How to Schwenker Grill- Where to find a Schwenker Grill, How to Use it, and a delicious Schwenkbraten Recipe!
Somewhere in my mom’s photo albums is a photo of my Uncle using his German Schwenker Grill. He took his job very seriously (we kids weren’t allowed to fool with it). And it took a long time for dinner to be ready on this crazy looking contraption, because my Uncle took his job seriously, and made an all day event out of it. (I’m a lot quicker with these things) What is a Schwenker Grill? It is basically a Tripod that suspends a grill surface over flame. The job of the Schwenker Grill Master… keep the grill swinging (schwenking) over the flame. This action, keeps the meat from burning (and it’s fun to watch!). But it’s not just the grill itself… it’s also the special marinade that you use on the meat that makes it so delicious! Luckily, you can recreate this flavor at home. Let me show you How to Schwenker Grill... how to build your own Schwenker Grill… and how to make a great Schwenkbraten Marinade…. perfect for your end of the summer Grill Party.
Edit! And UPDATE!- I found a photo of my uncle with his Schwenker Grill… and beer.
What is a Schwenker Grill?
A Schwenker Grill is a specialty of the Saarland, although, like American Bar b Ques have spread beyond Texas, Schwenker Grills can now be found throughout Germany. Basically, it’s a grill that hangs from a tripod by a chain. A fire is built under the tripod. The Schwenker (Schwenk Griller) swings the meat covered grill rack over the flames… keeping it in constant motion… until it cooks to perfection. This method stops “hot spots” that would ordinarily flare up and burn meat. It’s also a great method for cooking meats with uneven sizes. It may take a bit longer than your standard backyard Gas Grill, but the results are worth it. Meat stays juicy, and takes on a smokey flavor from the wood smoke.
Schwenker Grilling is a social event. People can stand around the grill chatting and drinking beers while taking in the wonderful smell of grilling meats. It’s also something you can do out in the woods… as long as you bring chain and a grill, you can build your own tripod from sticks.
How to Schwenker Grill
First you must set up your Schwenker Grill (see below for the various types… home made, store bought, wood stakes etc). Be sure the tripod is balanced… you don’t want the whole thing to kip over while grilling! Hang the grill from the chains. Ideally, you have a chain that can be adjusted up or down… but that is not the top priority (the top priority is balance)
This isn’t a quick starting Gas Grill, you need to build a fire under the grill about an hour BEFORE you want to start grilling. You want heat, not necessarily flames. Traditionally Beech wood is used.. but go ahead and substitute what you have.
Place the meat and veggies on the grill. If you’ve marinated it, you can shake off the loose bits of onion or whatever. Use tongs to turn the meant, and a stick swing the grill. Warning! You aren’t trying for a world record in swinging height… just a nice sway motion to keep things moving.
Grill steaks at least 8 minutes per side (check!) Bratwurst need to be grilled to bursting. Chicken until it comes to temperature (use a thermometer)
What Can You Make on a Schwenker Grill?
-Schwenkbraten (a Pork Roast marinaded in Schwenkbraten Marinade)
-Bratwurst (Shop Wisconsin Bratwurst here!)
-Roasts (these take longer)
-Vegetables are great on a Schwenker Grill
Where to Buy a Schwenker Grill
How to Make a Schwenker Grill
This version of the Schwenker Grill can be built at a campsite. It’s made with a few bits and pieces from the hardware store, and 3 sturdy wooden poles.
you could probably make it with longer legs… you just need longer poles and chains…
Traditionally, a Schwenker Grill is made for Schwenkbraten… a marinaded pork roast that comes off the Schwenkgrill tasting a bit like heaven and summer combined. You can, however, use the Schwenkgrill for any meat or vegetable dishes.
Here is a recipe for the Schwenkbraten Marinade…
Looking for more German Grill Recipes?
German grilling has wonderful marinades! Learn how to make them… and get tips on how to make other German Grill specialties with these cookbooks (many have Kindle editions, so you can download them immediately!) There is even a Vegitaruab Grilling cookbook!
Schwenker Grill Accessories
Working with a Schwenker Grill is not like a regular Bar b Que grill. It can be a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat.
Also… Once you’ve invested in a grill, you want to protect it. A Schwenker Grill Cover is a good investment to make you grill last longer.
WISH4U Silicone BBQ Gloves Insulated & Waterproof Set of 2 Grilling Glove Heat ResistantUp To 425 Degrees Fahrenheit – Safe Handling of Pots and Pans – Cooking & BakingBon-fire 500020 Tipi Cover for Tripod Grill, 69-Inch