What do Germans traditionally eat for Christmas? Roast goose, of course. My family is no different from that. However, there’s another dish that is also very popular during the holiday season in Southern Germany: Schäufele.
The Schäufele (literally: shovel) is a cut of meat from the pork shoulder. It is called shovel because it looks like one. The Schäufele we have in Baden and Swabia is different from the Schäufele that you find in Franconia.
In Franconia, they like to prepare a pork roast with crispy skin from the raw shovel. However, in Swabia, the shovel is cured and smoked and then left to simmer in water mixed with white wine until tender. The result in both preparations is succulent and tender meat.
The fact that Germans eat a lot of sauerkraut is a myth. However, for this dish, I can’t imagine anything better suited to accompany the meat. Add a slice of spelt bread or Swabian potato salad to the Schäufele and you will be in food heaven.
If you live outside of Swabia it might be hard for you to source a cured and smoked pork shovel. If you can get German Kasseler that is a great substitute. Other than that, any cured and smoked pork shoulder or belly will do. Of course, with bacon, the dish is not quite the same. The shovel is a unique cut of meat, just like the infamous Tafelspitz.