Spare Ribs, Cabbage, and Sauerkraut


Delicious pork spare ribs slow cooked with cabbage and sauerkraut, and braised in beer.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Spare ribs chilling time: 23 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 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


1 Rub the spare ribs with spices, and chill: 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 Roast the spare ribs: Heat oven to 400°F. Unwrap spare ribs from plastic wrap. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Wrap the ribs with aluminum foil and place them on a roasting pan. Roast at 400°F for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

3 Bake the sauerkraut: 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 Add ribs to sauerkraut, bake one more hour: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Leylâ

    In the oven now!! It’s on the cool side here in Western New York today and this will hit the spot. Thanks

  2. David R

    These were some of the best non-smoked ribs I’ve made, and the sauerkraut is the best I’ve had this side of the Atlantic. The caraway mellowed beautifully and was not an obtrusive flavor in the least; the kraut was mildly sweet, not briny – just like I had in Germany. I did make a couple of subtle modifications to the recipe – I rubbed the ribs lightly with yellow mustard before the seasoning rub; and, I added the juice from the cooked ribs into the kraut when the ribs went into the pot. Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a “T”. I highly recommend it!


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  3. JC Allen

    Quite bland. It is not the way my mother and grandmother made it….which is okay…but you are missing the flavor of the Old World Cooking


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  4. 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!


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    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.

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