Spare Ribs, Cabbage, and Sauerkraut

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Leave it to my Germanic father to find yet another twist on pork and sauerkraut. Yes, we already have a perfectly good recipe for spare ribs and sauerkraut which we’ve been making for years.

No, that’s not enough to deter the siren call of something potentially even better.

Dad found a recipe for spare ribs in The Niman Ranch Cookbook to which he incorporated a completely different way of cooking the sauerkraut, one that includes slow cooking cabbage and sauerkraut together with beer.

Okay, spare ribs, cabbage, sauerkraut, and now beer? No wonder he loves this recipe. It does take twice as long to make as our other recipe. But it really is amazingly good, and so worth it if you can make the time.

Spare Ribs, Cabbage, and Sauerkraut Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork spare ribs, bone-in
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 32-ounce jar of sauerkraut, drained
  • 4 cups thinly shredded cabbage (about 1 medium head)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of your favorite beer
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds

Method

1 Rub the ribs with garlic, caraway seeds, and cracked black pepper. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours (if you have time, otherwise skip).

2 Preheat oven to 400°F. Unwrap ribs from plastic wrap. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Wrap the ribs with aluminum foil and place them on a roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

3 Place sauerkraut, onion, caraway seed, brown sugar, and cabbage in a Dutch oven. Stir in beer, water, and chicken stock. Add pepper to taste. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake the sauerkraut cabbage mixture, covered, for 3 hours.

4 Lower the oven temperature to 325°F. Place ribs over sauerkraut, cover, and cook for an additional hour. Add more liquid if needed.

Serve the ribs with the sauerkraut. Good with boiled potatoes.

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Showing 4 of 13 Comments

  • Shannon

    Fabulous dinner! Cooked it in shifts throughout the weekend before throwing it all together for the final slow cooking. The kitchen smelled amazing all weekend and the taste was even better! I was concerned about the amount of caraway seed on the ribs but it mellowed considerably as it cooked. Brilliant! So glad I stumbled on your site. p.s. I spent my first 33 years of life in MN and miss it very much, have very proud Polish roots, and am married to a proud German. Needless to say, I love you and your parents!

  • Jennifer

    This is very similar to my mother’s Polish Kapusta recipe. She adds yellow split peas which do add a nice, nutty flavor and texture. She braises the ribs first and then cooks down onions, cabbage and sauerkraut in the pork fat. Then takes the meat off the bones and mixes it in. Salt & Pepper. Yum.

  • JAMES FISCHER

    One important step not noted in almost every sauerkraut recipe I have ever seen and needs to be added to this one. My mom always taught me to put that jarred or canned sauerkaut in a collander first and squeeze out as much of that brine first, Rinse and repeat. Do this at least two or three times, then add your apple juice, beer, apples onions whatever flavorings you like. You will have a much better tasting product without all that brine.

    It really depends on 1) the product, and 2) your individual taste. We use a high quality jarred and chilled sauerkraut that we use right out of the jar. Sometimes if you rinse and drain too much, there isn’t any sauerkraut flavor left. Sort of like taking the pickle out of the pickle. ~Elise

  • Ruth

    Absolutely the best sauerkraut I have ever eaten. I am hooked and will use this recipe over and over again. Loved that the ribs browned nicely first. I’m still licking my chops. Delicious.

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