and connective tissue that is chewy and tough when cooked quickly, but renders when cooked low and slow. If using a traditional schwenker, I assume the grilling is a bit slower than on a grill since the coals are further from the grill grate, but it's still hot and fast cooking and not what I was used to for shoulder meat.


I must say though, they did grill up to be really beautiful. In just a few minutes per side, the thin steaks developed a nice sear with attractive browning and were also just cooked through, without being over done—so the hot fire did its job in this respect.


Once the steaks were done and I had room on the grill again, I put a cast iron skillet over the coals and let it preheat for a few minutes. I then took the onions from the marinade and cooked them in the hot skillet until they were crisp-tender, which took about five minutes.


And now for what's become a standard PSA of mine—if you're making sandwiches on the grill, use that massive space and heat source to grill your bread! That bread in this scenario were Kaiser rolls, which I toasted over direct heat until lightly browned, warmed through, and a bit crusty.


I then turned my three grilled elements into sandwiches by topping each bun with a pork steak or two and a portion of the onions. Whether they tasted good was still a question, but they certainly looked great and very meat forward, which is how I imagine a lot of German dishes are.


And the flavor was pretty great too. The marinade was powerful and lent a nice pungent and herbal profile to the meat and onions, along with a slight hit of heat. The pork itself was well cooked, but as I expected, there was a bit more chew to it than I'm used to. That's not to say that's a bad thing—there was no bit of this sandwich that was inedible—it was just different, and what I assume is all part of the experience. My main point of contention was the sandwiches felt a tad dry when taken altogether, but that's something a little spread of mustard or mayo could easily fix, and I would add that in if I were making these again. All-in-all though, they provided the non-wurst dish I was looking for and introduced me to something new that I now must seek out and try to see what real deal schwenkbraten is all about.

Schwenkbraten Sandwiches

A long stint in a herbed and spiced mustard marinade gives these German pork steak sandwiches an immense flavor.

  • Prep Time:
  • 10 Minutes
  • Inactive Time:
  • 4 Hours
  • Cook Time:
  • 10 Minutes
  • Total Time:
  • 4 Hours 20 Minutes
  • Yield:
  • 8 servings


  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2lbs pork neck or shoulder steaks, cut 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 Kaiser rolls


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, salt, garlic, paprika, juniper berries, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Add in onion and steak and toss to thoroughly coat. Transfer to a large Ziploc bag, seal, removing as much air as possible, and place in refrigerator overnight to two days.
  2. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place porks steaks on grill and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a cutting board or platter.
  3. Place a cast iron skillet on grill and let preheat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place onions in skillet and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from grill and set aside. Place rolls on grill, cut side down, and cook until warmed through and lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer buns to serving platter or plates, top each bottom half with pork steaks and onions. Serve immediately.
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Cooking Tips

Seafood Butter Boil



This is one of those dishes that I make all the time and just assumed that I had documented it for the website. I hadn’t and that’s a shame. This is one of my go-to recipes that can be made in minutes and is absolutely amazing! Did I mention that this is low calorie too? No? Good, because it’s not. I mean, we are cooking seafood (which is pretty healthy) but we are simmering it in butter, wine, herbs and garlic. I guess if you don’t dunk the seafood back in the butter it’s not terrible. My problem is, that utter/wine/herb/garlic sauce is sooooooo good that I dip in it every time. Aaaaaaand that’s why I’m fat.

This recipe can be done with just about any seafood. I’ve done this with scallops, lobster tails, bivalves, chunks of hearty fish, shrimps, prawns (honestly, I have no idea what the difference is between the last two), and all manner of herbs and white wines. There is no wrong answer here. Just go with what you have that looks good. Now let’s get back to this amazing and oh so simple recipe. 

Seafood Butter Boil Ingredients:
2 lbs little neck clams (soaked in tap water to remove the saltiness and any sand)

1.5 lbs U16-U20 shrimp

1.5 lbs mussels (de-bearded and rinsed)

1 lb salted butter

2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced)

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf (optional)

1 cup buttery white wine

The Ingredients
First off, take the clams and put them all into a bowl that they can be completely submerged in tap water. Soak them for 20-30 minutes before cooking. I’d show you some pics of how to do this, but we forgot this step and ours were really salty. Don’t make the same mistake we did!?!

Tip 1: When it comes to any bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters), make sure they are tightly shut or will shut themselves if you tap on the top or bottom. If they don’t close, it means they are dead. Since there is no way of telling if they died 12 seconds ago or 12 hours ago, throw them away. Likewise, after they cook, if any don’t open, don’t serve those either. 
Next up, “de-beard” the clams. Some of the clams will have little hair looking things sticking out of the flat side of the mussel. Pin the hairs between your thumb and a the edge of a butter knife to get a good grip and pry them out of the mussel. We did do this step but nobody got any pics. A quick google search will show you how this is done. 

