Ribs that stick to your supper

I simply had a hankering for some pork ribs and sour kraut.

This is stimulated by, among other factors, the absurdly low sale price on the spare ribs.

So… some juniper berries, kraut, tarragon and rosemary, an onion, ribs.


Brown your ribs on both sides.


Remove the ribs to a plate and brown your onions.

Add well… well-drained kraut, the berries, the herbs.

You have to drain the kraut really well, or this gets soupy.  You can replace the moisture with something more interesting.

I add either dry white wine or hard cider.  Tonight, cider.


Don’t forget to put the ribs back in.


I put the lid onto the French oven and put it into the oven at 325 F for about a half hour and then lowered the heat to 285 F for another hour and a half.

I started this at about 4:30 pm and ate at about 7 pm.

My garnish was some mustard I whipped up from dry, powered mustard from Penzy’s.  Zippy stuff.


They fell apart.  The bones just slide away.

This is so flexible.  You can use just about any amount of kraut and onion.  Go a bit easy with the juniper till you get to know it.  Juniper and pork team up very well.  I have often used gin to deglaze a frying pan in which I have done pork chops.   Just as pork is good with fruit, such as apples, so too it is good with browned onions.  Onions have a lot of sugar in them, which caramelizes as you brown them. If you are entertaining, this is a good main course.  Just keep the temperature low.  They could even be better the next day.

The cooking time can be long and patient.

So, some comfort food, and it isn’t even a cold winter night!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Velle Mere says:

    That looks wonderful!

  2. Northern Ox says:

    OK, I’ll give you props for “The cooking time can be long and patient.”
    But the rest — that’s just … wrong. [Oh yah? Next time it’ll be OX tails.]

    Are there no Weber grills up there? No sauce ingredients? [Perhaps you haven’t been reading this blog very long.]

  3. Ah Father, you’re making me feel lazy! We’re having ribs for dinner tomorrow but I’m just going to marinate them a wee bit, then toss them in the slow cooker with some barbecue sauce. [Hey… this wasn’t much more involved.]

  4. Charles E Flynn says:

    I suspect this effort did not receive the “eat over the sink” treatment. [One of the reasons I forced myself to make it.]

    Previously-unseen product:
    Woodchuck Hard Cider

    Cider with pleasant memories of a wedding in rural Virginia:

  5. guans says:

    … and my mother always used to serve with bread dumplings. Cut the bread into cubes, then add a combination of water and flour, s and p, then shape into balls (hands will be very gooey and sticky). Drop into boiling water. (and serve with pork thin gravy)
    the family story: my aunt knew my uncle loved them, so she wanted to surprise him. When he came home, she raised the lid and said something is wrong- they are not floating. They were all at the bottom… forgot to add the bread… :o !

  6. One of these days I would like to take a shot at making the softball sized steamed dumpling which load up German plates… and hips… and bellies….

    Perhaps when I next make Sauerbraten, a great favorite, which I haven’t made since I don’t know when.

  7. Incaelo says:

    That looks wonderful! Something I would love to try making myself.

  8. Can I come live with you? In some capacity? I can edit, be an altar server, housekeeper, gardener, IT tech, translator…whatever you need. You had me at “pork ribs and [sauer]kraut”. We’ll speak Latin and make snarky remarks about the NCR late into the night…

  9. Mariana says:

    I see, Father, that you didn’t use a Freedom oven : ) !

  10. fieldsparrow says:

    Pork and sauerkraut is one of my favorite meals. I usually make it with pork shoulder and leave it to cook slowly most of the day. And simple steamed flour dumplings were probably the first thing my mom taught me to cook; they were her dad’s favorite. One of mine, too, now. Although with it being around 95F today I’m not sure that’s what I’d want to eat. Oof. I’d wish for fall to come but first I have to eat all the summer tomatoes….

  11. twherge says:

    Father, where do you get the juniper berries? I have been making a certain recipe for choucroute garnie for several years, but I’ve not yet been able to find the juniper (not that that prevented everyone, even the kraut-haters, from loving the dish!)

  12. benedetta says:

    Sour kraut? Sorry, no way. Not for me. But others should feel free to enjoy so much as possible…I like the idea of the juniper berries though.

    I am glad you are finding your appetite back somewhat Fr. Z and that you were able to find nice ribs on sale! [The ribs were indeed on sale. I do get hungry, but I have almost zero interest in cooking right now. I am pretty much forcing myself to do more than eat on the fly.]

