Earlier this year, my dad asked me if I wanted him to make sauerkraut when I came home. While he said this in a way that was meant to be joking, he didn’t realize that I had some sauerkraut in the refrigerator, waiting to make this recipe from the Smoke and Pickles cookbook. I joked that on this weekend, where I also had coleslaw in the house, I was having cabbage two ways.
To me, this recipe is highly reminiscent of the food that would be served at a German Oktoberfest celebration. Between the beer in the ribs, the pork and sauerkraut being served, this recipe full of German-inspired food flavors.
I brought some of the ribs home to share with my family, who all indicated that they were better than they expected and not as full of whatever flavors they connected with sauerkraut. While this wouldn’t be a recipe I could eat every week, it was really good and really easy to put together, so it definitely remains on the make it again list.
Pork Ribs with Sauerkraut and Horseradish
One 5-lb rack pork spareribs
4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp five-spice powder
One 2-lb bag sauerkraut (about 4 c)
One 12 oz bottle pilsner beer
2 c chicken stock
1/2 c water
1/2 c apple cider
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c prepared horseradish
1 c sour cream
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 335 degrees.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the rack of ribs into individual ribs.
To make the rub: Mix together the salt, pepper, and five-spice powder in a small bowl. Use your hands to massage the rub all over the ribs. Now is not the time to be coy–be forceful about it.
Transfer the ribs to a casserole or roasting pan. Top with the sauerkraut, juice and all. Add the beer, stock, water, cider, and Dijon mustard. The liquid should just barely cover the ribs. If it doesn’t, add water until it does.
Cover the roasting pan loosely with aluminum foil and poke holes in the foil with a fork. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the aluminum foil. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Return the roasting pan to the oven, uncovered, and bake for about another 30 minutes: When ready, the ribs should be meltingly tender. The sauerkraut will be lightly browned. The braising liquid should be reduced to a delicious jus. If you want a thicker sauce, simply ladle a few cups into a small saucepan and reduce until thickened.
Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. Leave out at room temperature until ready to use.