Sauerbraten means "sour roast" from sauer for "sour" or "pickled" and Braten for "roast meat" its a German pot roast that can be prepared with a variety of meats—most often beef, but also from venison, lamb, mutton, pork, and horse It is regarded as one of the national dishes of Germany. It is one of the best known German meals. Because of German immigration to the New World (the United States, Argentina, etc.) it is frequently found on the menus of German-style restaurants outside Germany. Several regions' variations on the dish are well known, including those from Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. Sauerbraten is traditionally served with traditional German side dishes, such as Rotkohl (red cabbage), Knödel or Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings), Spätzle (an egg and flour noodle), and boiled potatoes. While many German-style restaurants in America pair potato pancakes (either Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen) with sauerbraten, this is common only in a small part of Germany.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, additional for seasoning meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) boneless beef shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 18 dark old-fashioned gingersnap biscuits (about 5 ounces), crushed
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional


  1. In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper, and mustard seeds.
  2. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Pat the meat dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides.
  5. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade.
  7. Place into the refrigerator for 3 -5 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.
  8. After marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  9. Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours.
  10. Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids.
  11. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat on the hob.
  12. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.
  13. Serve with späetzle and a good German beer. Guten appetit!