New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Sauerkraut Recipe

I bought canned sauerkraut for the first time ever to make this recipe. Guess what? It's in the canned vegetable aisle, not the condiment aisle.
Go figure.

I am not much of a sauerkraut person. Adam always asks for it when we get our after-shopping hot dog at Costco (you get a hotdog each time you're at Costco too, right?) but I've never been interested.

But a friend of a friend* wrote out her pulled pork with sauerkraut recipe on the back of a business card for me and insisted I give it a try.

So I did.

and I now see more sauerkraut in my future.


go figure again.

* who prefers to remain a silent anonymous being because the internet is full of nutjobs. Present company excluded, of course.

The Ingredients.
serves 8 (maybe more if you serve the meat/veggies on buns)

2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 (14.5-ounce) can sauerkraut (the whole thing)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
8 rolls for serving (optional)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the roast into the bottom or your cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine the dried spices: mustard, thyme, sage, paprika, salt, pepper.
Rub these spices on all sides of the roast. Put the shredded carrot, sauerkraut, and caraway seeds into the empty bowl, and stir to combine. Then pour all contents on top of the spiced roast.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with two forks.

HEY! there's no liquid? no broth? what's up with that?

It's not a mistake, I promise. The wetness from the sauerkraut combined with the meat juices is plenty for your roast to cook properly, and become fully shredded and lovely. If you have a pot that doesn't trap heat/moisture in very well because of a gap in the lid, or a spoon notch, you can lay down a layer of foil and then put the lid on. You want to see a bunch of condensation on the lid while the crockpot is in use.

Shred the meat completely, and stir well. Serve as is in a bowl, or serve spooned into toasted rolls. 

The Verdict.

I love how the tang from the sauerkraut and mustard tastes when mixed with the spices---especially the caraway---it tastes Irish (caraway is the pronounced flavor of rye bread or Irish soda bread. Since rye is off-limits when you're gluten free, I like begin able to get a hint of that when I can!)

The girls and I ate our meat by itself over some rice, but Adam made sandwiches for himself with French's mustard.
If you're looking for a way to sneak extra veggies into your family dinner, this is a good candidate. No one would notice if you added some shredded zucchini or cucumber.

more stuff:
1)  I'm gearing up for the launch of my new cookbook: More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow: 200 Brand-New, Budget-Friendly, Slow-Cooker Recipes.
The book will be available in stores December 28 (although you are certainly welcome to pre-order on Amazon!) but there is a giveaway right now over on Fresh Fiction. Jen has 5! books to give away. There is also an interview up in case you wanted to know EVEN MORE about me. :-)

2)  Before I had children, I ran preschool centers for under-privileged children. I wrote about my favorite Christmas memory working with children over on BookReporter.

3)  I'm finishing up my stint at and have a post about my "current" holiday traditions. I have current in quotes because our family traditions are still a work in progress. BUT! I do know we'll use a slow cooker or 7 this holiday season. :-)

4) Need more pork recipes? I think I found them all, right here!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping with such gusto and compassion and force with the Lyme disease information for my friend Diane. I know she is still digesting everything, but it is so refreshing and inspiring to know there is valuable information and love floating around the world.

have a fantastic day!

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cbwflag said...

Hey, Stephanie!

This looks REALLY great and pork tenderloin is my favorite cut of pork...but it looks like something else in your photo. I just wanted to make sure you used tenderloin and not pork loin or shoulder or something like that.....

Thanks! LOVE your stuff...using my crock pot a LOT more since I found you a couple of years ago!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi CBW, huh! The ziplock I pulled the meat out of said tenderloin, but you're right the meat looks a bit mysterious in the photo. I bought in bulk, cut it into hunks then froze and so I think that's why it looks a bit wonky.
A shoulder or butt would work great though, or even a beef chuck or rump roast if you didn't want to do the pork.

I'm glad you found me, and I'm happy to be of help. xoxo

joannabug said...

I love your blog, haven't commented in awhile. Just wanted to let you know that the saeurkraut you can find in the refrigerated section is lovely, it doesn't taste "tinny" as the canned stuff occasionally does. Also, if it's too sour for your taste, you can also rinse it a little bit.

Tammi Klusewitz said...

Hi Steph,
Can I make a suggestion? If you can find sauerkraut packed in a glass jar, or if your really lucky, the plastic bag packed stuff in the refrigerator section, give that a try. It has a much nicer flavor than the canned stuff.

bostonred said...

