Best Ever Pork Roast and Sauerkraut

This pork roast is probably the very first roast I ever made on my own.  It was after both my Mom and Dad had passed on and it was my first New Year’s Eve with out them.  Now I was going out with friends that night however it’s a tradition in my family to have pork roast and sauerkraut on NYE.  Mom always said it was to bring us good luck and fortune. Yeah, we never had fortune or good luck but at least we had each other and to me that’s priceless!  Now this is the same woman who, every NYE would go outside at the crack of midnight, bang a wooden spoon on the back of a pot loudly 12 times (not sure why 12), put that down and then put some change in her purse, zip it shut and with her right arm (never left) swing it forward around and around like she was winding up to throw a strike.  I can still remember her saying “Lori Ann you always want to put in some change and swing it forward, never backwards.  By swinging it forward your capturing all the good fortune and bringing it towards you.”  Yeah.. that didn’t work either.

But while we never had money we had other “riches”. We had love, honor, respect and integrity.  We learned to rely on our God given talents – fortunately for me it all lied in my brain because God help me if we had to rely on my dancing capabilities.  HA!  I’m about as graceful as a rabid hippo on skates!  Yeah…ponder that image for a minute.  LOL

New year pork roast5

Now if you’re my age, you know…ancient and borderline senile per my darling husband, your parents or grandparents almost NEVER wrote down a recipe.  Am I right?  Well this is one of those recipes they never ever wrote down yet the first time I went to make it, it’s like I knew how to make it based off of all those years watching her cook it.  However when she made her it was not small and never just one.  There were at least 3 or 4 and they all weighed in about 7-8 pounds each.  Plus she would make a roaster full of kielbasa, hot dogs and more kraut, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, brownies, a chocolate layered cake with her to-die-for pudding frosting, a huge tray of leftover Christmas cookies, fudge plus chips – potato chips and pretzels.  Yes.. we had all of that at midnight .. well after the obligatory pot banging and purse twirling.

Then we’d go to bed and get up the next day only to eat all over again.  No wonder all but one of us in the family ended up overweight.  Seriously… if I knew then what I know now about healthy eating and everything in moderation I could have been a ballerina.  HAHAHA yeah no.  There is no tu-tu for this child.  Maybe a four-four.. haha

New year pork roast6

Now it’s funny because when I first made this on my own I omitted the onions because back then onions were the anti-christ of foods.  Kind of like cherries.  Well, yeah, cherries are still evil.  But onions, oh dear God I’d rather eat cat food than anything that had a visible piece of onion in it.  And for years while the pork was good, it was never “like Mom’s”.  About 10 or 15 years ago I started adding in pureed onions to the mix and eventually grew to just throwing in chopped onions that yes, when they were on my plate and visible I’d still eat them.  I actually have grown to love cooked onions.  Cherries on the other hand, no.. never.

Ever.. <blech!>

New year pork roast
So over the holidays I bought a 12lb pork roast from Sam’s club that I cut up into three-4 pound sections.  Since it’s just the two of us, that is way more than enough for us to both eat over several days.  And for years Mr. Fantabulous said he “wasn’t a pork fan” even though he’d inhale it every time I made it.  Now he no longer says that and will ask me to make pork.  Score for me as I love pork!  Like clockwork just like years gone by I made this for New Years for us with a side of my perfect mashed potatoes. It just goes together.

New year pork roast1

The trick to getting a super moist and juicy pork roast is searing it first.  Searing meat caramelizes the sugars and browns the proteins present in meat, resulting in more appealing color and flavor.  It lends to a deep flavor that just can’t be created with no amount of seasonings.  Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat, which enhances the savory ‘meat’ flavor and fills the finished dish with complex layers of nutty caramel and coffee-like bitterness. In technical terms, this is called a Maillard reaction and it’s a flavor profile we omnivores happen to find quite delicious. Without searing, meat dishes can taste flat and boring.

The meat should be at room temperature before searing and patted dry. The pan should be very hot and the goal is to keep the meat raw with just a browned surface. “A quick searing”. If you leave the meat in the pan too long or sear too much meat at a time, it will start to steam and you lose the benefits of searing. You’re trying to achieve what’s called the “Maillard Reaction”.  Per Wikipedia,  “high temperature, intermediate moisture levels, and alkaline conditions all promote the Maillard reaction. In cooking, low moisture levels are necessary mainly because water boils into steam at 212 °F (Crock Pot),  whereas the Maillard reaction happens noticeably around 310 °F (Very hot skillet): significant browning of food does not occur until all “surface” water is vaporized.”

