Sauerbraten for #SundaySupper

by Renee on May 19, 2013

Sauerbraten | Magnolia Days

A slow-simmered beef roast can be moist and tender. Marinate it beforehand and you add incredible flavor. Simmer it with the marinade and then turn that into a sauce makes it out of this world yummy. That is Sauerbraten. It is simply a German marinated beef roast with gravy. Not just any gravy – oh heavens no. It is the best and has a tang like no other.

Sauerbraten is one of my husband’s all-time favorites. It is my brother’s too. Since their birthdays are near each other, we celebrate them together. There is no guessing on what they want for their birthday dinner. You won’t hear any complaints from the rest of the family either. It is a meal we look forward to for months ahead. I’ve made it for Christmas too. Sauerbraten has been something made for special occasions as far as I can ever remember.

It was a real treat to have it this time of year. I made it for the Cooking Low and Slow Sunday Supper event hosted by Susan at The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. My husband was thrilled. He said it would be fine to have it two or three times a month. Yes, he loves it that much. I’ve wanted to share the recipe for a long time. This event was the perfect opportunity since it cooks low and slow for hours. Plus there is the two or three day marinating time. That’s counts too. Refrigerator temperature is rather low.

A tip for marinating the Sauerbraten. I use a 2-gallon zip top bag inside of a bowl. That way I can squeeze out all the air and the marinade covers more of the beef. It’s easy to flip it over in the bowl too. (You have to flip it twice a day). Then when it is time to strain the marinade I can pour it out of the bag into the strainer over the same bowl. That’s one less bowl to wash.

The recipe makes a lot of gravy. That is a very good thing. We smother it over the beef and either spaetzle or potato dumplings. I’ll either dip bread into it or use the bread to sop up every last drop from my plate. I even save and freeze the extra. Did I mention how much I love the gravy? The beef is awesome too. The marinade both flavors and tenderizes it. You may find yourself munching on the bits that fall off while slicing. Or turning around and finding people hanging by to grab those bits. It’s hard not to do after smelling it cook for so long.

How often do you cook something low and slow? Do you use a slow cooker or dutch oven? Perhaps a smoker? There are more recipes from the Sunday Supper bloggers below.

Sauerbraten (German Marinated Beef Roast)

5 hours

Makes 8 servings

Sauerbraten (German Marinated Beef Roast)

    For the marinade and beef:
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • For the marinade:
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large onion cut into pieces
  • 1 large carrot cut into pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 4 pound beef roast (sirloin tip, bottom round, or rump)
  • For cooking the beef:
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Additional salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Part of the marinade
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons beef flavor base or bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
For the marinade:

In a medium saucepan, add all the marinade ingredients except the beef and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Place the beef in a deep, non-reactive bowl (glass, plastic, or ceramic). Pour marinade over beef. The marinade should be at least halfway up the sides of the roast. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning the meat in the marinade at least twice each day.

Take the beef out of the marinade and dry it. Strain the marinade and reserve the liquid. Discard the vegetables and spices.

To cook the beef:

In a 7- to 8-quart pot or dutch oven over medium-hight heat, add the oil and butter and get to almost smoking. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper.

Add the beef to the pot and sear to brown on all sides, about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until onion has softened.

Add 1 cup of water to the strained marinade. Pour in enough of the marinade so it is about 1- to 1 1/2-inch deep around the beef.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook on low until done, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the beef from the pot and let set for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice the beef and place on a serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

For the sauce:

Add the beef base/bouillon to the pot and stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

To thicken the sauce, slowly add in a portion of the dissolved cornstarch, whisking while pouring. Allow it to cook for 1 to 2 minutes and add more if too thin.

Add the sour cream to the sauce and whisk to combine. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer sauce to a gravy boat or bowl.

Serve warm.


Total time does not include time for marinating (2 to 3 days).

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This is an adaption of my mom’s recipe. I modified it slightly using two types of vinegar and different quantities of spices. The ratio of vinegar to water is different also.

Take a look at these low and slow recipes. The Sunday Supper bloggers have really put together a great lineup for the event:

Low & Slow Breads & Starters:

Low & Slow Mains:

Low & Slow Sides:

Low & Slow Desserts:

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Low & Slow Food from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 19, 2013 at 6:24 am

The ingredients of the marinade remind me of the way hares were pickled when I was a kid. This is a great recipe Renee! And of course the bits that fall while cutting are the best, they always are!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

I would love to have the recipe for the hares (rabbit). It’s another thing that is so good in Germany but I can’t find it here in America.


Pam @ Blueberries And Blessings May 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

oh my – I am about to put a roast in my slow cooker – I’m thinking I need to make it like this one – my mouth is watering!


Susan May 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

This sounds incredible Renee. Can I come over next time you make it? I must say though, it’s definitely all about the marinade, totally packed with lots of flavor.


