Sauerbraten is a national dish of Germany. This recipe comes from my husband’s side of the family. My mom was German, but we were vegetarian growing up, so sauerbraten wasn’t a dish in our house when I was growing up. This recipe was a favorite of Farmer Fred when he was growing up.
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SIS – Simple is Smart Tip: For a super flavorful and tender roast, marinate it for a week or longer and then cook it for 4-6 hours. Most recipes recommend cooking the roast for 2 hours. However, the cut of meat is a tough cut of meat, and the extra marinating and cooking time levels up your roast from great to fantastic.
Ingredients for the Sauerbraten Marinade:
The marinade has a few unusual spices that you may not have in your pantry. Juniper berries, whole mustard seed, and whole cloves. The mustard seed and cloves are readily available in a grocery store. However, the Juniper Berries are more difficult to locate. I purchased mine from Amazon. Here are the rest of the spices, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and salt.
The list of vegetables includes carrots, leeks, onions, and garlic.
The liquid is red wine, red wine vinegar, and beef broth or water.
Lastly, for the gravy, you will need raisins, gingersnaps, sugar, and flour.
Make the Marinade for the Sauerbraten:
Add all of the vegetables, water, wine, and vinegar to an enamel-coated dutch oven. Add the seasonings, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, black pepper, salt, cloves, juniper berries, and mustard seeds.
Boil the marinade for 10 minutes and let it cool completely.
Nestle the roast in the cooled marinade. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four days. I marinate the roast for 1-2 weeks. If the roast isn’t submerged, turn the roast once a day.
I marinate the Sauerbraten roast in the same container where I cook the marinade and the roast in. Because the marinade is acidic, use a container that isn’t metal on the inside to marinate and cook the roast in.
Cook and Serve the Sauerbraten:
At the end of 1-2 weeks, remove the roast from the marinade and pat dry. Strain the vegetable and save the vegetables and the broth. Sear the roast in the Dutch Oven until well browned and set aside.
Cook the vegetables in the Dutch Oven on medium-high for five minutes. Add the flour and cook for two more minutes. Add the marinade broth to the vegetables, ginger snaps, raisins, and honey or sugar.
Add the Sauerbraten roast back into the pot and cook on low for four to six hours. Stir occasionally to make sure the vegetables aren’t sticking.
Make the Gravy:
Strain the vegetables from the marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the broth is overly tangy, dilute it with some beef broth.
Slice the roast and serve with gravy. Serve Spaetzel and traditional German Red Cabbage with apples.
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- 1 Enamel Dutch Oven
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- To see the ingredient amounts in metric units, click the blue "METRIC:" button between the ingredients and the instructions for this recipe.
- 6 lbs bottom round use a tougher cut of meat like bottom round or rump roast.
- 1 cups water
- 2 cups Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 cups Red Wine
- 2 medium yellow onions chopped
- 1 large leek chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 5 inch sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 whole cloves
- 12 whole juniper berries
- 1 tsp whole mustard seed
- ¼ cup raisins
- 3 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 12 cookies)
- 2 tbsp Sugar or Honey
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- extra beef broth 1-2 cups if needed.
Marinate the Roast
- Add all of the vegetables, water, red wine, and red wine vinegar to an enamel-coated Dutch Oven.
- Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, cloves, juniper berries, and mustard seed.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool completely
- Nestle the roast in the cooled marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let the roast marinate for a minimum of four days. A Week is preferable, and two weeks is even better. Turn the roast daily if the marinade doesn't cover the roast
Cook the Roast
- Remove the Roast from the marinade and pat dry.
- Strain the vegetable from the broth.
- Heat the Dutch oven until hot. Add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil to the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Sear the Roast on all four sides until browned.
- Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven and add the strained vegetables.
- Cook the vegetable on medium-high for five minutes.
- Add the flour and cook another two minutes.
- Add the strained marinade to the vegetable. Add the crushed ginger snaps, raisins, and sugar or honey.
- Nestle the roast back into the pot, put the lid on the pot, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you marinated your roast for two weeks, cook it for 2-4 hours. I flip the roast and stir the vegetable once an hour.
- Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven. Tent the roast to keep it warm. Strain the vegetables from the gravy and discard.
Make the Gravy
- Return the gravy to the Dutch Oven. Add salt, sugar, and pepper to taste. If you like a thicker gravy make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy,
- If the gravy is too tangy, add additional beef broth to dilute it.
- Slice and serve with the gravy.
- I love to also make Spaetzel and Traditional German Red Cabbage with Apples to serve with the Sauerbraten.