New year pork roast2

Plus it looks way more sexier than a taupe colored piece of meat.  I mean to see those rich caramel colors glistening is kinda sexy in a meaty-kinda-way. LOL  It draws you in and since we eat with our eyes first, it makes you want it, crave it.

Admit it, this looks so scrumptious.  Like you can tell just by looking at the pictures that it’s juicy, succulent and tender. And unless you can’t eat pork for whatever reason, you’re gonna want this… over and over and over!  Trust me.  THIS is the pork that converted Mr. “I don’t like pork very much” to Mr. “Honey can you make that pork roast again?”

New year pork roast3

Now this dish you can make in the crock pot on low for about 8-9 hours however I love it roasted in the oven. When I make it for a crowd I’ll still pan sear it but will just throw everything in the crock and set it on low while I go about my business.  It’s still just as amazing but I don’t know, there’s just something more sensual about the dish when you pull it out of the oven and you see it all tender and juicy.

Wait, sorry about that… I got sidetracked.  Someone just sent me the trailer for “Magic Mike XXL” and well yeah.. *blush*  Dear Lord he’s so pretty!  LOL  I mean Mr. Fantabulous .. he’s so pretty!  Love you baby!  LOL  But seriously.. WHO MOVES LIKE THAT???  I swear Channing Tatum is pure fluid when he dances.  Like he has no bones about him to move so damn easily.  God I’d love to dance like that.  Trust me I try my hardest and in my head it makes sense “extend arm this way, swirl hips in this motion and pop ‘n lock this move” and all I end up with is looking like I’m having a damn seizure. #sojealous!  New year pork roast4

Anyway, where was I?  Meat… Channing Tatum… oh wait, PORK!  LOL  *blush*  Yeah I know I’m bad but you love me.  Now the trick with this roast is once you pull it out of the oven, you need to remove it from the pan and loosely cover it with foil. Do you know why you do this?  Why you partially cover meat and let it rest after roasting?   Meat proteins are heated during cooking, they coagulate and squeeze out some of the moisture inside their coiled structures and in the spaces between the individual molecules. This drives moisture toward the surface and the center of the meat. As meat proteins cook, they begin to shrink. Up to 120°F, the proteins shrink in diameter only and there is little moisture loss, but above 120°F the proteins also begin to shrink in length, which really puts the squeeze on moisture. By 170°F, most of the moisture will be squeezed out of a lean piece of meat. As meat rests, this process is partially reversed. The moisture that is driven toward the center of the meat is redistributed as the protein molecules relax and are able to reabsorb some moisture. As a result, less juice runs out of the meat when you cut into it per the author of Cook Wise.

New year pork roast7

But enough about that learnin’ stuff, I’m hungry and strangely so in the mood to watch Magic Mike.  *grin*  LOL  But seriously if you want the Best Ever Pork Roast with Sauerkraut or what we call New Year’s Eve Pork and Sauerkraut, make this.  It’s EPIC!  Mama would be proud of me with this.

New year pork roast8


Best Ever Pork Roast and Sauerkraut

Rating 

Serving size: serves 6

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Ingredients
  • 4 pound pork roast - boneless and at room temperature (this is important!) - this should take about 20-30 minutes from being in the fridge
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut (I do not rinse mine)
  • 1 Tbl caraway seeds *note - you can omit this if you hate caraway seeds but for me it makes the dish
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup water *optional
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F, rack in the middle.
  2. Pat the pork dry and sprinkle the entire roast with salt, pepper and smoked paprika
  3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil.
  4. When the olive oil starts to simmer carefully place the pork roast in.
  5. Sear on all sides until golden brown - ~5-8 minutes per side.
  6. In a lidded 6qrt Dutch Oven place the sauerkraut all over the bottom.
  7. Sprinkle over the caraway seeds, onions and brown sugar.
  8. Place the seared pork roast on top nestling it in the sauerkraut.
  9. If you’ve drained yours sauerkraut, add the water. If you did not you do not need the water. You want at least a cup of liquid in the pot.
  10. Cover tightly with a lid and bake for about 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 150F. While it's cooking check the pot to ensure that it's not drying out. If needed, add more water. I have never had to but I always add at least a cup of liquid.
  11. Remove from the oven once the thermometer reads 150F.
  12. Carefully remove the roast from the pan and place on a cutting board covering loosely with foil.
  13. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Notes
Note1: You need to ensure that your pot has a tight seal. If it does not, add foil to cover the pot and then the lid. If you do not have a lid, ensure that the foil is fitted snugly.

