Bar Bites: Pork Schnitzel Meatballs

Photographs: Marvin Gapultos

Although Oktoberfest festivities have already oompah pah-ed to an official end, a glut of seasonal Oktoberfest beers will still be available on liquor store shelves for at least another few weeks—all the more reason to bring the biergarten home along with your own German eats.

Take, for instance, pork schnitzel—a thin cutlet of pork that's breaded, fried, and served simply with a lemon wedge. Although most things breaded and fried make for great bar snacks, pork schnitzel is anything but finger food. To rectify this, I decided to use ground pork in lieu of the cutlets and make spherical schnitzel instead.

For my meatball version of pork schnitzel, a simple blend of thyme, lemon zest, and parsley are combined with the ground pork (preferably ground pork shoulder, a fattier cut that will lend more moisture to the finished meatball). The mixture is then formed into balls, rolled in flour, egg, and panko and then deep-fried until crisp. The crunchy panko shell gives way to a juicy schnitzel interior—just like its cutlet counterpart. And also like its cutlet counterpart, these meatballs need no further embellishment other than a squeeze of lemon, but a bit of sauerkraut or a dip in grainy mustard work wonderfully well too.

And because this is in meatball form, you don't have to put your beer stein down to cut into your schnitzel—just plop a meatball in your mouth with one hand, while das boot is in the other.