Now, prepare the grill for medium to medium-high heat (350f-400f degrees), which, in this case is my American Made Grills “Muscle” Grill made by Summerset. I love this grill because it is not only super high quality and made in American, but also I can use it as a gas grill (as I did here) or charcoal or charcoal and wood chunks or just wood chunks and even split logs like for my fireplace. Talk about versatility. It’s the perfect anchor for any outdoor kitchen. 

Once the AMG is up to temp, I placed the grill safe pot or pan over the heat. I went with a standard cast iron pan and everything barely fit. Be ready with a secondary pot or pan to dump some of the butter/wine/herb/garlic sauce and seafood into. The other option is to put as much in as fits, serve that portion once it is ready and then add in the rest of the ingredients. 

Begin by dropping the butter, wine, garlic and herbs into the pan:

What better buttery wine than one named Butter?
Once the butter/wine/herb/garlic concoction starts to bubble, it’s time to put the seafood in. For this recipe, we went with the little neck clams first because they take the longest to cook:

Round 1 of seafood
Tip 2: If you need to add more liquid to cover more of the seafood, add more wine. No one has ever claimed that was a bad idea, ever.
After a couple minutes, we added the shrimps:

Round 2
Then I dropped the lid on the cast iron pan to help to steam all the seafood that is not in the butter sauce:

Cover it to trap all the heat
Some magical things are happening inside there!
After about 90-120 second of the shrimps cooking, I drop in the mussels:

Round 3, Mussels for the Muscle Grill
And then the lid goes back on until the clams and the mussels pop open:

This is how to know the clams are ready to eat
Then simply spoon some into a bowl or, if you are a little more daring, hand everyone a fork and let them all go to town. That’s completely up to you. We used soup crocks:

I can’t think of a better use of a soup crock, can you?
Finally, make sure to pour some of that butter/wine/herb/garlic sauce over every bowl for dipping:

Like I said, healthy. Oh, wait…
And just because I love action shots, here’s a bonus:

I just love those action shots!
As shown here we have a wonderful bowl of butter poached seafood sitting in a slurry of butter, wine, herbs, garlic and seafood stock:

I give you a bowl full of seafood and buttery heaven!
As I mentioned above, there are no wrong answers here. Go with whatever looks good at your local fish monger or grocery store. Because once you simmer it in butter, wine, garlic and herbs, it’s all going to taste amazing. Trust me! Also, toast up some crusty bread to dunk into the butter sauce. Trust me on that one too!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email. 

Also, if you are a seafood junky like I am, and love some oysters, I have a couple dynamite recipes for you. Oysters Picante and Char-Grilled Oysters with Butter and Wine (see a theme, here?)

Save Print Seafood Butter Boil Author: Scott Thomas Recipe type: Appetizer Cuisine: Seafood Prep time:  20 mins Cook time:  15 mins Total time:  35 mins Serves: 6-8   Shrimp, clams and mussels poached in butter, wine, herbs and garlic all in a cast iron pan Ingredients 2 lbs little neck clams (soaked in tap water to remove the saltiness and any sand) 1.5 lbs U16-U20 shrimp 1.5 lbs mussels (de-bearded and rinsed) 1 lb salted butter 2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced) 2 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf (optional) 12 ounces buttery white wine Instructions Completely submerge the clams into a bowl of tap water for 20-30 minutes to clean out the sand and salt water "De-beard" the mussels Set the grill for 350f-400f Place a grill safe pan or pot big enough to accommodate all the ingredients Drop in the butter, wine, garlic and herbs Once the butter melts and begins to bubble, toss in the clams After a couple minutes of the clams simmering in the butter concoction, drop the shrimp in and set the lid on top of the vessel After 90-120 seconds, remove the kid and add the mussels and put the lid back on Once all the clams and mussels open up (about 3-5 minutes) remove from the heat and serve Ladle some seafood into a bowl and then add some of the butter slurry to each bowl to dunk in Toast some crusty bread for dunking in the butter sauce
 The post Seafood Butter Boil first appeared on GrillinFools.
Author informationScott ThomasScott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.

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By: Scott Thomas
Title: Seafood Butter Boil
Sourced From:
Published Date: 05/05/21

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Cooking Tips

Cajun-spiced Bacon



Now that I'm on the homemade bacon train, I'm all in—it's been well over a year since I last purchased bacon from the grocery. Smoking up a steady stream of bacon has afforded me the ability to experiment with seasonings a lot over a short period of time and I mostly treaded familiar ground at first with things like peppered bacon, maple bacon, and spiced bacon. That has now left me starting to venture into the more experimental spaces like pastrami bacon and this Cajun spiced bacon. To be honest, I've seen Cajun bacon before and that's why it popped up as a recipe to try, but I don't think it's something I would choose over other bacons when shopping, so I went into this recipe not quite sure how much I'd be into it on the other end.