Note 2: If you want to make this in the crock pot, pan sear the meat following the recipe and in the bottom of a 6qrt crock pot add in the sauerkraut, caraway seeds, onions, brown sugar and pork (water if you drained the kraut). Cover and cook on low for about 8-9 hours.

 

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217 Responses to “Best Ever Pork Roast and Sauerkraut”

  • Hi! Just put my 4 lb pork roast (mine has bones) in oven. I make pork chops and sauerkraut a lot. But never a regular roast. Never put brown sugar in it. My Mom’s chops always came out shiny and golden brown. But I am looking forward to this. Thanks!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Marianne,

      Mom added the brown sugar as the sauerkraut always imparted too much “brine” flavor. You can omit or better yet, start off with just a trace amount and then when it’s done, if it’s too briney, add a bit more to it.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • JoeW says:

    OK, pork roast is in the oven, about another hour to go.
    I cheated, and added some diced potatoes to it. Sue me.

    I don’t think I’ve made a pork roast in… ever? My mother used to make them, and they were wonderful. Of course.

    Caraway? Those who don’t like it shouldn’t be allowed to procreate, much less vote.

    I’m orders of magnitude older than you, but in the same field: software engineering. No, I don’t program on the ones that use vacuum tubes.

    I was born in Germany, my parents were from Silesia. Sounds like your roots are in Bavaria.

    Found your blog yesterday, and may be your newest member. Like your writing and attitude.

    Regards,
    Joe

    • JoeW says:

      Oh, YEAH! This is a keeper, even with my cheating.

      I also slivered some garlic and embedded the slivers in the roast before it went into the oven (“spicken” in German).

      The meat was perfect, after 2 hours, and resting for the 20 minutes. 4.28 lb of shoulder roast.

      Thanks much for the recipe.

      Joe

      • TKWAdmin says:

        That’s awesome to hear Joe; thank you! I’m so happy you loved it as well! Love the addition of slivered garlic too!

        Best Kitchen Wishes!

    • RJ says:

      Hey TKW and Joe W!

      I am one hour in and also and I added garlic salt and beer for the one cup of liquid.
      I never used the exact recipe on anything.
      keeping fingers crossed

      RJ

  • Kay says:

    Love that reading your weekly menus takes me to recipes of yours I hadn’t read yet…

    I, too, enjoyed the stories you shared with this recipe. Grew up in Central Ohio (German ancestors originally settled in Pennsylvania) and I although liked the pork roast, my father always INSISTED I had at least a bite of the kraut “for good luck” on New Year’s Day. Yuck. New Year’s was the only instance I remember being forced to eat anything I didn’t like. He was full of silly superstitions that I acquired; they took some time to eventually shake-off 🙂 For instance, if you and I were walking together and each of us went around opposite sides of a pole, sign, etc – we BOTH had to exclaim “bread and butter” or it would mean we would fight. Where did that one come from, right?! He would get exasperated with my mother if she didn’t respond quickly enough, and she would get so agitated with the whole thing they nearly DID fight – lol!

    I LOVE sauerkraut today, and will use your recipe for New Year’s 2018!

  • Greg says:

    Enjoyed your commentary.

  • PaDutch says:

    Hello,

    This dish is from my ‘culture’ – so I have finally been culturally appropriated!

    This is a German dish. A pork roast or loin was too good of a cut of meat to use for this – it is always and forever a dish that starts with pork shoulder. Until it falls apart. 4 + hours at 175 – 210, then add drained sauerkraut, 1/2″ to 1 inch pieces of cut up bratwurst, knockwurst, kielbasa (ok, the Poles helped out a bit), even a few sliced up real hot dogs if you wish, season with all of your above suggestions as you like (i’ve even seen some apple slices go in there), then put in for another 3 to 4 hours, serve with mashed potatoes, and preferably a good, fresh, crusty whole loaf of Jewish rye bread … and that’s that.

  • James says:

    Dear KW, thanks for this recipe. My mom made something like this with pork chops when I was young. I have made it over the years with no recipe. I made it your way and it is much better, especially with the roast! However, I wasn’t happy with the brand of sauerkraut I bought and wonder if you have a recommendation? I also have a suggestion you might want to try. Save the pan and drippings from browning the roast. Deglaze with white wine and cook it off. Make a light roux in the pan. You may need to add a little butter. When the roast is done in the oven, take a cup or so of the juice to make the gravy. Delicious over the pork and mashed potatoes.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi James!