One of my favorite vegetarian casserole recipes is called "Escalloped Apples Au Gratin" -- it's in Moosewood or one of its follow-on cookbooks. It has a 'mystery' ingredient which adds a nice crunch -- and it's sauerkraut! No need to tell people that don't like it because besides the crunch, there's no way to know it's there. Apples, onions, breadcrumbs, nuts, cheese and sauerkraut. It's really good.
But this looks really good too ;-) Thanks for all you do,

Kristin said...

My husband's family is german, and they make their own sauerkraut. at thanksgiving, we canned over 150 jars. I never know what to do with the stuff, except do sausage and sauerkraut sandwiches, so I will definitely give this a try! sounds delicious!

KT said...

Oh no, you're two weeks too early! Pennsylvania Dutch tradition is to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day for luck. Supposedly the pork represents moving forward in the new year and the green color of the cabbage represents the green color of money....or something like that but, I eat it because it's what my Mother did and it's delicious! Anyway hope you saved some leftovers for a lucky New Year. Looks like I might be trying a new recipe this year so thanks for sharing :)

P.S. I highly recommend eating this on top of mashed potatoes and adding a sliced up apple to the sauerkraut, it tastes amazing.

Johanna B said...

Can't wait to try the port with sauerkraut. I only have one other dish that uses sauerkraut and I love it. I'm buying your first cookbook as a present for myself this Christmas. Can't wait to drool all over it.

Anonymous said...

My daughter makes a version of this with a few more veggies added she calls sauerkraut soup. She serves it in soup plates over boiled potatoes. Can't wait to tell her she can make it in the crockpot.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

@joannabug & @Tammi, After being cooked, I really didn't taste anything tinny, but those are great points. I was also trying to keep the cost of this meal way down.

@bostonred, wow! that sounds fantastic. I'm always looking for vegetarian main dishes.

@kristin, preserving your own sauerkraut! I love it!

@KT, ah! I had no idea---I'm going to look that tradition up, thank you!

@anon, I'd imagine stretching this with broth and potatoes would make a great soup and feed an army!

@anon2, Kim-Chee would work perfectly. great idea!


Anonymous said...

What is the difference between kosher salt and regular salt or sea salt? I see it at the store but have never bought any as I didn't understand why I should?!! But this recipe sounds wonderful, and I have a pork roast in freezer right now.

Sarah said...

I am not a big hot dog fan, but there is something about going to Costco and getting a hot dog after all of that shopping! The recipe looks delicious.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

@anon---kosher salt isn't iodized and doesn't taste quite as "salty"
the granules are also bigger.
you can certainly use regular ol' table salt, just cut the quantity in half while cooking and then season to taste if needed at the table.


Heather said...

Bavarian kraut is a little sweeter than the regular canned kraut too, if your taste buds don't like the twang of it.

We personally love kraut and have it with smoked, polish or turkey sausage for a quick dinner quite often.

MemeGRL said...

I'm another new convert to the glass-jar kraut. Yum.
Can't wait to try this--I'm another Pennsylvanian looking for a twist on the usual New Year's Day recipe--thanks!

Chronicles of the Bees said...

Thanks for re-introducing me to my slow cooker. Now I use it at least once a week. My sister and I are planning a family get-together and we have at least four cookers (including our mom's original avocado green crockpot) available for use. Love your site!

Wendy @Celiacs in the House said...

I know how our New Year's pork will be cooked this year. I agree about the caraway flavor and missing it now that we are GF.

Holly said...

I thought you were allergic to pork Stephanie?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

@Holly, I *was*! for a good 30 years! and then something happened during this last pregnancy and I began sneaking it (started with bacon), and I was okay. I can now eat it willy nilly. :-)

selina@creativejuicesdecor said...

Your blog is so wonderful - I am in love with my crock could someone not be? thank you!!

Sarah said...

My hubby and mother LOVE saurkraut, so I emaile dher this link to make him!!! maybe I'll even give it a tsate!!

C. Beth said...

Yum, sounds like a winner! We love sauerkraut!

The Littlest Stephy said...

I usually make this recipe with on the bone pork chops and by the time I am finished they are falling off the bone and I am in love! Great to see someone else go over to the delicious side called sauerkraut!

Sarah said...

This is the standard New Year's Day meal for my husband's German family. We have it with dumplings or mashed potatoes, and it's just delicious. We also eat it throughout the year, but it's guaranteed on NYD. So tasty!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep the house from smelling like what ive been cooking in the crockpot? I am single and live alone. I dont like to cook because i seem to have to eat leftovers of the chosen recipie for many days afterwards. I know i can freeze the leftovers, but by the time i have smelled it while preparing it, then smelled it while its cooked(sometimes overnight) and by then finally get to eat the first serving, i feel like ive been eating it night and day for a week already.

