The term Schwenker is a local term from the German state of Saarland and is used in three ways, all relating to the same grilled meat
- Schwenker or Schwenkbraten is a marinated pork neck steak which originates from the Saarland (known there as Schwenksteak) and is grilled on a Schwenker (2). Normally either a green herb or red paprika marinade is used when preparing Schwenkbraten. Traditionally, Schwenkbraten is made of pork, but turkey variants have also become popular recently. Schwenkbraten are about the size of a hand in length and width and are about 1 cm to 3 cm thick.
- A Schwenker is a grill on which the Schwenker steak typically is grilled. The Schwenker consists of a fire bowl (or just the camp fire) and a swinging grill hung from a tripod or in fewer cases from a gallows-like structure. Schwenkers are sometimes created from various handy materials in an impromptu fashion, but “Schwenk-Grills” can be purchased in local supermarkets, and in DIY stores.
- A person who operates the Schwenker grill is also called Schwenker or less frequently, Schwenkermeister.
Beside the Schwenker (1), also sausages (German bratwurst and French merguez), different vegetables (such as bell peppers), Brötchen (German bread rolls German cuisine), baguette (French type of bread) with garlic butter, potatoes and feta cheese (the latter three protected in aluminium foil) may be grilled.
Various side salads (usually a pasta (typically fusilli or spiralini) salad, a potato salad and a green salad), and baguette or even better Flutes are served with Schwenker. Many prefer specific beers (preferably a pils by one of the local breweries) with their Schwenker.
The process of grilling the Schwenker is known as “Schwenken”, which not only describes the grilling process itself but also the social event which surrounds the grilling activity. In Saarland one would not be invited to a barbecue, but would instead be invited “Schwenken”.