      I have only ever used SnowFloss brand. It’s what my Mom used. I’ve tried a few others and regret it. Definitely try that brand.

      Oh yum!!! Excellent suggestion! Thank you so much!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Denny says:

    I never heard of pork roast and sauerkraut until my mother in law made it. I thought it lacked something so I’m going to try it your way! In the crock pot as I type!!

  • Steve K says:

    I’m going to give this recipe a try. It sounds perfect. I may leave out the salt, though. I can’t imagine sauerkraut needing more salt.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Steve!

      You can always add more if you wish when it’s done 🙂 I always tell folks, adjust the brown sugar added to the kraut to your liking. I personally don’t like a bitter kraut so I’ll add a tad more brown sugar where some like that bite. It’s easier to start with less and add more if you need to. Enjoy!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • alicia Mandato says:

    If i have left over whole pork loin already cooked, can i cook the souerkrat and the heat pork on top> How long would you cook souerkraut? have you ever put cut apples in sourkraut?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Alicia!

      The longer you cook kraut the milder it becomes. I would cook it, covered, for 25 minutes in the brown sugar and other seasonings. When the time us up, add the cooked pork and cover. Heat until warmed through. Be sure to make sure there is liquid in the pot so the kraut doesn’t burn and the pork dry out.

      And yes I love chopped apples (onions too) in my kraut.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Gina says:

    I have a 2 1/2 pound pork loin. How long should I roast?
    Thanks!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Gina,

      Okay so in this recipe I use a boneless pork roast, not a pork loin. Depending on what of the loin it is, will determine the cooking time. If it’s the top boneless cut, then 20 minutes per pound. If it’s the blade or sirloin boneless cut then 27`32 min per pound.

      Not knowing the type of cut, I would say for 2 1/2 pounds go with an hour, take the temperature. If it’s not 145F, then cook it longer. The temp after 1 hour will be a good indicator of how much longer you need to cook it (if at all).

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Leighann says:

    Thank you for what clearly appears to be a phenomenal recipe–I am looking forward to using up leftover sauerkraut. I am so glad to see responses from The Kitchen Whisperer to help with some very helpful hints. Now we just need to go and buy the pork–tomorrow, it’s going into the crock pot! Too hot to heat up the oven!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Leighann!!!

      Definitely the crock pot or even the pressure cooker is the way to go in the heat.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Keith says:

    Hi. I’m glad to have stumbled on this inspirational (in more ways than one) article. I made a basic pork and sauerkraut yesterday. I will try yours next time. Am happy to hear that you have finally found the pleasure of onions–one of nature’s miracles.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Awe thank you so much Keith! I hope you love this as much as I do!

      Yes I’m now on team onion! Lol

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Lisa Erb says:

    I didn’t believe you when you said it was the best ever. But, my pork roast had thawed and I was short on time so I decided to make it your way. This was the best ever (cooking) decision I’ve made in a long time. 🙂 Delicious!! Easy to prepare. Easy clean up. Everyone loved it. Sometimes it’s good to get my of your comfort zone. Thanks!
    Lisa

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Aw shucks Lisa, thank you so much! I truly appreciate that! And I totally agree, it’s nice to break out of our comfort zone from time to time.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Jonathon doevinski says:

    I’m ignorant. What cut of meat is pork roast? In my oven right now, using your recipe, is a 4 lb boneless pork shoulder.

    I’m hoping it works!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Jonathon,

      For the roast go with a Boneless Blade-end Roast (it’s normally called a pork loin roast). Don’t get the tenderloins – those are awesome but they are teeny and will dry out really fast. Pork shoulders and butts are the most flavorful due to the high-fat content but they fall apart easily when roasted over long periods of time. Those are what are used when you get pulled pork. This will taste delicious using the pork shoulder but it may not hold together when you slice it. How did it turn out for you?

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Patty says:

    I just made this!!! Delicious!!!!!!! First time I have had such success with a recipe. Thank you so much……..

  • Maria says:

    Made this tonight. Oh holy yum! I licked my plate clean!! I made it with a pork loin rib end (because that’s what I had in the freezer). It was delicious. It came apart with a fork so it was more like pulled pork than a sliced chop, but still delicious.

    One question – my sauerkraut pretty much dissolved while it was cooking (in crock pot for 8 hours, I didn’t drain it). I didn’t have quite 2 lbs. is that why? Does your kraut ever dissolve? the flavor was amazing, I was sad not to have more kraut to eat with the pork. There was a lot of liquid in the crock pot, even though there was very much when I put it on.