Julie Gomoll said...

Hi Stephanie - I just now set the timer on my slow cooker to make this. I added a few potatoes (yukon gold, quartered). Do you think I should add water?

I was so happy to find this recipe. I have my mom's recipe for "Sauerkraut and Spare Ribs", which involves coating the ribs in flour and browning before putting everything in the oven, which is kind of a pain.

Can't wait for dinner tonight!

Corners of My Life said...

Good luck with your new book. I remember seeing you on Good Morning American for your last book when you were pregnant and looking too cute.

Anonymous said...

Our family is from Germany (well, long ago) and my dad is a second generation butcher. Try this with a pork tip and use the bagged or bulk kraut. Far better than the canned stuff. You can drain off the juice, rinse if desired, and even substitute chicken stock for a more mild flavor. We always throw in some sliced apples (skin on). My German great-great & great grandmothers taught my grandpa to do it this way. Supposedly the apples cut down on, uh, the less desired qualities of sauerkraut! Anyway, the recipe sounds yummy, now I'm craving some sauerkraut & mashed potatoes!


Stephanie O'Dea said...

@anon, LOL! that's a dieting secret. :-) If the smell bothers you, you can plug the cooker into an outlet in the garage, or a room in the house with the door shut.

@Julie Gomoll, the potatoes will cook in the juice just fine without needing any additional liquid.

penandra said...

This is quite similar to one of my favorite recipes --- and of course a standard on New Year's Day. I often make it with the country ribs in the pork section --- and I add one sliced onion (cut in half then sliced and mixed in with the sauerkraut) and (of course) three or four garlic cloves. I'm also a fan of the sauerkraut in the refrigerated section. After reading the comments, I have to go find the Moosehead recipe bostonred mentioned! I go for the polish dogs at the Livermore Costco ;-)

Red Icculus said...

It looks like some Germans have already latched onto this recipe and suggested the addition of apples and onions. :-)

A version of this recipe is a staple in our house. It is what we are going to be having for New Year's.

Jennifer said...

I ended up using riblets since I couldn't find tenderloin at the store I went to. I bought rosemary rolls to accompany the dish, but I forgot to serve them. It turned out great anyways and my mom made sammies with the leftovers.

Tiffany said...

This roast looks absolutely heavenly!

Chip L said...

As KT mentioned I heard of the German/Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of pork and sauerkraut for New Years Day. With some of their family up in Lebanon, PA - thought that this would be a great thing for us to fix together for our first New Years Day as a couple.

Quick back story - I was a slave to the frozen meals. Long story short I hated to cook - too much work. Well the first present I got from them was a crock pot so that we could cook healthy together!

In searching around for slow cooker recipes I came across your website. So far I have tried your Pizza Fondue, Meatballs in Chile Sauce, Meatballs in Cranberry BBQ Sauce (added a zing to that by adding kielbasa to it), and the 3-packet Pot Roast (twice so far since it was such a great hit). All have been great hits with all that I have shared in cooking these recipes for - even got requests from their family for repeats during this Holiday Season. Even branche out on somethings on my own.

Guess that is why I got a baseball cap with Crock Pot Wizard on it - but I owe it to you... :)

sandyy456 said...

I made this for dinner tonight...delicious!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on your web site and I am so excited to try some of your recipes. Especially the Thai and Indian ones. I am a full time working mom and anything to help is always welcome. Thank you so much for all your hard work. :-)

Chip L said...

This was awesome!

Just did one with kielbasa, and is yummy with all the spices even....

Jen said...

Can I cook this on hi for 1/2 the time? I never seem to get my crockpot started before lunchtime. :P

Jessica Mary said...

Can you use pork loin chop for pulled pork? I'm a vegetarian but I so badly want to make pulled pork for my fiance...What's an economical way to make pulled pork for one?! :/

GailleAnnmarie said...

My grandmother used to make something similar - minus the slow cooker, of course, but you can add some Yukon Gold potatoes cut in half for a rounded-out meal. They absorb the flavors of the pork and kraut, and you can smash them with your fork and a little butter for a gloroius addition to this one pot meal!!

Eileen said...

This was terrific!
Sliced two potatoes and one med onion.
Put a teaspoon of oil on the bottom of the
Layered the potatoes and onions.
Salt & Peppered the 2.25 lb. tied roast pork piece.
Placed on top of the vegs.
Added a bag of sauerkraut, (drained, rinsed)
and some caraway seeds on top of roast.
4.5 hours later, in a 5.5 crock, on low, this
was tender and oh soooo good.
Thank you Steph, I think we love you.

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