Last updated June 27, 2018
Spiessbraten is a specialty German-style barbecue pork dish from the small town of Idar-Oberstein. I was lucky enough to visit the town and try it once. To this day, I crave it regularly.
There is something remarkable about pork slow-smoked on a rotisserie over open coals. But in Germany, in the little moutainside town of Idar Oberstein, they have found a way to make smoked pork event better. The special dish is called Spiessbraten – pronounced SPEECE-BRA-TUN.
Two flavor punches make Spiessbraten different from any other type of rotisserie pork: onions and beech wood. Don’t try using hickory or apple. For the authentic flavor of Germany, it’s important to use beech wood chips.
To ensure the pork is fully flavored, take a full pork shoulder and butterfly it (watch the below video to see how). Then, smother the pork in seasoned onions and let it marinate overnight.
Remove the onions, but be sure to save them, because they’re awesome caramelized as an accompaniment. Roll that pork baby onto a spit and smoke it with the beech wood for about 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195F.
- 1 pork butt
- 5 onions
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 tbsp German mustard
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Other items needed
- cooking twine
- beech wood chips
- Using a sharp boning knife, remove the bone from the pork butt. Butterfly the pork so that it’s about ½-inch thick.
- Slice the onions and place in a large bowl. Mix in the oil, mustard and spices. Wearing rubber gloves, massage the onions to release their juices.
Spread half of the onion mixture on a large sheet pan. Add the pork on top. If you have to layer the pork, be sure to add onions in between the layers. Add the remaining layers to the top of the pork. Cover with plastic wrap and press to seal. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove the pork from the onions. Set the onions aside.
- Roll the pork up into a log-shape, and secure with cooking twine. (watch the video to see how.)
- Thread the meat onto a rotisserie spit. Let sit at room temperature.
- Soak the beech wood chips in water.
- Prepare your coals, until they are hot. Sprinkle beech wood chips on top of the coals. Cook the pork on the rotisserie about one-foot over the coals, until the internal temperature reaches 195F degrees, about 5 hours. You will need to add more coals and wood chips throughout the cook.
- While the pork is cooking, place the onions in a large pot and cook down over low heat to serve with the pork. Add ½ to 1 cup water or German beer to the onions as they reduce.
When the pork reaches 195 degrees, immediately remove the pork from the spit, and remove the twine. Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.