  13. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I’ve made big, heaping dumplings to go with my sauerbraten from time to time. One of those goes a long way, particularly when you’re already eating spaetzle! I usually prefer to pair sauerbraten with cabbage or some thin-sliced carrots gently cooked in dark beer, mustard and brown sugar.

  14. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Juniper berries are available from Penzey’s Spices online.

  15. Augustin57 says:


    Father Z, did you know that the Filipino’s consider eating alone a sin? It’s called the sin of Kai Po. They will even stop a stranger on the street to eat with them rather than eat alone.

    Next time, if I’m in the area, and you make such a nice meal, let me know and I’ll help you avoid the sin of Kai Po. (I’m just here to help! Heh, heh, heh.) : )

  16. OUChevelleSS says:

    That looks great. I seriously did not know that there were rib recipes that were not BBQed. And I thought myself a foodie!

  17. I made a similar dish last week using country style pork ribs, kraut and vidalia onions. It was delish. The juniper berries I used were much lighter in color (dried). Were yours dried?

  18. jarhead462 says:

    Looks gooooooood! I use my salad spinner to drain the ‘kraut. I have been kicking around the idea of making sauerbraten soon as well. It has been awhile, but it is well worth the effort.
    Glad to see you cooking again, even if you are forcing it. I go through those phases as well, where I don’t even want to look at pots and pans, but in my case, I have to feed my wife and little boy. So much more difficult for you. I will send some extra prayers on your behalf, but in the meantime maybe you can invite some Priest friends over for some grillin’ and chillin’.

    Semper Fi!

  19. Joe in Canada says:

    Thank you Father for draining but not rinsing the sauerkraut. I was in community once with a Slovenian who would do that….

  20. Joseph says:

    Fr. you forgot the caraway seeds in either the sauerkraut and or on the ribs [Perhaps a little rash judgment there? There was some caraway in the kraut. o{];¬) ]

  21. Centristian says:

    I’m so wanting ribs right now thanks to my foolish decision to read this and the nearest thing I have at my desk is a bag of Fritos. I hate my life. [Wasn’t there created, after the Fall of man, BBQ flavored potato chips?]

  22. fieldsparrow says:

    Oh, and I don’t drain my sauerkraut, because I kind of like the end result to be sort of like soup. Possibly weird, but it’s my dinner, and my husband doesn’t eat the sauerkraut part anyway!

    @Lynne, I think what is sold as “country style ribs,” at least here, is really cut-up pork shoulder. Yum. Now that I’m sitting in the AC at work, I’m rethinking whether this sounds good for dinner.

  23. lucy says:

    You’re reminding me of growing up in south central Pennsylvania. Every New Year’s Day finds most families there enjoying pork and sauerkraut and mashers. I often only ate mashers on that day when a young child. Pork and sauerkraut there is required eating on NYD for good luck throughout the new year.

  24. bigfellah says:

    The only proper way to cook spare ribs [Okay… that’s a “fail” right there! o{]:¬) ] is in the early 19th Century manner. Prepare brine, saltier the better use any recipe. Marinate ribs (2 days are best). Put ribs in a pot with half the brine and cover with water. Bring to the boil, lower heat to simmer, partially cover and cook for 2 hrs. Add boiling potatoes, cook 25 min and add a head of cabbage, quartered and cook for 9 min. more. Go raibh maith agat.

  25. Rich says:

    Looks like the appetite is back…

  26. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Is a French oven the same as a Dutch oven?

  27. dad29 says:

    You can also load a can of kraut with ketsup (!!) and—believe it or not—it is so delightful that even chilluns will eat it.

  28. Jbuntin says:

    I make a dish with beef short ribs and kraut. I dust the ribs with seasoned flour and then chop an onion, pour the kraut on top, cook it slow in a dutch oven…. Umm good.. The beef ribs tend to be real fatty so you have to spoon the fat off before serving. It’s too hot in Texas right now though, for something that rich…

  29. JMody says:

    first, lose the tarragon and try either marjoram or sage. Sage and pork and anything are good, marjoram and juniper and anything are good.

    Second, the steamed Knoedel or Kloesse (size of an apple) are okay — but the really good ones are “Semmelknoedel”, usually sized more like an apricot, and represent a cross between dumplings and stuffing. Much better, and smaller size means easier to dose your starch (and I’m a lot farther south than you, so maybe that’s affecting my judgement — it’s tough for a German wife in the desert!)

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