Authentic German Sauerbraten

Authentic German Sauerbraten

Brian CampbellCamfam Cookery
One of Germany’s national dishes, this authentic German Sauerbraten is marinated, cooked until tender, and served with a wonderfully rich and flavorful sweet-tangy gravy! Serve it with homemade Rotkohl and potatoes, Knödel or Spätzle and you’re all set for a memorable feast!
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Servings 6 servings
Calories 857 kcal


  • 1 Dutch Oven


  • 2 onions large yellow – chopped
  • 2 carrots large – diced
  • 1 leek large – chopped, thoroughly washed, and drained to remove any dirt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme large
  • 2 sprigs rosemary small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 juniper berries cracked
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns cracked
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 4 lbs beef roast tougher cuts like bottom round or rump roast are traditional but you can also use chuck roast
  • 4 slices bacon finely diced (optional) , some variations include but most do not
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3 oz ginger snap cookies crumbled
  • 1 tbsp honey


Prepare the Marinade

  • Place all of the veggies and herbs in a heavy non-reactive stock pot or enameled Dutch oven along with the garlic, juniper berries, whole cloves, bay leaves, salt, sugar and peppercorns. Add the red wine, red wine vinegar and water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down completely.

Marinate the Meat

  • Nestle the roast in the vegetable marinade and place the lid on the pot.
  • Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 4 days, preferably 7. (Traditionally, the marinating time is as long as 2 weeks!) Unless the meat is completely submerged under the liquid, turn the roast over once every day.
  • Remove the roast, pat it dry with paper towels, and strain the liquid from the vegetables. Reserve the liquid and the vegetables.

Cook the Roast

  • Rinse the pot out and heat a tablespoon or two of oil in it over high heat. Generously brown the roast on all sides. Remove the roast and set aside. If using bacon, cook the bacon until done.
  • Leave about 2 tablespoons of oil/fat in the pot. Place the strained vegetables in the pot (with the bacon if using) and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour, cooking the mixture for a minute or two to eliminate the flour flavor. Add the liquid that you strained from the vegetable marinade, bring it to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.
  • Add the raisins, honey and crushed ginger snaps. Return the roast to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours (may need less or longer depending on roast and marinating time) or until the meat is very tender.
  • (Important Note: The longer you let the roast marinate the faster it will cook because the meat will be more tender from the start. So check on your roast periodically for doneness.)
  • When the roast is done, remove and transfer it to a plate, tent it to keep warm, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Prepare the Gravy

  • While the roast is resting, strain the gravy and return the gravy to the pot. Taste and add more sugar, salt and pepper as desired. If you want your gravy thicker, make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy. (Note: The balance of sour to sweet is a matter of personal taste – adjust the flavor according to your preference. If the flavor is too strong for you, you can dilute it with a little water or broth.)
  • Spoon the gravy over the sliced Sauerbraten and serve immediately.


Serving: 1gCalories: 857kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 63gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 218mgSodium: 428mgPotassium: 1378mgFiber: 2gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 548IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 8mg
Keyword Beef
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