Cast Iron

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

October  6, 2012
Author Notes

Sauerbraten is quintessential German food. I ate it a lot as a kid, it is my favorite family meal. Whether we used the season packets from the store or made it this traditional way, sauerbraten was always my favorite. It is truly an underrated classic.

The roast is essentially pickled, then fried in bacon grease and slow cooked to perfection. The smell of onion frying in bacon grease really draws out fond memories for me! In my house we often use venison but typically beef is used. You can use any cheap cut of meat or roast you have around. For meats that are particularly strong in flavor or tough use buttermilk or milk in your brine to tenderize the meat. I make this dish regularly, I try to avoid gluten as much as possible so for normal day-to-day eating I do not make my beloved gingersnap gravy, it is good without it but my homemade gingersnaps are pretty stellar so I do kind of miss them.

This can be made ahead of time, we actually LOVE leftovers because once it has rested overnight it seems to have developed more flavor. Gently reheat it in a sauce pot (with the juices) on low or in a 200 degree oven. It makes for great lazy "stroganoff" or even sandwiches. —NeoHomesteading

  • Serves 6 hungry people
  • Day One-
  • 2 Carrots, Chopped
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons Pickling Spice
  • 3 Dry Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 cups vinegar, white (more if needed)
  • 4 cups water (more if needed)
  • 1 Roast, Rump, Chuck, London Broil etc. (about 4 or 5 pounds)
  • Day Four (The day You have waited so patiently for!)
  • 4-6 slices of bacon
  • 1 or 2 onions, sliced
In This Recipe
  1. Day One-
  2. In a large non metallic crock, air tight plastic container or air lock baggy combine all ingredients and allow to soak 4-5 days. Make sure not to use a metallic container, if your using a baggy insure that its resting in another vessel to prevent cross contamination. Depending on the size of your roast will determine how long it needs to soak. Anything above 5 pounds you will want to increase spices a bit and soak longer about 1 day per pound.
  1. Day Four (The day You have waited so patiently for!)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After your roast has soaked strain the liquid, remove the roast from the soaking liquid and DO NOT throw away the liquid.
  3. Pat the roast SUPER dry. (You can sprinkle it with flour or arrowroot powder to help with browning.)
  4. In a large dutch oven or oven safe lidded pan, (cast iron preferably) cook bacon until crisp, remove from pan without discarding the grease.
  5. Fry the roast in the bacon grease on both sides 4-8 minutes on all sides until it is evenly browned.
  6. Strain the roast and vegetables from the liquid. Reserve about 1/2 of the liquid. You can discard the solids entirely but I toss them in the pot along with some extra pickling spice and ground cloves. Fry the onion in the pan the roast and bacon were cooked in.
  7. Place the meat in the pan (or crock pot set to high) and cover with about 1/3 of the soaking liquid. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 4-6 hours adding more reserved liquid if necessary. (It will take about 3 1/2 hours for a 2-3 pound roast) If you want boiled veg- toss in carrots or potatoes about 1 hour before your roast is due to be finished.
  8. Once tender (we like it falling apart) remove the roast and strain the liquid. (reserve it for gravy)
  9. Make your gravy with reserved cooking liquid. Gingersnap Gravy: About 3 cups of reserved cooking liquid, 2 teaspoons raw sugar and 6-8 gingersnaps crumbled. Combine all ingredients in a pot and boil until thickened. If you do not have gingersnaps on hand you can simply reduce the liquid until thickened or add some slurry. (about 1 tablespoon of arrowroot mixed with water)

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