Tender Pork and Sauerkraut Baked in The Oven

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This pork and sauerkraut recipe is extremely easy to make and takes less than 2 hours to cook in the oven!

It’s made with country style ribs that are seared in pork lard, then simmered along with sauerkraut before finally being finished in the oven.

A plate with pork and sauerkraut seasoned with a bay leaf

Tender Pork and Sauerkraut Baked in The Oven

This oven roasted pork with sauerkraut is one of the staple winter meals in our family. Both my parents are Bulgarian and there, this meal is somewhat of a traditional cuisine.

In fact, we love it so much that we make it not only on New Year’s Eve, but pretty much every week when it’s in season.

Thanks to this, I have gained a substantial amount of experience that has helped me craft the perfect pork and sauerkraut recipe.

One of the breakthroughs that helped me achieve this result was using country style ribs instead of pork loin.

Country style ribs have more marbling so they take less time to fully cook than pork loin.

Their higher fat content also helps them turn out more tender and prevents them from drying out. Plus, country style ribs don’t have a pesky membrane that needs removing.

Another tweak that I made was to cut out some of the sweeter ingredients and add some tomato sauce.

In my opinion, using sugar or apples to reduce the acidity of sauerkraut defeats the purpose of cooking it in the first place.

After all, it’s called sauerkraut for a reason.

Ingredients

  • Country style pork ribs – Country style ribs have a decent amount of fat which protects them from drying out in the oven. If you prefer leaner meats, you can use pork loin instead.
  • Sauerkraut – Avoid buying canned or vacuum sealed sauerkraut as these varieties have lower quality. Opt for the ones that are sold in a jar instead.
  • Tomato sauce – The tomato sauce will help balance the acidity of the dish and enrich its taste.
  • Lard – Lard pairs quite well with this dish as it gives pork a more natural flavor. If you don’t like its taste, you can substitute it with vegetable oil.
  • Seasonings – This recipe uses a blend of paprika, cumin powder and black pepper as seasoning. If you like experimenting with bold flavors, you can also add some caraway seeds.

Ingredients for pork and sauerkraut arranged on a table

How to make

Check out the recipe card at the end of this article for detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Sear the pork ribs with a tablespoon of the lard in a deep frying pan.

Once the ribs are golden brown, add the sauerkraut, tomato sauce and seasonings, then stir everything together.

Pour the water into the pan and simmer the mixture on medium heat.

Continue by placing the pork and sauerkraut in a baking dish greased with lard. Make sure that the pork ribs are entirely covered with sauerkraut as this will prevent them from burning.

A baking dish with partially cooked pork and sauerkraut and some pork lard on topTransfer the leftover cooking liquid from the pan into the baking dish, then divide the remaining lard into even pieces and place it all over the sauerkraut.

Finish the dish by baking it in an oven preheated to 390°F (about 200°C).

Baking dish with fully cooked pork and sauerkraut

How long does it take to cook pork with sauerkraut?

The amount of time you need to fully cook your pork and sauerkraut will mostly depend on the type of meat you’re using.

If you’re using pork loin or pork shoulder, then you’ll need roughly 30 minutes per pound at a temperature of 350°F in the oven.

In other words, you’ll have to set aside at least 2 hours for a standard 4 pound loin roast.

Country style ribs, on the other hand, will be ready in 1 1/2 hours which includes the time you need to simmer them. This nicely synchronises with the time the sauerkraut is perfectly done, which is another reason I prefer using them for this dish!

Bear in mind that these estimates don’t take into account the amount of time you’ll need to defrost these pork cuts.

A serving of oven baked sauerkraut and a pork rib on top

Pro tips and tricks

  • Add Beer – Use a can of lager in place of water and skip the simmering step. The alcohol in beer will break down the proteins in the meat and make it more tender.
  • Sweeten things up – If your sauerkraut is too tangy for your taste, you can add two tablespoons of brown sugar and a peeled apple to neutralize the sour flavor. In addition, you’ll also need to remove the tomato sauce from the recipe.
  • Use pork loin instead – In case you prefer leaner meats, you can substitute the ribs with pork loin or chops. Since pork loin is a larger cut of meat, you should skip the simmering part and bake it straight in the oven.
  • Use conventional ribs – If you like having to use your hands and eating meat off a bone like a caveman (which I sometimes do too) then you can use conventional stype ribs like baby back or spare ribs. If you decide to go down this road I recommend spare ribs since they have a little more fat and when baked will give the sauerkraut an even better and deeper flavor.

Close-up of a plate with pork and sauerkraut

How to store and reheat

In case you have any leftover pork and sauerkraut, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To do so, simply let the leftovers cool down for an hour, then place them in an airtight plastic bag or container.

You can also transfer them in a freezer safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to consume the leftovers, you should defrost them in the fridge for 24 hours and then reheat them on the stove until they reach 165°F.

If you’re short on time, you can use a microwave to warm them up instead.

A baking dish with four oven roasted Country style pork ribs, saurkraut and some bay leaves
5 from 1 vote

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Tender Pork and Sauerkraut Baked in the Oven

Tender, tangy, and full of bold flavors this recipe is the perfect way to greet the new year or just cozy family dinner! It features country style ribs simmered with sauerkraut and tomato sauce which are then baked in the oven.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
by: Aya
Servings: 4
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Balkan, German

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 2 pounds drained sauerkraut
  • 1/3 cup organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp pork lard
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  • Drain the sauerkraut and rinse it under running water if it's too salty.
  • Heat a tablespoon of the lard in a saute pan.
  • Sear the pork ribs on both sides until they're golden brown.
  • Add the sauerkraut along with the tomato sauce, paprika, ground black pepper, cumin, peppercorns, and bay leaves to the pan.
  • Continue by pouring the water into the pan.
  • Simmer the sauerkraut for 45 minutes on medium heat.
  • Grease a baking dish with a tablespoon of the lard and cover its bottom with roughly half of the sauerkraut.
  • Place the pork ribs on top and cover them with the rest of the sauerkraut.
  • Pour the cooking liquid from the pan over the sauerkraut.
  • Divide the remaining pork lard into six even pieces and put it on top of the sauerkraut.
  • Bake for 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 390°F (200°C).
  • Serve warm.

Video

Notes

  • Using country-style ribs for this dish is probably the best approach since they cook exactly as long as the sauerkraut. However, when it comes to taste the pork meat is of your choice and pretty much anything can go here, even lean pork chops. Nevertheless, I stay behind my words that this dish is best made with country-style ribs.
  • Pork lard is basically rendered pork fat and is in my opinion crucial for achieving the final homely and cozy taste of this dish.
  • You can also bake at 350°F instead of 390°F. Just prolong the baking time with 10 to 15 minutes.
  • My dad likes this recipe with the tips of the sauerkraut on the surface slightly burnt and blackened for the specific scent this adds. You can achieve this by broiling for an additional 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Think twice if you want to eliminate the tomato sauce - the amazing "branded" savor of pork and sauerkraut comes from the combination of the tomatoes and the sour cabbage cooked together.
5 from 1 vote

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Nutrition

Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 1702mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1009IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 5mg

I do my best to provide you with the nutritional information for recipes but I'm not a certified nutritionist. The nutritional information provided should only be treated as an estimate since it will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

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Tender Pork and Sauerkraut Baked in The Oven

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