The History of Eisbein

Eisbein directly translates to ‘ice leg’, and if you’re familiar with this tender cut, you’ll agree that the name is perfectly fitting. After it’s cooked, eisbein is often pale pink in appearance and traditionally served on a bed of sauerkraut. Trust us, it’s a lot tastier than it sounds.

Many parts of the world have had their go at this soft pork knuckle, making the story of ‘ham hock’ a rather diverse and delicious one. Read below as we uncover the blanching origins of eisbein.

A Meat With Many Names

Eisbein has been prepared as a feast around the world for many years now. However, its name stems from the medieval European tradition of using large pork knucklebones to make ice skates. At the time, they called it an ‘ice bone’.

Luckily, the Germans discovered that, when cured or boiled, this particular piece of pig’s leg makes for a delicious dish. With the rest of the world happily following suit, there are now many different and delicious ways to prepare and serve pork knuckle eisbein.

From Germany, With Love

The love for both smoked eisbein and pickled eisbein started in Germany. Preparing ham hock the German way is simple, reliable, and calculated. Furthermore, the north and south both have their own unique ways of cooking it.

Southern Germany

In these parts, they call the pig’s leg ‘Schweinshaxe’ after you roast in the oven to crispy, crackling perfection.

Northern Germany

Here is where they refer to pork knuckle as its well-known name, eisbein. It’s traditionally boiled and served with sauerkraut and puréed peas.

Grilled Pink in Poland

In Poland, they refer to eisbein as ‘Golonka’, which means ‘knuckle’. When preparing this dish, they slowly grill it until the meat is tender and the skin turns crispy brown. Golonka is a Polish delicacy often enjoyed in the cooler winter months or for a special celebration.

Smoked Eisbein in Sweden

South Africans will appreciate the way the Swiss prepare their eisbein. Referred to as ‘Fläsklägg med rotmos’ meaning ‘ham hock with root mash’, they take their pig’s leg to the backyard and throw it on the open fire for a ‘braai’. The eisbein is grilled on a barbeque and then served with mashed root vegetables on the side.

Knuckle Down With Van Wyngaardt

As you’ve probably gathered, the best thing about eisbein is that there are many different ways to prepare it. And we’ve got a straightforward recipe you’ve just got to try

Our Crispy Eisbein Recipe provides you with the golden steps to cooking a delightful, crackling ham hock. We suggest that you serve it with boiled potatoes tossed in butter and parsley, alongside sauerkraut with a squirt of strong mustard sauce. Enjoy!

Buy Your Ham Hock Online

Van Wyngaardt has both smoked eisbein and pickled eisbein available online. As an international wholesale supplier, you can trust us to provide you with top-quality meat products.


View our wide range of products or contact us today.

Van Wyngaardt’s delivery policy

Our delivery policy requires a minimum order amount depending on the region. You may order from Monday to Thursday. Should you place an order before 12:00, we assure you of next-day delivery. If you order after 12:00, the order will be delivered to you the following working day. This is only valid for Gauteng stores. Outer Gauteng stores delivery period may vary. At Van Wyngaardt, we pride ourselves on always providing exceedingly good meats.

Should you have any queries or require more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and one of our sales representatives will gladly assist you. 

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