Crispy eisbein made in a Ninja has to be the crispiest eisbein ever! It’s pressure cooked in a Ninja multi-cooker until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, and then the grill function of the multi-cooker turns the skin into a tooth-shattering crispiness!
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What is eisbein?
I grew up in South Africa where a pork knuckle (whether grilled or boiled) is referred to as an eisbein. It has been pointed out to me that a crispy grilled knuckle (as per this recipe) is actually referred to in Germany as Schweinshaxe (or pig’s hock). I can only apologise to all the German readers who are tearing their hair out at my lack of knowledge. On the other hand, my father was born in Germany, and I’ve never heard him refer to this dish as anything other than eisbein, so perhaps I can be excused 🙂 . And even if I do have the name wrong, it still tastes amazing!
For those of you who don’t know, eisbein is the bottom part of the leg of pork, cut between the trotter and the bottom of the leg. You may know it as pork knuckle or pork hock. Properly cooked, it delivers the softest and juiciest meat, surrounded by crispy pork skin that crunches and crackles as you bite into it.
It is one of the traditional dishes of Germany (and other northern European countries), where it is normally served with sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and fried potatoes.
An eisbein can be cooked in many different ways:
- in a slow-cooker;
- in a pressure cooker;
- roasted in the oven;
- boiled in a saucepan on the stove.
Once cooked, the eisbein is placed under a hot grill to allow the skin to crisp and form the crackling.
I already have a recipe for eisbein cooked in a pressure cooker that you may like to try, but today’s recipe is all about cooking an eisbein in a Ninja multi-cooker, that pressure cooks and grills in the same appliance.
Crispy pork eisbein in a Ninja
What surprised me about the Ninja, was how quickly it cooked the eisbein. In my electric pressure cooker the pork knuckles took over an hour to cook to my liking, whereas in the Ninja they were done in only 40 minutes.
All that remained was to pour off the cooking liquid, place the eisbein on a rack and turn on the Ninja ‘grill’ function for 2 burst of 10 minutes each. And what I ended up with was 2 perfectly cooked, perfectly crispy eisbein.
Let me show you how to make eisbein in a Ninja multi-cooker.
What you will need
All you will need a Ninja multi-cooker. This is the one that I bought, and I love it. It has multiple cooking functions – pressure cooker / air-fryer / grill / slow-cooker / steam / saute / bake – which means you save tons of space in your kitchen because you only need one appliance instead of many.
This recipe will make 2 x 570 gram (or 1 and a quarter pound) pork knuckles, which will easily feed a family of 4, and quite possibly leave you with some leftover.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making crispy eisbein in a Ninja on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Pork knuckles – this cut of meat is cheap as chips! I paid less than £3 each for these knuckles. It doesn’t really matter what size they are. If they are on the small side you may want to serve one per person; larger eisbein can be shared between 2 peoople. Try and get pork knuckles with a good covering of skin – I think that’s the best part 🙂
Celery, carrot and onion – these are just added for flavouring. They will be discarded after cooking, so if you don’t feel like peeling them, it doesn’t matter.
Salt and whole black peppercorns – for seasoning. Add salt to your own taste. I normally rub about a teaspoon of salt into the skin before cooking so that the meat will pick up the flavour as it cooks. I also sprinkle a little extra salt on the skin before I grill it to encourage the skin to crisp up.
The knuckles are covered with water in the pressure cooker so a lot of the salt will be discarded with the cooking liquid.
What to do
Start off by cutting a slit in the skin of the pork knuckles from top to bottom (ie in the same direction as the bone is lying). This will help to prevent the skin from shrinking down the meat as it cooks. You just need to cut through the skin, not the meat. You can see the slit I made if you look at the pork knuckle on the right in the ingredient image above.
Rub the skin of the eisbein with salt and place it in the inner pot of the pressure cooker along with the carrot, celery and onion. Add the peppercorns and sufficient water to almost cover the knuckles.
Place the pressure cooker lid on the Ninja and turn the steam valve to the ‘seal’ position.
Set the function to ‘Pressure Cooker’. The temperature will default to ‘HI’.
Set the timer for 40 minutes and press ‘Start’.
Once the cooking time is over, release the pressure by carefully turning the steam valve to the ‘vent’ position and wait until all the steam has been released before opening the lid.
The eisbein should be tender enough for you to insert a long cooking fork into the meat with no resistance, and the meat should have pulled back, exposing the bone.
If the eisbein still seems a little undercooked, you can replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Remove the eisbein to a plate and discard the cooking liquid.
Pat the skin with a piece of kitchen towel to dry it. Using a sharp knife make slits about an inch apart around the skin (going around the eisbein this time, not along the bone). This will make it easier to break the crackling once it has crisped.