Developing the recipe itself was pretty easy for me since I've done many Cajun and blackened recipes over the years that use this common earthy and herbal spice mixture that has a light touch of heat to it. Paprika serves as the foundational red base while garlic and onion powders give the seasoning a lot of its sharpness. Cumin is what enhances that earthy quality and it's a mixture of thyme and oregano that bring in the herbal components. To transform this into a cure for bacon, I merely had to add kosher and curing salts into the mix and I was done.

I utilized around a three pound piece of skinless pork belly for this bacon, which was half of what I bought that day—I've been smoking up one regular bacon and one experimental one in each of my cooking sessions. I coated the belly liberally with the cure, then transferred it to a Ziploc bag and set in the fridge for a week. Every morning and night I flipped that bag over to help the bacon cure evenly throughout.

At the end of those seven days, the pork was pretty firm, a good indicator that the cure worked as expected. I had been running my bacons under water before smoking to remove excess salt, but I didn't want to remove any of the seasoning for this bacon, so skipped that step. A few of my past bacons were not quite salty enough, so I wondered if skipping the washing might solve that problem, or possibly end with a bacon that was too salty. It was going to still be some time until I got an answer to that question though as I moved onto the next step of transforming this pork belly into bacon by putting it into the smoker running at 255°F with a couple chunks of pecan wood tossed on the coals.

When the pork hit around 150°F in the center, I removed it from the smoker and let it cool off at room temperature for a bit before wrapping it in plastic wrap and sticking it in the fridge to chill completely. The final bacon had a solid earthy red hue to it all over, which gave me hope that the seasoning would be substantial and really give the final strips that boost of Cajun flavor I was hoping for.

Once the meat was throughly chilled, I cut it into strips utilizing my meat slicer. I went a little thicker than I had been for other bacons mainly as a change of pace, but also thought you'd really want all the boldness you could get out of this bacon, so heftier strips would best deliver that.

Once I was done slicing, I portioned the bacon out into vacuum sealed bags and then placed those in the freezer to wait until I was ready to use them. I know I can always re-portion and freeze store bought bacon, but I never do, and making these single serving bags has been one thing I've really loved about going homemade—I always have the right amount of bacon for just me and wife.

From here, you can choose to cook the strips in your favorite manner, which for me is grilling. I decided the first use of the Cajun bacon would be in blackened chicken tacos, which I was cooking on the grill already, so it made sense to use the existing fire and get the added advantages of not making a mess in the kitchen or smelling up the house like bacon for days (although I personally don't mind that second part much).

On the grill, I placed the bacon over indirect heat and then covered. I let the strips cook, turning and flipping them occasionally, until the fat rendered and crisped up the meat nicely. For this use in tacos, I wanted an extra crispy texture to contrast against the chicken, so I let this batch cook until they were very well browned.

At this point in time, it was weeks from when I actually started the process of making this bacon, so expectations may have grown even more with the added wait and it felt really great to bite into that first crackling strip. Initially I was hit with the comforting smoky, meaty, and salty bacon flavor that was a tad saltier than most of my previous bacons, but also tasted more “right.” After that came a light heat that was the first unique stamp of the Cajun seasoning that was then built upon by garlicky and earthy flavors as I ate more. There was no doubt this had a flavor above and beyond the standard bacon, whether I would pin point that as uniquely Cajun if it wasn't called out by name is debatable though, but it was an amazing tasting bacon none-the-less. That being said, that strong earthy heat isn't going to be warranted in every bacon situation—which is why I always like smoking up a standard bacon alongside my more experimental ones—but when that extra Cajun flavor is desired, this bacon is going to serve you well, big time.
Published on Thu Apr 22, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 10 servings

Prep 10 Minutes
Inactive 5 Days
Cook 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Total 5 Days 1 Hour 40 Minutes

3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon pink curing salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 lbs boneless pork belly, skin removed
In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, curing salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Coat pork belly all over with the cure and place in a large resealable plastic bag. Place in the coldest part of the refrigerator and cure for 5 to 7 days, flipping bag about every 12 hours.
Fire up smoker or grill to between 200-225°F, adding 1-2 fist-size chunks of smoking wood on top of the coals when at temperature. When wood is ignited and producing smoke, place pork belly in smoker, fat side up, and smoke until an instant read thermometer registers 150°F when inserted into thickest part of the meat. Remove pork belly from smoker and let cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Cut bacon into slices at desired width and cook using your favorite method. Store leftover bacon in Ziploc or vacuum sealed bags in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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Title: Cajun-spiced Bacon
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Published Date: 04/22/21

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Cooking Tips

Bacon burnt ends



Started with slab bacon covered in honey mustard and lanes Bbq kapalua seasoning. Cooked on the mini max at 225 for a few hours with rockwood charcoal and apple wood chunks. Glazed with buckeye bbq sauce and put back on the egg for another hour or so. First time trying this, but turned out pretty yummy.

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