As we search for the greatest Oktoberfest recipes, certain things make themselves obvious. Pork must be involved in some form, as must beer. So who better to ask than the chef at a restaurant called Pilsener Haus? Chef Thomas Ferlesch schooled us on the basic but essential German recipe known as Schweinshaxen.

“Our Pilsener Haus menu is very traditional, the kind of biergarten cuisine I’ve known since childhood. I know the Schweinshaxen from a very famous 600-seat biergarten in Vienna, where I studied,”  he reminsiced. “They’d serve hundreds of them during Oktoberfest; the waiters would debone the shank tableside, holding it with a cloth napkin, in just a few quick movements.”

Schweinshaxen, served with country bread and pickled sides, is the kind of hearty fare that pairs well with the amber, malty, more full-bodied Oktoberfest beers.