Sprinkle the skin will a little salt.
Place the rack into the Ninja on its lowest setting (so that the eisbein are about half an inch above the bottom of the pot).
Place the eisbein on the rack, skin side facing up.
Close the air crisp lid (don’t use the pressure cooker lid) and select the ‘Grill’ function.
Set the timer for 20 minutes and press start.
Turn the eisbein occasionally so that the skin crisps all the way around.
If you want to be traditional, you can serve eisbein with sauerkraut and German fried potatoes. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut so I tend to serve it with saute potatoes and a selection of vegetables. It also goes exceptionally well with a dish of Irish colcannon.
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Leftover eisbein is delicious served sliced onto a sandwich with a smear of mustard.
You can also use the leftovers in a pasta (have you tried my ham and mushroom tagliatelle in black pepper sauce?), in soup (split pea and ham hock soup) or even in a pie (chicken and ham pie with mushrooms).
To be quite honest, I’ve never tried to freeze a cooked eisbein. I would imagine that once defrosted the skin would lose its crispness and become rubbery and unappealing.
However, if you are planning on using the leftover meat in another recipe, this can be cut into cubes and frozen in a freezer bag or air-tight container for up to 3 months. Let the meat defrost in the refrigerator before using it in your recipe.
Yes, you can cook the eisbein up to the point where they have been pressure cooked (before they are browned and crisped) and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
When you are ready to eat them, put them into your Ninja air-fryer and grill them according to the recipe instructions. You can also place them under a hot grill in the oven until they are crisp. Keep your eye on them, and turn them often. They burn easily.
Save for later
If you would like to try these eisbein in a Ninja, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
Here are some other German-inspired recipes you may enjoy:
- Crispy crumbed beef schnitzels – tender beef schnitzels, crumbed in crispy breadcrumbs and fried to golden brown perfection.
- Hunter’s sauce – a creamy mushroom sauce also known as Jager sauce.
- German meat salad – made with tasty Geman sausage, tangy pickled cucumbers and onions, creamy hard-boiled eggs, and piquant mayonnaise dressing.
- Spicy braised red cabbage – lightly spiced with the additional flavour of apple and onion.
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 2 pork knuckles 1¼ pound / 570 grams each
- 1 stick celery
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- Water to cover
- Rinse the eisbein in clean water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a slit from top to bottom through the skin (in the direction that the bone is lying). This will help to prevent the skin from curling up around the meat as it cooks.
- Rub the skin of the eisbein with salt and place it in the inner pot of the pressure cooker along with the carrot, celery, onion and peppercorns .2 pork knuckles, 1 stick celery, 1 medium carrot, 1 small onion, 20 whole black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon salt
- Pour in sufficient water to cover the eisbein.Water to cover
- Turn the valve to 'Seal' and select the 'Pressure' function. The temperature will default to 'Hi'. Set the timer 40 minutes and press the 'Start' button.
- Once the time is up, turn the valve to the 'Vent' position to do a quick release of pressure.
- Once the pressure is completely released, open the lid and insert a long cooking fork into the meat. The fork should slip in easily with no resistance. If the eisbein still seems a little undercooked, replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes on high pressure.
- Remove the eisbein to a plate and discard the cooking liquid.
- Pat the skin with a piece of kitchen towel to dry it. Using a sharp knife make slits about an inch apart around the skin (going around the eisbein this time, not along the bone). This will make it easier to break the crackling once it has crisped.
- Sprinkle the skin lightly with salt to encourage the skin to crip.
- Place the rack into the Ninja on its lowest setting (so that the eisbein are about half an inch above the bottom of the pot). Place the eisbein on the rack, skin side facing up.Close the air-crisp lid (don't use the pressure cooker lid) , select the 'Grill' function and set the time to 20 minutes.
- Open the lid occasionally during the grilling phase and turn the eisbein so the skin can crisp all the way around.
- If you want to be traditional, you can serve eisbein with sauerkraut and German fried potatoes. I'm not a fan of sauerkraut so I tend to serve it with saute potatoes and a selection of vegetables.
You can also use the leftovers in a pasta dish (have you tried my ham and mushroom tagliatelle in black pepper sauce?), in soup (split pea and ham hock soup) or even in a pie (chicken and ham pie with mushrooms). If you are planning on using the leftover meat in another recipe, this can be cut into cubes and frozen in a freezer bag or air-tight container for up to 3 months. Let the meat defrost in the refrigerator before using it in your recipe. Nutrition is calculated per serving (based on 4 servings) and assumes all the pork will be eaten. It does not include any sides that may be served with the meat.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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