Thursday, January 19, 2012

German Night At The Ranch

As it turns out, one of my BBQ customers has a German background and makes his own kraut, a quart of which he gave me back in the fall.  I hate it took me so long to try it, but we finally got to it recently.  It’s common to cook pork with kraut and in this area it’s often country style ribs, which are really just sliced up pork butt, but I wanted to use some pork loin from the freezer.

Since the pork loin is so lean, it would become very dry if I used the same cooking process as with the ribs and I do not like dry meat, pork or otherwise.  So after thawing, I cut the loin into 1” chunks, added it to a pan with oil and browned a little then covered it with the kraut – I had a probe thermometer in one of the pieces and cooked it to 140*.  I considered brining the meat, but thought the cooking in the salty kraut would suffice.

I don’t know of a meal more German than pork, kraut, and potatoes, so Bev made some potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes – adding some chopped chives and chopped crispy bacon – all we needed was some sausage, spargel (white asparagus), and good bread.  We also had some spicy brown mustard on the side.

As it turned out, the un-brined loin did not work well in this application as it needed more flavor and it didn’t provide much flavor to the kraut either - I also should have trimmed off the fat as it didn't cook long enough to render and add any flavor to the dish.  So I ended up making a very average dish out of some good ingredients - some of the better homemade kraut I’ve eaten.  As you can see this was more of a what not to do post.  Fortunately, the potato cakes made up for it as they were delicious. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


01/09/2012 meal date


  1. Does your friend ferment cabbage in his basement and make the real stuff?? I think I've talked about it before, but my friends Cauleen and Greg have us over every New Year's Day for Mashed Potatoes, topped with a mixture of sauerkraut and pork. I eat so much of it, I make myself sick. :)

  2. Sometimes we just don't hit the mark, but at least it was still edible. I figure as long as you don't toss it in the garbage after the first bite, you've done ok!!

  3. You can't go wrong with potato cakes, or kraut really, though I'm sorry the meal didn't come together quite the way you hoped it would!

  4. Pork and Kraut taste best when using ribs. The loin is just too dense and lean for this dish. I love the stuff!

  5. You can have my portion of kraut, but pass the potato pancake please! = )

  6. I hate when good ingredients fail to impress in the end. This sounded delicious. My husband LOVES kraut and has been wanting to make our own this year.

    P.S. I had no idea I could use the thermometer on a smaller piece of meat. Not sure why, but I had never thought of doing that. Thanks for the tip!

  7. I love that other people have "What Not To Do!" days. I've had a lot of those lately, trying to learn to cook low fat, low sugar but not low flavor.

  8. The only way we learn and become better cooks is by making mediocre dishes.

  9. Larry, You can't win them all...and with your recipes and experimentation, you and Bev win many, many more than you lose. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  10. Well at least everything else was good, right?

    I've had a few "wow, that was underwhelming in flavor" pork loins. I think that is part of the price of the modernization of hogs. For all the benefits of today's pig (no trich, lean, fast growing), I think the loin has suffered a bit, becoming so lean and white.


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