Jen @JuanitasCocina May 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

My wife, who lived in Germany, has requested this immediately! LOL! Pinned!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

Oh, you must make it for your wife. I’m sure it will bring back lots of delicious memories for her and the time she lived in Germany.


Heather @girlichef May 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

This girl of German descent is ashamed to admit that she hasn’t had sauerbraten before!! But she’s always wanted to – and this sounds so amazing she wants to reach into the screen and snatch that whole spread.

And to top it off, she has no clue why she’s speaking in the third-person this morning… ;P

YUM, Renee!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:55 am

Too funny Heather (speaking in the third person). Perhaps it was too early. I hope you do try sauerbraten soon.


Martin D. Redmond May 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

It’s been so long since I’ve had Sauerbraten, I kind of forgot about it until I saw you were making it this week! Great recipe, and I’m with you on the lot of gravy being a good thing. Pinning!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers May 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

Ohhh, nice spin to roast beef! I just love it!


Cindys Recipes and Writings May 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

Gravy good! :) lol Sounds awesome, Renee!


Amanda @ MarocMama May 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

Oh love sauerbraten! Thank you for sharing your recipe – it looks a lot easier than another that I have tried.


Liz May 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

This is one of my dad’s favorites. I’ve never made sauerbraten, but glad to have a wonderful recipe to make for him!


Stacy May 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I don’t know what we did before Ziploc bags! They are fabulous for marinating, especially when you have to turn the meat so often. I can completely understand why your family loves this so much. It sounds wonderful!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:54 am

Yes, thank goodness for Ziploc bags! I use them every time I marinate anything. They are great for simple piping bags too.


Nicole @ Daily Dish Recipes May 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Mmmm… this sounds so wonderful, your photos are gorgeous. I love a moist, tender meat – and especially when marinated. Yum!


Chris Baccus May 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Sauerbraten is so good, but I need some pickled cabbage with it and maybe some potatoes. The meat looks so tender. Must make this soon.


Beate May 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I love, love, love Sauerbraten and have actually never made it since moving to the States {some almost twenty years ago}. In Germany I used to buy it already marinated from the butcher so I never needed to learn…I am so glad you posted this recipe and the marinate. Now, there is no longer an excuse for me to not make Sauerbraten. Perfect with Spaetzle, and/or Knoedel…could I please get plate right now :) Thank you so much, Renee.


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:53 am

I am so surprised you haven’t made Sauerbraten. You really should remedy that soon!


Camille May 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

This sounds wonderful! I usually go for a schnitzel when we eat German food, but this looks easy enough to try at home! Good think I have a freezer full of roasts to cook!


Diana @GourmetDrizzles May 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

What an interesting and wonderful recipe! I’ve never tried Sauerbraten, and this has me intrigued! Such great ingredients, and I’ll have to check out juniper berries- never have cooked with them. Thanks for the great recipe, and what a beautiful photo, too!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:52 am

Juniper berries are great to flavor, just don’t eat them. Be sure to take them out whenever you use them before consuming the dish.


Erin @ Table for 7 May 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm

My very-German husband would adore this..we will be trying this soon! Looks yummy!!


Tara May 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I don’t think I have ever had saubraten and you served it with my favorite, spaetzle. Yum!!


Katy May 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

That marinade sounds wonderful! Your husband is one lucky man!


The Wimpy Vegetarian May 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never had nor made sauerbraten, but I clearly have been missing something huge in this omission! I’ve simmered marinades I’ve done for tuna for my husband into a sauce, but never for beef. And what a great marinade you’ve put together for this dish. I can see why your husband loves it so much. I’m pinning this to make for my husband! He is so over having chickpeas and kale with everything :-) LOL


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:50 am

I think my husband would be over getting chickpeas and kale a lot too. My husband is a real meat-eater and wouldn’t be happy long on a vegetarian diet.


Anita at Hungry Couple May 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

My German father absolutely loved sauerbraten and Brian’s quite a fan as well. Lovely dish, Renee.


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:49 am

Thanks Anita!


sunithi May 20, 2013 at 1:42 am

I like your marinade tips and this looks lovely !! Never eaten it so am itching to try this !!


Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere May 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

I’ve only had sauerbraten once (in South Germany), and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t my favorite, so I’ve been scared to try it again. Your marinade sounds really good though, and I’m thinking I’ll have to give sauerbraten another go. Thanks!


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:49 am

Sauerbraten can be a little different depending on the cook and the recipe. I’ve had several versions in Germany. This one though is my all-time favorite.


Family Foodie May 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I’ve never tried Sauerbraten, but this sounds incredible. I’m sure my boys would love this recipe. And that marinade… yum!


Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons May 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Sounds like your husband will be in heaven eating this this week, and your brother will be jealous? :)


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:48 am

I am sure my brother will be jealous. I’ll make it again soon for his birthday.


Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite May 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

It really is all about the marinade. This marinade sounds wonderful.


Renee May 22, 2013 at 6:46 am

I totally agree. The marinade is what makes this dish.


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