Spiessbraten is German-Brazilian fusion cuisine. Idar-Oberstein was famous for working gemstones into jewelry, especially Agate. But in the late 1700’s, the agate mines were almost played out. It was getting harder and harder to find gems to work with. Then, German immigrants to Brazil found a large deposit of agate. This started a busy trade route. Agate was shipped to Idar-Oberstein and worked into jewelry, then the profits were used to buy goods that were shipped back to Brazil.
Along with the agate came the Brazilian tradition of churrasco cooking, spit roasting over an open fire. Idar-Oberstein took the idea of spit roasting and applied it to their favorite local ingredients, pork and onions. The region is famous for this dish; every year, they hold a festival in its honor.
Traditionally, spiessbraten is a boned pork neck with a stuffing of onions and herbs. I use a common substitute, pork shoulder, and roll-cut it to open it up like a book. After stuffing it with onions and parsley, I cook it slowly over medium heat on the rotisserie. The result is fork-tender pork stuffed with sweet, melting onions.
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x12″, or whatever fits your grill)
- Butchers twine
- 4 pound pork shoulder roast (also know as “pork butt” or “pork shoulder butt roast”)
- 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. Stuff, truss, and rest the pork shoulder: Roll cut the pork shoulder to open it up like a book. Set the roast with the fat cap facing down. Make a cut the length of the roast, one third of the way from the bottom, which goes almost all the way to the other side of the roast but not through. Open the roast up like a book along that cut, then make another cut halfway up the opened part of the roast, almost all the way to the other side, and open up the roast again. Sprinkle the cut side of the roast with salt and pepper, then layer the onions and parsley on the cut side of the roast. Fold the roast back into its original shape, then truss with twine, tying it every inch and a half. Push any runaway onions back into the center of the roast. Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper evenly over the outside of the roast. Refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight. One hour before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator, secure it on the rotisserie spit, and let it rest at room temperature.
2. Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at medium heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and leaving the infrared burner off. I put my drip pan in the middle of the grill, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. This gives me grill temperature of about 350*F.
3. Cook the pork shoulder: Put the spit on the rotisserie, start it spinning, and center the drip pan under the pork roast. Cook with the lid closed until the pork reaches 190*F to 200*F in the thickest part of the meat, 2 to 3 hours.
4. Rest, carve and serve: Remove the spit from the grill. Be careful; the spit is hot. Remove the roast from the spit, transfer to a platter, remove the twine, and cover with foil. Let the roast rest for 15 to 30 minutes before carving the pork into 1/2″ thick slices. Serve and enjoy!
Any onions that are poking out of the roast are going to turn black in the heat of the grill. I think they still taste fine, but if they bother you, snip the burnt ends off before slicing the roast. The onions inside the roast will be tender and sweet.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Steven Raichlen Planet Barbecue
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