    Thanks!!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you so much!!! So it came out like pulled pork because of the cut you used, no worries as it’s still delicious. Oh yeah because your meat was only 2 hours that’s why the kraut practically dissolved. On low for that small of a cut I would have gone with maybe 5 hours. Definitely give it another shot either with a larger cut of the meat (try to go with the type in the recipe) or if you have smaller, go with less cooking time.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Maria says:

        Hi

        Sorry I wasn’t clearer, I didn’t have quite 2lbs of sauerkraut. My pork was 4.5lbs and the 8 hours on low in the crock pot was perfect for the meat. Would having more sauerkraut make it not dissolve?

        Thanks! Maria

        • TKWAdmin says:

          Ah okay, sorry I misunderstood. Yeah go with more kraut. However cook the kraut no more than 8 hours.

          Best Kitchen Wishes!

    • Hungalian says:

      Put cabbage lettuce leaves , some apple slices on bottom of pot. Add pork. Cover with apple slices, raisins, and brown sugar and/or maple syrup or sorghum. Your kraft will not dissolve as much.

  • Beth says:

    My pork shoulder weighs a little over 3 lbs. Think I should reduce the cooking time a bit? Can’t wait to serve this tonight!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hey Beth,

      If you’re roasting it, yes you can reduce the cooking time by about 20 minutes. And sorry it took me a few days to respond 🙁 It was Mr. Fantabulous’ birthday.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Beth says:

    About to sear my roast. This one weighs a little over 3 lbs. Think I should reduce the cooking time a bit? I have an unreliable meat thermometer, so will have to guess on whether it’s done or not. Can’t wait to try this!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hey Beth,

      Sorry I’m just getting to this now. So here’s an easy trick to test the doneness of the meat without a thermometer. Prick the cut of pork with a fork or the tip of a knife and check to see if the juices that escape run clear. If the juices are clear or have just a very faint pink tint, the meat is done.

      How did it turn out?

      Another method for testing doneness is to prick the cut of pork with a fork or the tip of a knife and check to see if the juices that escape run clear. If the juices are clear or have just a very faint pink tint, the meat is done.

  • David says:

    My great aunt made a basic version of this, still very good. Her recipe calls for 250 – 275 for 6 – 8 hours, so that is what I usually do and the pork turns out very tender as well. Agree, searing the pork is key ! The addition of the paprika, brown sugar, onion and caraway are sure to kick this dish up a notch for sure. Thanks! I am making today. PS – For those who think they do not like kraut, it caramelizes and mellow as it cooks when roasting, and takes on the flavor of the pork and is very good.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi David!

      Thank you so much! And I totally agree with you on who kraut mellows out in flavoring when it’s slow roasted.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Linda says:

    Oh, I’m in Australia 🇦🇺 but moved here from the states. My mom made this and can’t wait til it’s done. Unless you’re a night owl, guess I won’t hear from u til tomorrow lol. Cheers

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Oh where in Australia? That’s on my bucket list for sure! No, definitely not a night owl. That’s Mr. Fantabulous – he’s up til at least 2am every night.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Linda says:

    Hi, looks great in the oven now. I’m using a 2.5 lb pork butt. Do you think I should cook it longer?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hey Linda,

      So I wouldn’t recommend using a pork butt. That’s a higher fat content which means this meat, when cooked long can fall apart instead of being ‘sliced’ like a pork roast. Pork roast you cook low and slow – like 300F for about at 40 minutes per pound. I use pork butt for pulled pork; I’ve never tried it for this recipe. I’m thinking it would be awesome as a pulled pork ‘n sauerkraut sandwich!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Toni says:

    Wow, this recipe takes me back to my childhood. My Gramma used to make pork and sour kraut at least twice a month. She bought the stuff in the can and would put country style pork ribs on top, then sprinkle with caraway seed. I’m gonna have to make this soon. But not today. Today is all about Cajun Lasagna!!!!!

  • lisa pollard says:

    The best pork and kraut recipe! Turns out fork-tender every time with delicious flavor.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much Lisa! I really appreciate that 🙂 So happy you loved it too!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Big John says:

    Dad was overseas during WW2. Mom had to be pretty resourceful about feeding 5 kids. She made sauerkraut with weiners. Didn’t like sauerkraut back then but enjoyed the weiners. Now I love the kraut and think of those years every time I have it. Thanks fore these recipes.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      That’s awesome Big John! Mom would put weiners or kielbasa in this dish as well. I too hated sauerkraut when I was little but love it now!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

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