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Did this last weekend. Where I live I have two choices in making Sauerbraten 1, either buy the meat in marinade, either at the butcher or even an Aldi store, or marinade myself.

The store bought meat is often on the sour side, so part of the fun in doing your own is to tone down the sourness a bit and amp up the spices.



1 carrot, leek, celeriac
1 large onion
1 tbsp sugar
150 ml red wine vinegar
1 bottle dry red wine
1 tsp juniper berries
1 tsp black pepper berries
1 tsp all spice berries
3 dried bay leaves or 5 - 6 fresh ones
2 clovers
1 star anis
1 ½ kg braising beef


3 tbsp lard
2 tbsp tomato puree
800 ml beef broth
100 g Schwarzbrot or Pumpernickel
50 g raisins
50 ml Rübenkraut (sugar beet syrup)
2 tbsp cold butter
200 ml cream, sour cream or creme fraiche


Caramelise the sugar and deglaze with the vinegar. Add the red wine and spices, add the onion cut into eighths and carrot, leek and celeriac cut into 5 mm cubes. Bring to a boil and let cool.

When cold add the beef and marinade for 5 to 6 days, turning daily.

After marinading dry the beef and brown from all sides in hot lard. Reserve about 500 ml of the marinade, having sieved out the solids. Add the tomato puree.

Cover the raisins with apple juice or water

After browning add the reserved marinade and the beef broth, the beet syrup, salt, pepper and the Schwarzbrot (it will desolve while braising). Bring to a simmer and finish braising for ca. 3 hours in a 120 - 130 C oven in a closed braising pot.

When the meat is done remove it and let rest for 15 minutes or so.

Bring the liquid to the boil and reduce by third or halve until the sauce has thickened, add the butter and cream, use an immersion blender to “creamify” the rest of the bread in the sauce. Season to taste. If the sauce is not sour enough add some more vinegar, if it is to sour, add some more of the beet syrup 2. Add the raisins.

Serve with spätzle, noodles, mash or potatoes.

Traditionally this is farmers fare. The meat was likely to come from an old cow (which would have been milked and used for ploughing) or an equally old horse. The marinade was supposed to both tenderise and conserve the meat

  1. We are talking a Rheinischer Sauerbraten. What makes a Sauerbraten Rhenish are three essential and one optional ingredient. Essential are Rübenkraut, and Schwarzbrot or Pumpernickel to thicken the sauce and raisins, optional are almonds ↩︎

  2. Rübenkraut is sugar beet syrup, which tastes sweet, earthy and a little bit bitter ↩︎